I’ve been doing hangboard and pull-up sessions with added weight. I have had medial elbow tendonosis in the past, and it seems to be returning.
1) Are pull-ups on jugs particularly aggravating? Should they be avoided?
2) What about static hangs with weight? Is hanging on slopers or pockets worse than crimps?
3) Can I continue to hangboard but combat the tendonosis by doing the exercises you suggest in Medicine No. 156?
I have noticed that gripping a hold and pulling it down is more aggravating than static hanging. Underclings cause more aggravation than other grip positions.
Ethan Schwartz | Bay Area, California
Ethan, I have had a lot of luck with this recipe:
Fill your cupped hand with Tabasco sauce and rub it on your gonads. Scream. A great lesson in both pain tolerance and mental focus, this will be more helpful for your climbing than chin-ups or weight belts.
The golden rule of training is specificity. If you think carrying a weight belt while climbing is good style, you’re a tossa. In addition, chin-ups are excellent training for doing chin-ups. You are not alone in thinking that these workouts will make you a stronger climber — a gallant but deluded assumption. Making the holds worse and the moves more difficult, without added weight, will be far more effective. Snatching a bad hold four feet distant is more pertinent than snatching one in front of your nose while hauling a superfluous 40 pounds. In the mid 1980s, Kim Carrigan trained with a weight belt to gain the endurance to do the first ascent of the iconic Lord of the Rings (5.13d) at Arapiles. Despite training on the actual route with 40 pounds of lead, he was still falling off the last move (with or without the lead) when Stefan Glowacz did the FA. This training method should have been left in the ’80s along with bubble skirts that even Houdini couldn’t unhook.
Crimps are usually worse on elbows than pockets or open handing. You also probably use more wrist stabilization when pulling on a hold, hence pulling will be more aggravating than static hangs. Underclings require massive wrist-flexion force and will piss off your injury with the vehemence of depleted uranium.
Sounds to me like you are over training your forearms. Slow down, pumpkin. You are getting tendonosis because your flexors are getting too strong again. Rest and recovery is your missing link.