7 Common Sense Ways to Prevent Injuries

Photo: Masa Sakano

As the winter nears, we’re all feeling giddy to try hard projects, train like a beast, and climb as much as possible. But as psych rises and temps drop, sometimes we get a little too excited and the unspeakable happens—we get injured. Almost all climbers experience injury as some point in their lives, but many of these injuries can be prevented in simple ways.

7 common sense ways to prevent injuries this season

1. Hydrate

Not only can dehydration make you feel sick and weak, but it also makes you more prone to injury. Drinking water is imperative to tendon health and keeps your entire body functioning as it should. Proper hydration also helps your muscles recover after a day of climbing.

How to do it:

For most folks, a gallon of water per day is the magic amount. However, you may find that you need more, or perhaps a little less. If a gallon seems like a lot, practice taking small sips in between every burn on a route or boulder problem. If your pee is clear, you’re hydrated.


Photo: Matt Richter

2. Warm up properly

Warming up is even more important when it’s cold outside. Take longer than usual to warm up in the winter, and climb a lot of easy routes that vary in style and steepness. Once you’re feeling semi-warm, seek out a climb that is easy for you with movement and hold style that is similar to your project for the day.

How to do it:

Warming up for climbing is important, but knowing the proper way to do so is, too! Check out step-by-step beta on this demonstration by Jonathan Siegrist for a scientifically-backed warm up routine for climbing:

3. Rest

Rest is imperative to proper recovery, and this means resting in between climbs, taking full rest days, and sleeping well. Don’t skimp on the rest! Even if you’re really psyched and feeling good, force yourself to rest if you’ve been climbing a lot. Overuse injuries are extremely common but easily avoidable.

How to do it:

Make tea, read a book, get some work done, or just nap. If you’re heading out to the crag or boulders with friends, do not bring your shoes! You will probably end up climbing if you have your shoes. (Don’t even bring your good approach shoes!)

Yosemite rest day

Photo: Seth Langbauer

4. Release

Use a lacrosse ball, foam roller, finger massage rings, and other climber recovery toys to release your muscles. Releasing tension and tightness from your muscles is a great way to prevent injury and keep your body feeling good. For best results, do at least ten minutes of release work every day, and then on a rest day take an hour or so for a more thorough release session.

How to do it:

Try incorporating one of the 7 Best Recovery Toys for Climbers into your regimen and try out these Tips for How To Improve Your Climbing Mobility with Myofascial Release.

foam roller
rest day foam roller

5. Cross train

Conditioning your muscles to work in many different ways can prevent injuries (and help you climb stronger!). Seek out fun activities like yoga, Pilates, running, biking, and slack lining to help develop your non-climbing muscles.

How to do it: If you’re a member of a climbing gym, chances are the gym also offers fitness classes. Check them out! Or, go for an easy run, ride your bike around town, or just dance in your living room.


Photo: Chellis Ying

6. Eat well

We all know how imperative it is to eat healthy, wholesome foods, but proper nutrition is also essential to preventing injuries. Eating an unhealthy diet makes your body prone to injury, infection, and sickness.

How to do it:

Try out these nutrition tips from Aicacia Young of Climb Healthy to help you optimize your climbing performance.

nutrition for climbing

Photo: Maria Ly

7. Meditate

It’s not as hard as you think! Meditation helps connect you to your body. When we’re listening to how our bodies are feeling, we can notice very subtle tweaks, tightness, or soreness and give attention to those areas before they become a full-blown injury.

How to do it:

Want to incorporate a meditation practice into your life? Here are 10 reasons why you should try to meditate and some simple steps to get you started.


Photo: Mike Atkins

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