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Author Topic: Do you ever take time off? Should you?  (Read 801 times)

darwined

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Do you ever take time off? Should you?
« on: May 29, 2012, 09:12:29 PM »

I been working real hard the last twelve months.  I have been losing weight, climbing often, eating "right",  and making progress as a result.  Long story short, I'm hungry to climb harder.

Lately I can't sleep through the night.  The pain in my joints(elbows and shoulders) keeps me out of a deep sleep.  The worst part is, I am unknowingly curling my arms tight to my chest and sleeping on them.   Each time this wakes me, the pain is worse.  I've been trying to knock down the pain with Ibuprofen, but that's not working anymore.

I work with my hands as a contractor, so I don't get a ton of rest when I'm not climbing.  I feel like I might be over doing it a bit lately and thinking of taking a short break from climbing.

Have you got any experience with this sort of thing?  How long did you take off?  Did it help? 



« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 09:14:05 PM by darwined »
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apbt1976

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Re: Do you ever take time off? Should you?
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2012, 09:44:44 PM »

I been working real hard the last twelve months.  I have been losing weight, climbing often, eating "right",  and making progress as a result.  Long story short, I'm hungry to climb harder.

Lately I can't sleep through the night.  The pain in my joints(elbows and shoulders) keeps me out of a deep sleep.  The worst part is, I am unknowingly curling my arms tight to my chest and sleeping on them.   Each time this wakes me, the pain is worse.  I've been trying to knock down the pain with Ibuprofen, but that's not working anymore.

I work with my hands as a contractor, so I don't get a ton of rest when I'm not climbing.  I feel like I might be over doing it a bit lately and thinking of taking a short break from climbing.

Have you got any experience with this sort of thing?  How long did you take off?  Did it help?

I just started climbing rock a couple months ago. Up to this point i have been climbing outdoors 2-3 days a week and another 1-2 days in the gym. I have progressed pretty fast imop as i am finishing 11's on the regular. Just a couple weeks ago that was not the case. I can see the progression happen week to week and even more so in two weeks blocks. 

My point with all that is just before i read this post i was massaging my big toe as the knuckle joint is pretty sore after 4-5 hrs at the gym today. On my last gym outing i had to call it quits after like a  hour as i was working some juggy dynoy stuff a full grade above what i can finish. My bicep was on fire just 20 minutes into my session and it felt like i had been given a Charley horse in the arm repeatedly. This was not the first time my bicep has felt this way. What you describe in regard to sleeping on your arm and shoulders plagued me a few weeks ago also. I taught/forced myself to not sleep with my arms under my head. After years and years of trying i can now sleep on my back. It is amazing the things you can do when you want something bad enough. I have for years tried to learn to sleep on my back to no avail for injury reasons so go figure? My fingers are often sore from the first knuckle forward. Something is always a little sore, tender, blistered or swollen.

I have some prior experience as a pretty high level competitive athlete. If you are doing any given physical activity upwards of 10-15 hours a week and more you are not some much recreating anymore as you are training. At least that is what it translates to the body as! Imop a little common sense and patients goes a long way when things get sore or injury occurs.

Pain is the bodies warning signal that something is wrong. Mild pain may be par for the course as climbing is hard work and hurts. Nagging persistent pain is another thing imop and if you choose to ignore it you will end up with a  injury and taking more than just a couple days off.

If something is sore i i give it a day or two and hope it clears. In the case of my shoulders i trained myself to sleep differently over the course of a week and i no longer have the shoulder issue. I also avoid stupid dynoy moves that are hard on the shoulders. Non the less if i wanna climb a route i climb the route, if it tweaks something i normally save it for another day and move onto something with different movements.

I love and hate Aleve... I buy it in the big bottle but that's cuz i have foot problems and like to run!! All this is much more easily said than done. Good luck and listen to your body.

How old are you ? If you are at all young and this is going on be careful. As you age this stuff only becomes more of a problem and forces you to listen and wish you had taken better care of your body when you were young.
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sneoh

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Re: Do you ever take time off? Should you?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2012, 09:51:21 PM »

To the OP - to err on the side of caution, I would suggest seeking proper medical diagnosis and advice if 600 mg of Ibuprofen is not giving you the pain relief you seek. 

Yes, I do take time off (two to three weeks) if my elbow flares up from too much steeply overhung climbing.


