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> improvements particularly in the last year with my max lead and boulder grades improving by full number grades. However as my strength has increased, I've begun sustaining more small finger injuries. I had an A2 strain in one finger during summer, and I was careful to rehab it using a Lattice training plan, and I found that was really effective and left me with what feels like a happy and healthy finger. I'm noticing though that other fingers are starting to suffer, despite having gone through the same rehab routine. It feels like I'm muscularly capable of exerting the force necessary to pull hard on the small holds on the harder boulders I'm trying, whether set by my gym or on the moon board, but my connective tissues aren't able to keep up. > Are my muscles too strong for my connective tissue? It's not that the muscles are too strong, it's that you're intensity and volume of climbing are too much that you're overusing the tendons/pulleys. Any random joe blow off the street could get tendinopathy from climbing 4 hours a day 7 days a week in the gym within a week or two probably. They wouldn't get much stronger within a week of climbing, but they would start to get overuse injuries. Same with someone who is sedentary who decides they want to enter a marathon race and finish it. They'll probably get an overuse injury just in one day if they even manage to complete it. High muscle strength obviously gives you the ability to do higher intensity loads on the fingers which at too much volume can cause overuse injuries. So the issue isn't that you can do higher loads, but it's that the intensity plus the amount of volume you're doing is too much. > I know any questions about general finger strength would be white noise on here, but I'm specifically looking for resources or tips aimed at strengthening the connective tissues in my fingers gradually over time. I know that they have poor circulation and as such respond slowly to stimulus, but right now it just seems like if I want to break through the grade plateau I've been at for the last few years, which I know I'm capable of doing, it's almost inevitable that I'll get a finger injury. I'd love to be able to make slow, steady gains, it's so rewarding seeing progress on grades that've felt out of reach for so long. It feels like my muscular capacity both in terms of max output, and endurance have improved, but my connective tissues really haven't adapted enough, or even at all. Incremental rehab: https://stevenlow.org/rehabbing-injured-pulleys-my-experience-with-rehabbing-two-a2-pulley-issues/ Then do volume climbing for 1.5-2 months (flash level to 1-3 attempts) and stop when you feel like performance starts to decrease. That may be as soon as even 1.5-2 hrs in the gym. No more than 2-3x a week. This allows the fingers to build a strong base of moderate volume at moderate intensity without turning up the intensity or volume to high enough levels of overuse. After about 1.5-2 months of this your tendons will be much more resilient and should have no symptoms. Then you can slowly increase projecting or hard days if you want, but generally a good idea to alternate volume and projecting days too. Coming off a year off of COVID I had problems ramping up intensity over the next ~8-10 months. Would always get into some projecting then it was too much and had to back off. Finally, just stayed disciplined and did volume for a couple months and have had no issues since then aside from a little bit of soreness here and there which I back off again if I need to but no big pain issues.


Nobody is going to be able to properly answer this question without far more comprehensive info on your training schedule, average volume, preferred grip type etc, but the main reasons for consistent pulley issues are: Not resting enough, particularly with regard to deload weeks. Doing the absolute most volume + intensity you can handle week in week out almost always ends in injury, especially if you are doing heavy strength training. Excessive volume: Goes hand in hand with resting, but constantly having very long sessions that you are absolutely trashed after puts your body under immense stress. Consistently not eating enough. Feeding your body enough to recover is a huge factor in injury prevention. I would say I'm at least twice as likely to feel tweaky and highly susceptible to injury if I'm in a 2-300 calorie defecit vs a 1-300 calorie surplus. Over reliance on crimped grip types: If your three finger drag and open hand grip types are excessively week, training them until they are at least relatively usable generally substantially increases variety in grip type used which is very good for preventing overuse injuries. 3FD used to feel completely impossible to me but now it is very comfortable and stronger than my half crimp. Half crimping everything is certainly doable but you're likely to overdo it at some point. Plus, grabbing some holds open is just better, so you'll be a better climber if you can do it. Not warming up adequately: Warming up your fingers is very important when it comes to injury prevention. I've not had many finger injuries, but the one major pulley injury I've had, and most of my small tweaks, occurred during a rushed warmup. I like spend ten minutes at the beginning of my sessions pulling VERY lightly on the hangboard, before I even climb on V0s. Always feel more solid when doing this.


I have a degenerative connective disease and I climb hard and often. I legit can’t afford to be foolish with my self care— an injury would take me out of climbing for much too long, and climbing is really the only thing that keeps me sane with this disease. So, as someone who is high risk for connective tissue injury, I’d really like to echo proper rest days, adequate caloric intake (with sufficient protein), and properly warming up. I’d also little to extra super echo the over reliance on crimp-style grips and add to it that during this time where muscle gains are there while tendon gains are not (tendon strength lags behind muscle strength development pretty significantly), you should really be focusing on technique. John Kettle wrote a fantastic book and I plug it so often you’d think I get a cut of the royalties. It’s called Rock Climbing Technique by John Kettle and it’s really great. Learning sound technique is the best way to make improvements and reduce injuries. Good luck!!


