The Climbers’ Project: Introduction

Mitch Owens, a physical therapist in Seattle, Washington, studied local rock climbers with and without shoulder pain to determine what sports specific adaptation occur in the bodies of climbers that might predispose them to shoulder injuries. This became “The Climbers’ Project”. From the results of his study he designed and recorded these exercise videos with local climbing photographer Dan Holz, and local climbing trainer Mercedes Pollmeier to provide a resource for climbers who are looking to prevent shoulder injuries, climb longer and climb stronger.

You can download the results of the study here. TheClimbersProjectResults

Level I Exercises

The Level I series of exercises were designed for climbers who have a history of shoulder pain and are looking to improve the balance of muscle length and muscle control around the shoulder complex. All climbers should start with the Level I series to learn the basic movements and principles applied in Level II and Level III. These are good exercises to perform prior to climbing. These exercises could be performed daily or every other day to allow for recovery from muscle soreness.

Level II Exercises

The Level II series of exercises are designed for climbers who have completed the Level I series for up to two weeks and are looking to prevent shoulder pain. These exercises are ideal for a person climbing without pain and who is looking to maintain a healthy balance of muscle length and control in the shoulder complex . These exercises can be done every other day to allow for muscle recovery.

Level III Exercises

The Level III series of exercises are designed for climbers who have completed the Level II series for up to 2 weeks and are looking to prevent shoulder pain. These exercises are ideal for a person climbing without pain and who is looking to maintain a healthy balance of muscle length and control in the shoulder complex. These exercises can be done every other day to allow for muscle recovery.

Shoulder Warm Up

This series of movements was designed by Mitch Owens a physical therapist to activate the key muscles that support the shoulder. A shoulder that has a balance of muscle activity and good mobility is less likely to cause you pain and limit your climbing.

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