To apbt - I understand your motivation to improve quickly but as you must already know that there is such a thing as over-training, at least in climbing.  I happen to think 5 days a week is too much, esp if you do LONG sessions at the gym two of those days.  And please really careful with finger joint pain.  Take really good care of your fingers and wrists if you want to be climbing well 20 years from now.  I really wrecked my fingers in the first four or five years of my climbing.  I have been really careful for 16 years since but the damage had already been done.  Don't let that happen to you.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 10:01:55 PM by sneoh »
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apbt1976

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Re: Do you ever take time off? Should you?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2012, 10:59:30 PM »

I will add when i was training 15-30 hrs a week rest was worked in just as specific workouts were. If i was training 30 hrs a week it was the off season and prep for race season. Race season training was 5-20 hrs a week and then racing 2-5 days a week. Even at 30 hrs rest was worked in, normally legs up after training and a full on rest day once a week with only a 2-3 mile round trip ride to the coffee shop allowed.

Training was my job, at the start i also worked construction and as i progressed construction had to go. I went from full time work and full time training to part time work and full time training. The work being physical in nature "construction" ultimately led to me not being able to recover quickly enough. I am not suggesting you quit your job as too climb better but rather consider what you do for work also taxes your body big time and figure it into your climbing aspirations.

I no longer do construction but i do care for my own home. If i need a roof i do the work, if it needs painting i paint it, if it needs a deck i build it. Now a solid 5 years since i last swung a hammer for a living it still amazes me just how hard all that work is on the body when i comes time to do a big project around the house. I never gave it much credit as it was just what i had always done and had to do. Consider this info from a a guy that is def in good shape. In conjunction to my climbing i either run, swim or cycle or hike on average 1-2 hours a day on non climbing days. Bring some structure to your climbing and rest when you are tired or better before you are tired. If you are groggy, snappy or something is sore lay off a few days..

I am by no means one to tell you what do and as Sneo said if something hurts that bad go see a doctor. If you are at all like me though i lived without medical insurence most of my life. If that is the case REST until none of it hurts and start slow. When you resume always take one full day a week off from all physical activity and then stagger intensity/strenght days with endurence days.
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ELM

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Re: Do you ever take time off? Should you?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2012, 08:23:01 AM »

    Darwined...you need to rest if you expect to keep doing the activites you love.
    The symptoms you are having are from over-use as you suspected. Treating the pain is not working for you which tells me you have already begun to do some damage to your tendons and ligaments. Hydrate and take a few (at least 2-3) weeks off from climbing.
    What you are going through takes time to heal, longer than regular muscle issues. If you ignore it you will be doing sever damage that will take you out of the game. While you are working you need to focus on using good technique and not just pushing through tasks...let the hammer weight do the work don't pound. And don't hold weight for prolonged periods. Yes see an MD for better drugs but get a referral for a good PT too.
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Ed Matt
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meclimber

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Re: Do you ever take time off? Should you?
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2012, 08:51:52 AM »

The gym will also eat you alive.  In its frictionless nightmare you over pull and over grip.
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Jon Howard

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Re: Do you ever take time off? Should you?
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2012, 10:28:58 AM »

I'm not an expert, but I think that most of the time, what we think are overuse injuries are actually imbalance injuries. in my personal experience I've found that while rest is usually a good idea, it rarely cures soreness, and nagging injuries continue to nag until I do something to address the underlying imbalance.

so while I'm not a sports doctor, I think the best exercises you can do are those that use the same range of motion that you use in climbing, but with force in the opposite direction--i.e. pushing instead of pulling. 3 sets of 20 pushups twice a week will help to balance the pulling you are doing. some people like dips, but you don't often pull from below. military press would help as well, but again you aren't often pulling from directly over your head in climbing. having the same range of motion is key.

wrist curls and hammer rotations (grabbing a hammer and rotating it around the axis of your arm) also help to balance out forearm muscles. I recently discovered the rice bucket, and while I can't speak to its results, it feels pretty therapeutic--here's more info from deadpoint mag: http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?referral=other&pnum=52&refresh=oC17K05k13sW&EID=1af4d75c-dd55-4208-91a9-210e49e4e062&skip=&p=52

hope it helps!

Reggie
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DLottmann

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Re: Do you ever take time off? Should you?
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2012, 02:38:40 PM »

You don't have to totally break from climbing but stop climbing hard every day. Go on a slab climbing tangent to give the joints a break...
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hobbsj

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Re: Do you ever take time off? Should you?
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2012, 10:51:43 PM »

Several things here to be considered.  I don't know you so I can't say what it the exact problem is.  But people always pinpoint one activity as the cause.  Look at everything you do and think about the big picture sometimes.  There's a chance that climbing may not even be the issue with the pain.  You mentioned your curling up at night.  You may be placing strain on the tissue depending on how you end up placing them.  Maybe this is a cause rather than a symptom.  Or, a slight issue caused you to get in to this habit and now its caused more problems similar to how a slight ankle twist can cause you to change the way you run and lead to a more significant injury in the knee.

