You're hundreds of feet in the air, balanced by your fingers and anchored by your feet. Your toes are tightly gripping in your climbing shoes. Your calves and hamstrings are in an isometric contraction to keep your foot anchored to the rock. And then go... you're on the move again.
But, what happens when compensation patterns set in and over time those hamstrings start to become over worked and fatigued? We were recently faced with this scenario with a client and fellow Pilates Instructor. Climbing is Michelle's passion, so when she contacted me saying she hasn't been able to climb due to knee pain, I knew it must be bad.
Through a series of range of motion evaluations, we found her knee flexion and knee extension were both limited on the leg that was bothering her. For a climber, not being able to fully utilize her knee mobility can be a big limitation. We spent about an hour and a half testing and treating specific muscles that create these ranges of motion, and were able to dramatically improve her strength and her mobility. We knew getting her back to where she needed to be would be a process, but a week later she texted in absolute excitement! Her knee pain is reduced and she's back on the rock!
Our follow up sessions have been geared toward looking at some deeper compensations and muscular weaknesses that she has been dealing with for years. By addressing these underlying weaknesses, we hope to limit or prevent potential injuries for the rest of the limbing season. Even the strongest athletes deal with muscle imbalances and compensations. Unraveling these compensations and then preventing future compensation patterns keep athletes healthy and strong. We have more work before Michelle is feeling 100%, but progress is progress and we are super excited to see her doing what she loves again!
Thank you, Michelle for letting us tell your story and sharing this awesome photo. If you'd like to follow Michelle on her climbing adventures, she's on Instagram @climbingkinny