Wednesday, November 01, 2006


This elbow is really annoying me. I want to be training full-bore for mixed season, and yet washing my face is painful, and I can't lift a frying pan by the handle with my left hand. Yesterday I did a bunch of reading and messing about and figured out that I have a problem primarily with supinating (turning my hand from palm up to palm down) my hand with the bicep flexed. Not suprisingly, this is exactly the motion used to hand-haul a rope, or to pull rope through a belay device. It's OK with the bicep relaxed, but put some load on the bicep and it's weak and painful. I spent about 30 minutes in the gym last night figuring out what hurt and what didn't, rolling mini-barbells and various long sticks around, just really isolating the exact problem. Then I started messing around to see what I could do, instead of just assuming I couldn't do anything training-wise. I came to the conclusion that I can do pullups (palms away from me) with very little to no pain. I can't do a chin-up (palms toward me) 'cause it hurts like mad when the bicep engages. Right. I'm into doing the Cross Fit workouts when I'm in a general training cycle, this qualifies as I sure as hell can't train specifically for mixed climbing. Their workout of the day, or WOD, was ten rounds of ten pullups and ten dips per round, as fast as possible.... OK, I haven't done dips in months but game on. I warmed up with 100 light-weight reps on the lat pulldown machine and 100 light tri pressdowns, got some looks from the meat heads in the gym for using no weight but fuck 'em, then went at it. Seven rounds later my triceps were nuked and I was having to start using my biceps on the pullups, so I called it good. 70 pullups, 70 dips, I was gasping like a fish and the meat heads were looking confused, see above comment. I then knocked out 100 situps, and did some careful bent-over one-armed rows isolating the rear delt and then lats, keeping the bicep out of it and holding the weight in a way that didn't hurt. To finish it off I took a really light stick and worked pronation and supination, just very, very gently; felt sorta stupid sitting on a bench and twirling a stick like a failed Ninja but I want to heal. Then I ran home in the -15 temps, perfect. Instead of saying, "I'm injured and can't train" and sitting on my ass I'm gonna train as best I can. I didn't ice my elbow when I got home as I wanted to see what happened without reducing the inflamation, answer the question of, "was this a stupid idea or OK?"

This morning my lats and pecs are fried, jello fried, but my elbow actually feels a touch better. Hmmm... So yesterday didn't seem to make things worse. I also think Yoga was messing me up, the loads on your insertion points when doing the "swing through like a dog dragging its ass" move (also called a Vinassa or something) are too high for my elbow to handle. I did a yoga session the other day and stepped through to seated and back, it's not manly but at least I can do Yoga.

Today's Cross Fit workout looks like it might be too much for elbow, but I'll have a go and just modify exercises so I can do them pain-free.

The advice on elbow issues seems to be total rest, but I don't rest well. If this "train but only without elbow pain" program works I'll be psyched. If it doesn't then I'll be more screwed up, but I've got plans for the winter that will be screwed up if I'm not fit enough to climb also, so I'm going for it.


JD LeBlanc said...

"was this a stupid idea or OK?"

Dude - gotta love the Gadd! You know this brings back 1989 and the weight room at the University of Calgary - big weighted pull ups - max reps and generally trying to pull over the universal machine. We used to have to get the Football dudes to help get the weights on our "swammi".

As you know, no really stupid ideas - but it's like when you ask the wife - is it ok to go climbing again and you stay home? It's the damn execution of them ideas that leads to trouble.

I can imagine you resting is like trying to stop a spawning fish. They stop, but then that's it - no more.

My new training method is wicked - drink wine, eat great food and hibernate - oh yeah and quit climbing.

PS I did 71, 71 and 105 ... game on mofo!

=NIMBUS= said...

Hi Will!
You are probably doing the right thing by training the muscles around the painful area, unloading the injury and increasing the overall blood flow in the arm, important for the healing process. This method worked well for me!

Will Gadd said...

Thanks Nimbus, nice to hear that the idea has worked for other people.

Will Gadd said...

And game on back to you JD, train up, mixed season is HERE!