Each year, Highball Climbing Centre host a 3 day Climbing Festival and Bouldering Comp, the Big Flash. From professional wads who travel far, to the ‘NuKids’ on the Bloc; the weekend provides a fun and energetic atmosphere for climbers to compete, eat and repeat… all in support of Climbers Against Cancer (CAC) and Community Action Nepal.
With over 150 climbers registered for Friday’s ‘NuKids’ Comp alone, we were kept busy offering free physiotherapy consultations, treatment and sports massage as well as injury prevention and taping workshops. We were gratefully joined also by physiotherapist, sports massage practitioner and climber, Hannah Hume, offering treatment over the weekend and proving to be popular with the route setters and pro climbers! We had our own Climbing Physio, Lewie competing in the qualifiers and making it through to the semi’s but missing out on a place in the finals by 1… That 1 being Sam Lawson, local climber from Lawson Beta Productions who Climbing Physio proudly support in all their climbing ventures. (Great to see Sam finish 5th in the finals!)
The weekend gave us a great opportunity to meet climbers at all levels; some taking advantage of the free bouldering taster sessions and others who had high hopes of taking home the £500 1st place prize. We spoke to route setters and climbers over the 3 days about how their injuries occurred, how they try to stay injury free and what they do during periods of rest to keep up their fitness.
It was interesting to hear from many of the newer climbers of the speed at which they were progressing until they hit a setback- in the form of an injury! You may even recognise this yourself… Starting to feel strong on the wall and boosting the grade and suddenly your body throws one back. Unfortunately with climbing, the muscles react quickly to the demands of the sport but the tendons and ligaments struggle to keep up, taking much longer to develop.
We took some tips from the pro’s too… Staying injury free in such a powerful and demanding sport isn’t easy and each climber has their own routines and rituals to help keep the injuries at bay. A common theme was breaking up training sessions to avoid overuse syndromes, some short powerful sessions, others focusing on technique and endurance. Knowing when to back down or take a rest day was another tip… Listen to your body and don’t be afraid to take a few days off to let your body catch up. And finally, a stretching regime. Particularly popular amongst the females (and probably too often overlooked by the guys) is a long term stretching regime or taking part in yoga based sessions. Regular stretching for the forearms, biceps, pecs and lats in particular can be great for the prevention of elbow and shoulder injuries.
The idea of ‘active rest’ is thrown around a lot these days and it’s certainly a big thing in climbing. Some climbers just can’t sit still and on days off climbing and training, keeping fit with cycling, swimming and running all seem to be popular ‘rest day’ activities to keep up general fitness levels.
So the biggest event in the Highball Calendar was a great weekend for us at Climbing Physio; to find our feet, gauge the demands from the local climbing community and offer a whole load of free treatment. It seems that climbers are often reluctant to visit a GP for an injury where they’ll likely be told to ‘stop climbing!??’ and appreciated our efforts to keep their passion for climbing at the forefront of their road to recovery! Others just felt a good sports massage was what they needed to relieve some tension after a tough day’s climbing.
It has been great to meet so many climbers and supporters over the weekend. And a huge thank you to all of the support from Highball Climbing Centre, the Highball Clinic and of course the brilliant Norwich climbing community!
To celebrate the opening of the Climbing Physio Clinic, we’re offering 10% OFF all physiotherapy and sports massage appointments for the first month. To book your appointment just head over to our Book Online page