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Hangboard Shoulder Injuries?
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PrestonSparks


Jan 22, 2013, 11:00 AM
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Hangboard Shoulder Injuries?
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I sprained my shoulder a couple days ago doing pullups on the hangboard. Im sure Im not the first person to experience this. Does anyone else have something that worked for them to heal and prevent these? Im a General Surgery Resident and I called my Ortho buddy and he wants to inject it for me. I may let him do it but Im interested in some training that will prevent these injuries from recurring.

Preston


camhead


Jan 22, 2013, 11:52 AM
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Re: [PrestonSparks] Hangboard Shoulder Injuries? [In reply to]
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PrestonSparks wrote:
I sprained my shoulder a couple days ago doing pullups on the hangboard. Im sure Im not the first person to experience this. Does anyone else have something that worked for them to heal and prevent these? Im a General Surgery Resident and I called my Ortho buddy and he wants to inject it for me. I may let him do it but Im interested in some training that will prevent these injuries from recurring.

Preston

Caveat: I'm not an M.D. and you are. So take this for what it's worth.

What grip were you using to do the pullups off of? Have you strained, or felt pain, in your shoulder before while climbing, or doing pullups on a bar?

Personally, I do not do any pullups on hangboards, except for on the largest jug holds. If you injured yourself doing pullups on a smaller grip, I would recommend that in the future, you focus more on static exercises such as dead hangs, which put you much more in control, and allow you to drop off much more quickly at the first hint of shoulder, elbow, or even finger pain.

If you did injure your shoulder on the largest hold, then I dunno. To prevent this in the future, it is possible to do some antagonist muscle training (pushups or bench presses), but even that won't necessarily help if you are dealing with chronically weak tendons and such in your shoulder.

Finally, pullups are overrated in climbing training, and most experienced coaches would tell you that. If you must do them, or want to increase lockoff strength in general, consider weighted pullups, frenchies, or one-armed lockoffs. All of these exercises may be easier on your shoulder, but it is possible they could be worse, too. You'll just have to see for yourself.


vinnie83


Jan 22, 2013, 2:10 PM
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Re: [PrestonSparks] Hangboard Shoulder Injuries? [In reply to]
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+1 to what camhead said

It's called a hangboard, not a pullup board. I thought that when I bought mine many years ago it actually said in the instructions to avoid doing excessive pullups on it and use a bar for those instead-something to do with a bar allowing the shoulders to rotate better during the movement and cause less stress.


PrestonSparks


Jan 23, 2013, 7:57 AM
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Re: [vinnie83] Hangboard Shoulder Injuries? [In reply to]
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Do you do dead hangs on the board where your shoulder is locked out or do you pull up a little bit? Ive been using heat and its getting better. I talked to one of our physical therapists and he showed me some stretches to and gave me some bands to strengthen my shoulder muscles.

I pulled out one of my old books from DO school that said shoulder injuries are the result of imbalance from muscles that are too tight or too weak. You stretch one and strengthen the other. Anyway, hopefully this will get better before the weather does.


Shanna


Jan 23, 2013, 8:39 AM
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Re: [PrestonSparks] Hangboard Shoulder Injuries? [In reply to]
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I suffered recurring shoulder injuries from climbing/campusing etc. for 4 years. Finally, "fixed" the problem by addressing the imbalances I have. Imbalances are different for everyone, so you may want to figure this out and correct.
As other mentioned, use a pull up bar for pull-ups and a hangboard for finger work.
When I do pull-ups I retract my shoulder blades in and down my back while doing pull-ups. Do not sag at the bottom. If you search pull-ups, most of the better trainers recommend this engagement.


camhead


Jan 23, 2013, 8:55 AM
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Re: [PrestonSparks] Hangboard Shoulder Injuries? [In reply to]
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PrestonSparks wrote:
Do you do dead hangs on the board where your shoulder is locked out or do you pull up a little bit? Ive been using heat and its getting better. I talked to one of our physical therapists and he showed me some stretches to and gave me some bands to strengthen my shoulder muscles.