Also, as a contractor, look at your habits there and see if something changed in the previous months.... Not days or weeks, but months.  Increased work load?  A busy period you may have never recovered from?  In all likelyhood, climbing is a significant factor, but it would be narrow minded and a kneejerk reaction to attribute the pain to climbing without considering other aspects.

Now for my favorite part-- training.  TAKE TIME OFF.  Every athlete I deal with doesn't rest enough.  They think they do, but they don't.  As a result they can't go hard enough on their hard days and don't adapt.  Then they think they need to train harder.  Its a bad cycle unless you have the discipline to take time off.  Don't climb every day.  As a general rule, take at least one day off per week.  And since your work is physical, make it a day off from work.  Then, have recovery days.  Again, physical work makes it a bit more challenging like the cyclists I train who commute by bike to work.  But you have to have discipline to make it work.  If you do have an injury, just scaling back will likely make things suck for a very long time rather than actually recovering.  It sucks, but taking the time off may be the only real option to get better.  With bug-con4, its not a bad time either.  It may only take a couple weeks to have you back on the rock.  And, detraining has several aspects.  Some of them are fairly quick, such as 24 to 28 from your last exercise bout, to weeks.  Its impossible to say exactly where you'll end up at this point.  But on a good note, it doesn't take much activity to maintain some level of training.  And that physical job that I said made things difficult helps here-- it could provide enough stimulus to help keep you form starting from 0. Somebody mentioned antagonistic muscle groups earlier.  Thats a good consideration.  But remember a couple of things--we have no clue what your fitness/training level is.  You may sufficiently train those muscles in your current activity. Or, you may do things that make it worse.  If you do decide to start training the antagonists, there are several things to consider.  One is that it take several weeks before any measurable strength change is made through actual muscle adaptations--its neurological to begin with.  Secondly, going and adding on additional training if you are in an overuse situation or overtrained will only make things worse.  If you keep looking in to this stuff, realize that over training syndrome is very different from an over use injury and they have completely different causes and symptoms--changes in appetite and women stopping menstration doesn't usually happen with tennis elbow but do occur with too many miles.  Does the pain cause you to not sleep or have you just had a lot of trouble sleeping in addition to the pain?-- Two very different things.

Man, as far as the pain meds--quite a few issues.  One, you are possibly masking symptoms making it worse by hiding the signal yelling "hey wanker stop this, I'm hurt!"   Then you go and workout and make it worse and don't realize it.  So be very aware of yourself and even start documenting pain levels on a scale of 1 to 10 when you get up and say after lunch after working for a bit. Two, anti-inflamatorys can INHIBIT healing depending on the injury type.  If it is just random inflammation, yeah they can help, but if the mechanism of injury is different, you can slow the healing process.  Your body runs on signals and messangers.  Many of things that seem bad may help in the long run.  With inflamation, many of the cellular responses cause pain and swelling.  But, they serve as a signal to heal a wound-- exactly how a typical cut heals.  Its been shown that antinflamatories can inhibit proper adapation because they stop some of those signals that do cause you pain but also signal for reinforcements at the injury.  Again, this depends on the injury etc.  But its well documented with muscle soreness and training adaptations which utilize similar means to say "man, I'm broke.  Get some help!" 

Scheduled rest is huge.  Its also unique to the individual.  Some old school training had athletes take 2 weeks completlely off at the end of the season.  This is a BS approach.  Its unique to every athlete.  If you did everything correct, you may need a week of other activities just to recharge mentally.  If you're overtrained or injured, more time may be required.  I have a guy who needs 3 weeks off after his goal races b/c of both training and family stress/life.  The point is, scheduled rest is good.  And its better to error on the side of extra rest.  But avoid any advice that says "take exactly x days off."

Its hard to get things straightened out with such little information.  As a bit of a shameless plug, PM me as I do provide training services and consulting for athletes.  I'm not a doc so I can't say "your injury is this."  But I do specialize in training plans for various life styles and goals for motivated athletes or evaluating and providing feedback on what you do with an objective eye.  With most people, honestly, just having somebody say "this is too much and you can do more of this" from the outside provides most of the change.  Like a food log, it makes you completely accountable rather than "well I felt hungry and figured one more chocolate wouldn't hurt." Same thing goes for intensity and rest. Oh, and I like bartering as a I realize climbers are a bit of a different demographic than my usual clients-- I've been known to be hanging around some cool people and treated to a few beers and then have my new found "buddy" walk away with a training plan that would equate to a mortgage payment. 
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