Shoulder complaints are almost part of everyday climbing sport and are often traumatic in nature. Climbing physio and MSc manual therapist Simon Deussen shows in today's post useful information and exercises for mobilization, stretching and strengthening the shoulder.
What most people refer to as a “shoulder” is actually a whole complex of several joints that, in conjunction with tendons and muscles, enable a variety of movements in the arm, from washing your hair to an intense gastone pull (see picture).
But this enormous mobility comes at a price. Due to its complex structure, it is very susceptible to injury. Shoulder complaints are almost part of everyday climbing sport and are often traumatic in nature.
The most common injuries to climbers after overloading, falling or the impact of jerky large forces on the shoulder joint are:
- Inflammation of the shoulder tendons
- Tear and / or capsular ligament tear and the resulting instability
- Dislocations (shoulder dislocation)
In the event of traumatic shoulder events or pain from 2 months old, I naturally recommend visiting a doctor. A clear diagnosis can only be made using an imaging procedure. I also use the musculoskeletal ultrasound diagnostics in my practice to make the cause of the pain visible to the patient in real time and in side comparison. This serves as the basis for targeted and efficient therapy management. For the treatment of tendinitis (inflammation of the tendon) I will present the innovative EPTE therapy in a later post.
In my more than 10 years of professional experience in the sports sector, I see a lot of shoulder problems. Since the sport of climbing and the associated complaints are still “relatively” novel, there is still very little scientific knowledge and the clinical experience is significant. The fact is that shortened or too weak muscles / ligaments significantly increase the risk of injury.
With the following exercises you address the most important areas of the shoulder.
Important: You must not experience any pain during the exercises or afterwards! A so-called stretch pain (tension / pressure) is desirable and should reach approx. 7-8 on a scale of 0-10. You keep this for at least 30 seconds and repeat all exercises 3 times. You will repeat the exercise (s) at least 3 times a week.
Mobilization / stretching
Strengthening the shoulder
This exercise is my personal favorite exercise and I almost always use it in the patient's shoulder program. This shoulder complex exercise can be performed per arm, is functional and addresses all important muscles, you do not need a break between sets if you turn 180 ° after each set! 2 versions for the front and 2 for the rear.
This exercise is a completely different rotator cuff exercise and comes from science.
About the article series
About Simon Deussen
Simon Deussen is a climbing physio and MSc manual therapist and owner of the Physio Vision practice in Zurich. As a passionate climber, he knows the needs of climbers from his own experience.
Simon Deussen's injury prevention tips
More training tips
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Credits: Cover picture Pavel Blazek