The rock climbing world has been abuzz with talk of collagen supplements lately. We’ll show you how you can make a homemade collagen supplement with the chicken and turkey leftovers that are usually thrown away.

But why is collagen important, anyway? Is supplementing collagen really that important for rock climbers? The Power Company Podcast recently discussed collagen with Dr. Tyler Nelson (Ep. 147). Neely Quinn from the Training Beta Podcast has mentioned on a few different episodes that she takes a collagen supplement, and credited collagen with helping her “turn a corner” on her shoulder injury recovery (see Ep. 116). More than anyone else, rock climbing coach and author Eric Horst has really embraced the benefits of collagen supplements by creating his own brand, PhysiVantage, targeted at rock climbers.

As with most supplements, collagen has its champions and its haters. At its worst, most haters seem to think collagen supplements are a waste of money and that you can get enough collagen by eating the right foods.

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Well, it’s not always easy to eat the “right foods” all the time (or at the right time). Just like taking a multivitamin or supplemental protein powder, taking an extra dose of collagen to support my body’s optimal function and tendon health seems like an intriguing concept.

The easiest way to add collagen is to take a collagen supplement. Supplements aren’t well-controlled substances, and quality can vary widely. Here are some top-rated supplements you can use to boost your collagen consumption. The most popular (and in our opinion, palatable) collagen supplement form is powder, but you can also take collagen in a pill form or a chewable version.

Top Collagen Supplements

Collagen Peptides Powder by Sports Nutrition

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Collagen gummies supplement by Havasu Nutrition

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Collagen pill supplement by Welluxa

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Interested in adding more collagen without adding another processed food? You can make a bone broth collagen supplement with the turkey or chicken bones most people just throw away after hosting a big dinner. It’s an easier recipe than you may suspect. Follow these simple steps!

How to Make Your Own Homemade Collagen Supplement

  1. After a chicken or turkey dinner, remove the meat from the bones that you want to eat later.
  2. Place all the bones, ligaments and non-meat pieces left over from your meal in a large pot.
  3. Add enough water to cover all the pieces.
  4. Add a teaspoon or two of salt (optionally, you can add onions, vegetables, or a bay leaf but, it’s not required for great flavor).
  5. Bring to boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer for 3-5 hours. Anywhere in that range is fine.  Longer boiling time will draw out more of the collagen.
  6. Pour the contents of the pot through a strainer or sieve to remove the pieces from the broth.
All chicken in the pot for homemade collagen
covered with water for homemade collagen preparation

That’s it! You now have your very own homemade collagen supplement.

Bowl of homemade collagen supplement broth


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After the broth cools, it will look like gelatin. This can be a little surprising, but don’t worry — the collagen broth will return to a smooth liquid texture when you reheat it. This semisolid form is convenient after cooking and cooling, because you can scrape off the fat from the top and throw it away to make a low-fat broth.

Simply reheat the collagen broth on the stove or in the microwave for a delicious drink, or add to other recipes or soup.

Enjoy building those strong rock climbing tendons!