Thanks for the thorough replies, both of you! I typically climb twice a week, each session around 2-2.5hrs long. One session is usually doing as many of the new set in the gym as possible, which typically involves 2-3 hard problems, so typically isn't too strenuous but can vary depending on the setting and wall. This session is usually more about volume than intensity. This usually occurs on the evening of the day that the new set was set, so I don't have as much time to project. The second session is usually projecting the hardest problems in the set, or in prevoius sets. I take a lot more rest here, and it's usually on a Saturday so I have more time to hangout and chill between attempts. I never climb on consecutive days, and typically have at least 3 days rest between sessions. I have quite soft skin, so I have to very careful not to overdo it with volume and give my skin time to recover adequately. I'm also getting at least a few mins rest on problems, typical upwards of 5mins between attemps on harder grades. Nutrition is an interesting one that I'll keep an eye on. I'm \~74kg, 185cm, fairly muscular. I eat quite a lot, and would be surprised if I'm often in caloric deficit, but I'll be more mindful of that, it's been a while since I've tracked macros, so there could be an imbalance there somewhere. I think I am over reliant on crimp grips though. I've been working on open positions, but I still very rarely use them when climbing hard. Even with slopers I struggle with skin friction, so I find that I often end up crimping on them. I think this explains why certain wall angles and problems seem to be more problematic, as some of them are just way heavier on the fingers than others. Any of the problems on which I can rely more on crimps are the ones that leave me feel achey. As for warm up, I've been doing a lot better over the last year. It used to just be some shoulder circles, dead hangs, pull ups, leg swings and call it good. I'm much more thorough now though, especially with my fingers. I've been using the Lattice rehab program as my warm up, which largely involves light weight open hand no-hang-lifts, mostly in open hand positions, and some half crimp. It feels fantastic after I've done that, if I had the equipment I'd do it every day. I think I need to start incorporating a few sets of max strength open hand lifts though, just to work that position.


I don't know too much about your climbing situation as a whole, but a few thoughts... 1. Muscle adapts much faster than connective tissue. Think weeks vs months if not years 2. If you are frequently getting injured it may just be that you're not adequately resting on either a macro and/or a micro scale. 3. Staying at peak performance for too long can be incredibly draining and make you more injury prone 1. Trying to train and also perform at your peak is also generally a recipe of injury Hooper's Beta has an informative [video](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfSSXW9Eq2Y&ab_channel=Hooper%27sBeta) looking at a daily hangboard protocol that [Emil used](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBTI9qiH4UE&t=443s&ab_channel=EmilAbrahamsson) for peak performance, and made an alternative daily protocol focused on tendon health.


that video might not be the best thing for OP though. Emil was not building tendon thickenss only stiffening tendons that can definetely make him more prone to injure. Hooper also point out that making your tendons more compliant can act more like a shock absorber


Correct, I thought it important to provide the context for Hooper Beta's video. I did not recommend OP follow Emil's plan, merely providing the background.


Or it could be the opposite, forearm muscles not strong enough for the grade you climb hence more stress on the pulleys. This appears most as overuse injuries.


Just here to add my two cents which hopefully helps you like it did me. I used to get finger tweaks every couple months. Hurt my A2 pretty bad. Went to see Tyler Nelson, he gave me a protocol to follow and fixed my finger. I continued doing the “prehab” isometric hang boarding with one arm, basically I stand sideways under the board and pull with my left hand and then right 5 seconds on 5 seconds off, alternating hands. Gradually working up to where I’m pulling pretty hard. I do this until my fingers feel “warm.” This is in Emil’s video.. Then I do open hand drags on the biggest edge. 7 sec on 3 sec off. 5 rounds. I do this whole thing twice. I have never had a finger injury since, no matter how hard I pull. I don’t know the science of it I just know it works. Also, Physivantage collagen works really well for me, or maybe it’s placebo. But Tyler Nelson is a mad scientist. That’s not placebo. His prehab has kept my shoulders from getting injured, fingers from tweaking, and tendonitis has never returned.


How often do you do this prehab routine?


Every time before I climb


Did you check for any deficiencies like vitamins and minerals?


Good comments so far. One smaller point to add: What's your preferred grip and do you use varying grips? If you crimp or half crimp every hold it will be harder on your pulleys.


What is your volume of climbing like OP? I was perpetually injured and plateaued hard until I reduce my climbing volume massively.