We talk a lot here at TrainingBeta about injury prevention.  While we think that everything we post on the topic is important, today’s article from Dr. Jared Vagy’s blog, The Climbing Doctor, deserves some extra attention.  It features an interview with Spanish climber, trainer, and doctor of finger strength Eva Lopez and is all about climbing injury prevention and how she manages the risk of injury with her athletes.

“First of all it’s worth noting that we can significantly reduce the incidence and severity of our injuries, especially in beginners, where a few basic rules are enough, but fully avoiding injury is just about impossible. Mainly because we can’t expect to stay error-free in the long run, and injury is often the result of serious mistakes in periodization or in the choice of loads, but also of the accumulation of smaller errors. And then there are those factors that we can’t  either predict or act upon.” – Eva Lopez

Eva Lopez Injury Prevention Concerns:

To begin the interview, Eva takes you through her major concerns regarding injury prevention.  The discussion is rather technical and detailed, but can be summarized in the following five general rules:

  1. Considering and managing sport level
  2. Understanding the relationship between competition/performance on rock and training
  3. Progressively increasing the load but only once base work is done
  4. A preexisting injury is the best predictor of future injuries
  5. Using compensatory/antagonist exercises to prevent imbalance

Eva explains all of these concerns in much greater detail in the full interview which is linked to below.

Two Main Tenants of Injury Prevention:

While the above are Eva Lopez’s general concerns, later in the interview she boils injury prevention down to two main tenants:

  1. Be coherent
  2. Manage the load correctly

By coherent, Eva means being conscious of both your personal conditions and external conditions.  In other words, not attempting to use exercises or follow training programs designed for an elite climber as a beginner or intermediate.  Or, to put it into another context, not trying to pack a 3 hour workout into 90 minutes or a 6 week cycle into 3 weeks.

In terms of managing the load, Eva means appropriately determining the amount and intensity of training that is appropriate for each athlete.  Essentially, not allowing training and exercises to be done too frequently, for too long, and at too high an intensity.

In the end, with both of these tenants, it seems like one of the most important features of injury prevention for Eva is being realistic about your current level and tailoring your training to match it appropriately.

More Injury Prevention Information:

Whether you are new to climbing or training or having been doing both for years, this interview is an informative read and should not be missed.  Both Dr. Vagy and Eva Lopez are two of the most knowledgable injury prevention sources in the world, and, while Eva does not specifically give you an injury prevention program to follow, her responses contain some extremely valuable information that any climber looking to train seriously and improve should always keep in mind.

Once you have read this article and are looking to take your injury prevention work more seriously check out our Injury Prevention Guide by Dr. Jared Vagy.  It is full of even more information that will help you translate Eva’s concerns and rules into an actual injury prevention program to keep you healthy and climbing strong.

Full Article: Eva Lopez Climbing Injury Prevention

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(photo courtesy of theclimbingdoctor.com and Javipec)

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