Returning to climbing after an injury or recovery from surgery can be daunting, let alone frustrating and often maddening. Your mind is telling you to hop on the routes you were on prior to the injury but your body is unable to emulate how it worked before.
Getting back into climbing is a slow process of which it is important to be kind to your body and listen to it very closely. Not only will you initially likely be physically weaker but when our body is patching itself up things just might not work the same.
Many of us at Womenclimb are all too familiar with injuries recoveries after surgeries. We found that letting the body heal and giving ourselves time out was the best and most effective element of getting back into climbing. Below are our top tips for returning to climbing and training
- Don’t rush. Be kind to yourself and know when to pull back. It may be frustrating but rest and recovery are a crucial step to getting back to climbing.
- Start low. When you get back to climbing again start at a low grade and work your way up. Only then can you tell where you are right now and you can plan for where you want to be. Trying to jump on a grade you think you should be at could put too much stress on your body and at worse re-injure you. Also, if you try to get back to where you were and fail it might have a serious impact on your confidence.
Little and often. It might be worth investing in a pass to your local wall. This way you can pop in for an hour several times a week rather than risking strain by spending hours “getting your money worth” and tiring your healing body out.
- Physiotherapy. This is so important whether you have been offered it or not. Understanding what you need to strengthen whether this be muscles, flexibility or mobility can help you get back on the wall. For example, after my first knee surgery I could not push off from a high foot hold. My physiotherapist helped me develop my hamstrings (which I had no idea needed working on) and low and behold the pain diminished and I was able to complete the movement again. Doing physio will also help prevent further injury.
- Supplemental training. Whether you are a boulder or climber you might find doing specific strength or endurance training alongside your climbing will help your fitness and motivation
increase. It is also a good break from climbing whilst still being climbing focussed. You could even start this before you are ready to jump back onto the wall.
- Have fun! This is for me by far the best thing about starting again after injury or a break. I love the challenge of getting back to fitness and was just really happy to be doing what I loved again. Don’t take the setbacks to heart and as I said before, be kind to yourself!