“In my experience working with professional climbers, the single most commonly injured body part was the shoulder.” – Dr. Ian Shaw
During training, experienced climbers typically do a great job performing accessory work for their fingers, hands, wrist, and elbows. However, there is a tendency to neglect their shoulders, which can lead to the injuries such as dislocations, subacromial impingement (or tendonitis), rotator cuff tears, bursitis and labral tears.
Why Climbers Should Develop Their Shoulders
The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body, enabling almost 360 degree rotation of the arms. This mobility allows climbers to:
- reach up over and behind the head
- rotate arms and wrists to gaston
- mantle the body up to higher positions.
However, the shoulder tends to fatigue earlier than smaller body parts, which gives rise to a higher susceptibility to injury and a greater necessity to strengthen. Injuries often occur when the muscles, ligaments and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint are not strong or resilient enough to allow the climber to move to their intended position or direction.
‘Prehab’ – preparation and correction of the body’s imbalances and physical limitations for sport-specific activities, with the goal of limiting chance of injury.
Diligent climbers should look to ‘prehab’ the shoulder, building a resilience to the rotator cuff that will provide the necessary support and stability to keep your arm in its socket while making high grabs, tough rotations and mantling, and to keep common shoulder injuries at bay.
15-minute Shoulder Prehab Workout
Got a few minutes? Try these exercises which target the muscles of the shoulder’s rotator cuff.