I pulled out one of my old books from DO school that said shoulder injuries are the result of imbalance from muscles that are too tight or too weak. You stretch one and strengthen the other. Anyway, hopefully this will get better before the weather does.

Yes, as I mentioned in my original post, a great way to balance out muscles is to work on building muscle groups that you do not use in climbing, since those that you do use can get overdeveloped. So, for shoulder issues, work on pushups or bench-pressing.

As for the angle of a dead hang, people use different combinations of different angles (read the "encores"http://www.beastmaker.co.uk/pages/training section here to get an idea). You should never hang completely straight-armed, however. Beyond that, I would say hang at the angle that stresses your shoulder the least.


rockvoyager


Jan 25, 2013, 9:27 PM
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Re: [PrestonSparks] Hangboard Shoulder Injuries? [In reply to]
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Preston

Hang boards can hurt you. I ripped my supraspinatus tendon on my very first climb in Krabi, thailand. Surgeon told me it was from doing full arm hangs on my board. He said the little calcium bumps we get on the top of our shoulder with age rubbed against the tendon causing an abrasion that finally ruptured. Pretty much sucked. I couldn't climb rock because I hurt my shoulder climbing plastic.

Anyway, I now use the board for endurance and crimp strength. No full arm hangs, no pull ups. Hopefully no more operations.

I agree with whoever said pullups are overrated. When I regularly did bunches of them I got tendinitis and didn't feel like it really helped my climbing. So I began doing a FEW pullups, on a pullup bar, with weights. I started with an extra ten pounds and now I use 40 pounds. My workout includes 5 sets of three pullups during a session that includes situps, crimpers, slopers, pockets and bent arm hangs.

By the way, slopers with 40 extra pounds seem to really help my crimp strength.

Take all this with a grain of salt. I'm 63 and all this is just the drool stained theories of an old man.

Good luck
Brad


PrestonSparks


Jan 26, 2013, 5:24 PM
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Re: [rockvoyager] Hangboard Shoulder Injuries? [In reply to]
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Brad,

Thanks for the advice. Ive been doing a little bit of research on rotator cuff injuries. I dont have any medical training to speak of in this area but here is what Ive learned from my experience. Im not back to climbing yet but Im at 85% now.

The rotator cuff muscles function to keep your shoulder in the socket. There are 4 of them and they pretty much pull in 4 different directions. All four of these muscles attach to the scapula(shoulder blade). There is a muscle called the serratus anterior that functions to keep the scapula flat against your back. When one of the rotator muscles gets stronger than the other, you get shoulder instability. This manifest itself as a catch or clicking feeling when you move your shoulder. This is because the shoulder is moving around in the socket because the muscles holding the shoulder in the socket are out of balance. In my case, the muscles on the back of my shoulder socket got stronger than the ones on the front.

There were a couple things that helped me:
1. Heat
2. Serratus Anterior Strengthening (look it up on you tube, basically this involves shoulder shrugs in the pushup position with locked out elbows.)
3. Stretching the strong muscles, in my case, this involved pulling my are strait across my body and feeling the stretch on the back of my shoulder.
4. Strengthening the weak muscle, in my case, this was using a thera-band to work internal rotation, look it up on you tube.

Im not really sure why this happened when it did. Ive done pullups for a long time. I dont really know if the hanging or the pullups were the culprit. I initially hurt my shoulder several weeks ago when I was just doing a pullup workout. I have done pullups for a long time but had recently started doing kipping pullups - I dont know if this had anything to do with it.

Anyway, hope this helps someone.

Preston


Syd


Jan 31, 2013, 12:26 PM
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Re: [PrestonSparks] Hangboard Shoulder Injuries? [In reply to]
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I also avoid full pull ups. I do static lock offs at various heights and hangs. For me it avoids elbow problems.


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