Climbing and Self-Care: How to Recover and Optimize Rest
When it comes to rest and recovery, the climbing world is full of contrasting opinions. Most climbers don’t actually like to rest on rest days. But doing a few routes to keep warm almost always leads to projecting or climbing just as hard as you were the day before. It’s the beautiful thing about rock climbing – sometimes you never want to stop. However, if you’re serious about being at your strongest and avoiding injury, rest is necessary.
Recovery is a crucial part of taking care of your body. You can use various recovery strategies to climb at your best and reduce the risk of injury. With proper recovery, you’ll improve faster than you might have thought possible – working less and recuperating more.
Plan Active Recovery Workouts to Keep Moving
“Rest” is not synonymous with being inactive. With active recovery, you can increase blood flow to your muscles and maintain your mobility. Active recovery workouts tend to be either low in intensity or target different muscle groups from the workout before. You can decide to focus on breaking down the lactic acid and soreness from the day before. Alternatively, you could focus on the lower body with some strength training. You’ll still be getting movement throughout your entire body, but you won’t be exhausting the primary climbing muscles. Active stretching is also a great way to move your body and increase your range of motion.
Enhance Your Intra-Session Self-Care
Most of the time we spend climbing is not on the wall, but rather on the sidelines resting and considering the routes. When it comes to maintaining strength throughout an extended climbing session, you have a few options. You’ll see people stretching out their forearms, using a rubber ball to massage different muscles, or just sitting in between attempts.
A study from the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine found that easy climbing seems to be a more effective active recovery method than walking during intra-session recovery breaks. If you plan to climb for more than an hour, then you need to use your recovery time wisely. Climbing easy routes in-between harder projects can increase the overall distance you can climb in one day.
Sleep Well to Enhance Your Recovery
Training as hard as you can is absolutely beneficial, but only if it’s met by adequate amounts of recovery time. Sleep is a pillar of self-care and athleticism. The more you exercise, the more sleep you are going to need. The quality of your sleep has a direct impact on your climbing as well. The Current Sports Medicine Reports says that when athletes fail to achieve the recommended amount of sleep, their health and abilities both take a nosedive.
Hit the Sauna for a Complete Reset
Packed with both physical and mental benefits, a sauna schedule could be just the thing you need to enhance your recovery. Using a dry sauna, like the one we have at Oso, will deliver noticeable results even after one session. Resting in the heat for just 20 minutes can increase your blood flow and kickstart the lymphatic system. This will keep your joints and muscles from getting stiff and reduce inflammation post-workout. You may also notice a boost to your mental health, making the sauna a comprehensive self-care asset.
Read more sauna tips and amazing sauna benefits >
Use Recovery Tools to Repair and Strengthen Torn Muscles
There are many gadgets that are advertised as the perfect recovery tools. From foam rollers to hand exercisers, it can be tricky to know what will work for you. You don’t want to invest a bunch of money on gimmicky contraptions, so start out by identifying what your goals are. Do you want to relieve tension in your forearms, or are you hoping to protect your fingers from injury? Maybe your feet are feeling tight, or you just want an increased range of motion throughout your body.
Recovery tools are great for warming up, cooling down, and preventing injury. Some are easily available, but others will be found online. Foam rollers are the most common tool to be found in gyms and for good reason. Easy to use, foam rollers are extremely effective massage tools for the entire body. You can incorporate them into your recovery program for as little as $9 online (or just use the free ones at your gym). Once you’ve experimented with a foam roller, you’ll have a better idea of what tools you want to incorporate into your self-care schedule.