It’s been seven or eight months (maybe even more) since I’ve been able to do a pain-free pull-up… I’m still waiting. I do a chin up here, but it is painful on the way down. It’s not tendinopathy pain, it feels more like the inability for the Flexor Pollicus Longus to eccentrically lengthen (a possible precursor to tendinopathy). It’s actually been a few months since I’ve even been able to bring my feet to the bar, so this feels like a huge improvement.
In this video, I’m working on basic climbing exploration, stressing the hand to shoulder complex just enough without eliciting pain. This is great for grip strength and developing scapular stability. After I noticed the pain with the pull-up, I grabbed a bench to unload some bodyweight and grove the movement with less load and no pain.
This is the best my right hand/elbow/shoulder have felt in a long time, but there is still a ton of room for improvement.
Using Climbing as Rehab
Self Massage using a Foam Roller
I am a big fan of self-massage using tools such as a foam roller, Yoga Tune up ball, Yamina ball, Thera-cane, etc. I don’t get into the science and/or pseudoscience of why I love it. My practical experience of self-exploration self-massage, as well as hands-on experience touching others, tells me that there is definitely a value in massage therapy. What that value is and how it works are definitely up for debate.
When I was first introduced to the foam roller over 12 years ago, it was a godsend. I became addicted to it. I would spend 1-2 hours rolling and stretching almost every night. This daily personal exploration is what lead me towards getting my massage license so I could legally touch my clients.
It is also what moved me into the direction of natural movement. I realized over time that every night I would roll out my pain and feel temporarily better and wake up the next morning with the exact same pain. I wasn’t interested in temporary results. I wanted to feel better and slowly learned that I needed to move better. This only took me about 10+ years to figure out. Well to be perfectly honest, I’m still figuring it out.
I no longer get on the foam roller nightly, although I do like to get on it just to adjust and mobilize my spine. I find that somewhere between once a week and once a month I like to do a full body self-massage session. It is a great way to feel what is happening within my body on the tissue level.
This past week, I have ramped up the volume of movement to my body. I started swimming again, went on a bike ride, hiked, as well as walking back and forth across campus with a 30-40 lb backpack. My body was more than ready for a focused self-massage session. This felt really good.
I finished up with a few minutes of movement restoration. I could really feel a difference in my hips (particularly with the pigeon position).
Note: I have over 12 years of experience with a foam roller. I know my body very well. The movements I am doing are not recommended for beginners to intermediate users. You can hurt yourself on a foam roller. Please use caution. Or better yet, hire someone who is highly skilled as a movement therapist to teach you.