Since the calibrated restriction (Phase 3A), many climbing gyms are opening up and we can go with groups of 2 indoor , group 5 outdoor. Going back to the climbing gym after months of being away may make you feel anxious or not sure how to get back into the rhythm of climbing. I remember feeling out of sync when I started climbing again.
When returning to climbing after a long absence, the greatest thing you can do is make sure you warm up properly to avoid muscle and tendon injury. Start with gentler climbs for a few sessions and gradually work your way back up to the grade you were aiming for before the hiatus. Shortening your climbing sessions and using a hand salve after each one will also help you build muscle.
Here are some quick and easy climbing ideas to help you get back into condition.
1. Do warm ups before the climb
Some climbers claim that they don't warm up, but the truth is that warming up improves performance, which is crucial for the mental aspect of returning to climbing after a long hiatus. Warming up your muscles, for example, allows them to lift higher weights while also keeping blood circulating so that you don’t get pumped easily
Some of the super quick and easy warm-ups are:
2 minutes of jumping jacks
2 minutes of mountain climbers
4-6 minutes of dynamic stretching such as arm circles, high kicks, etc. (don’t do static stretching. Static stretching before your workout can lead to injury)
1 minute of jumping rope (yup, jump rope another minute after you finish your dynamic stretches)
2. Start with Easier Grades
Starting your first day back at climbing at the grade you were climbing when you left would most certainly leave you feeling weak and discouraged, so start with routes that are considerably below your previous grade level.
I propose starting with a couple of half to one-level climbs. Climb 6a if you were bouldering 7a before your break. Climb 6a if you are a 6c climber. This will not only bring back the rhythm and technique of climbing, it will also help with your mental climbing game with confidence. You may notice that climbs that used to be easy have become harder and that is ok. The nice thing about getting back into the swing of climbing is that the more you do it, the faster and easier it becomes.
3. Do Shorter Climbing Sessions
Before your climbing break, you may have been performing two-hour climbing sessions, but you'll need to work your way back up to that level. There are several reasons for this, one of which is the amount of force your hands can handle. Unlike when you used to climb practically every day, your hands most likely have softened and are no longer capable of handling long sessions.
To allow your hands to heal for the following climbing session, I recommend removing at least a half-hour off your climbing session or taking longer and more frequent rests during your climbing session.
Your finger, wrist, and elbow tendons, in addition to your soft hands, need to be worked back up. Coming back from a long absence from climbing and suffering a finger injury that prohibits you from climbing for another month is one of the worst things that can happen. This is especially true if you've been injured and are returning to climbing or bouldering. Return to climbing slowly and avoid using hangboards for a while. Don't dive in head first; you'll only end up hurting your head.
4. Eat More Protein After Climbing
When climbers take a break from climbing and stop exercising for a bit, their bodies don't consume as much protein or nutrients as when they were active. This makes it tough to get back into climbing because your body won't have as many nutrients in the system to keep you going and help you recover.
After climbing, my favourite thing to eat is a protein smoothie, because most protein drinks contain numerous nutrients that are quickly absorbed by the body and are essential for muscle recovery.
5. Epsom Salt Baths
Your muscles may feel more sore than usual, and recovery may appear longer or more difficult, as they have been out of practice while you were away from climbing. A good Epsom salt bath might help with the extended recovery and tight muscles. Epsom salt, in addition to easing painful muscles, aids in the replenishment of magnesium lost in the body .Magnesium helps with energy production so this is extremely helpful when you are trying to recover faster and feel better. Not to forget to eat some bananas which is rich in magnesium as well
6. Be kind to yourself
Don’t self beat yourself when things don't go your way or the progress seems to be slower as it is. Many experienced climbers who had recently recovered from an injury feel the same way too. Accept yourself as you are and recognize that whatever restrictions or anxieties you may have are temporary. It will be much simpler to return to climbing if you are kind to yourself.
No matter how long your break from climbing has been, it is important that you feel confident and are able to get back into the swing of the climbing rhythm quickly. Embrace the tips from doing warm-up, climbing easier grade, shorter climbing session and more rest, to eating more protein after your climb and soak in a warm Epsom salt bath for muscle recovery, as well as having positive self talk. All of these things will assist you in regaining the strength, technique, and mental confidence that you require to climb effectively and have fun.
Climb safe, Allez!
Paraphrased by: Evelyn