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The NUMBER 1 Cause of Climbing Accidents... and How You Can Prevent it! Plus, 4 Essential Shoulder Exercises you Don’t Want to Skip!

Jun 22, 2021

 We all seem to be striving to be the best climber out there. Some have the best shoes, ropes, and other gear, but some of the best climbers have something money can’t really buy…and that’s rotator cuff and shoulder strength. Maintaining strength here is KEY to keeping you on the rocks and out of the OR! 

With that said, Here's the question I want to ask you today:

What's the leading cause of climbing accidents?


Accidents that come from rappelling are usually caused by people rappelling through the end of the ropes that don't have stopper knots tied to them. Your rotator cuff muscles are pretty much equivalent to stopper knots when you're rappelling. 

You might not think about strengthening your rotator cuff muscles very often, but you'll be really happy when you do. 

It's not going to make you more powerful, or bulk up more, but is KEY for injury prevention. 

2 valuable points here: 

1). Tie your stopper knots. 

2). Strengthen your rotator cuff muscles. 

These 2 points will help you when you least expect it. I GUARANTEE you will be really thankful for developing these essential HABITS

Let’s get into a little bit of the anatomy, 

The rotator cuff is composed of 4 muscles: 

  • Supraspinatus
  • Infraspinatus
  • Teres minor 
  • Subscapularis 

So why is it important to strengthen these muscles? 

Because the rotator cuff keeps the ball in the socket. Essentially, these muscles attach the ball to your shoulder socket. 

Here are a few exercises to get you started! 

You’ll need a sports cord and a door. Fasten the sports cord into the door at around elbow height. 

1). Internal Rotation ( elbow by your side): While your elbow and arm are at 90 degrees, and parallel to the door, slowly bring your hand towards your stomach. Make sure you feel the resistance by staying slow and controlled. 

2). External Rotation ( elbow by your side): In the same position, hold sports cord in hand going across your body, pulling outwards in a slow and controlled fashion. Remember to keep your elbow at your side the entire time. 

3). External Rotation ( elbow up by shoulder): Move the sports cord up to about your shoulder height in the door. This time, keeping your forearm parallel to the ground, facing the door. Pull your forearm back, slow and controlled. 

4). Internal Rotation ( elbow up by shoulder): In the same position, with the forearm parallel to the ground, turn around, with the sports cord behind you, and pull forward, slow and controlled. 

Some alternatives to using a sport cord could be a dumbbell or some kind of weight. You could also do these exercises with the weight lying down on your back and side also. By lying on the ground, you are working against the pull of gravity, and therefore strengthening your rotator cuff muscles better than if you were standing up.

Adding these into your active exercise days can help drastically improve your rotator cuff strength and further help injury prevention!

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