Pain started near the tail end of my hangboard season. I was pushing up against my limit pretty consistently. I was also deadlifting and doing other freeweights exercises on my off days.
Moral of the story, heavy hangboarding and heavy deadlifting don't mix. In the meanwhile, silly things like pinching, bringing a water bottle to my face, holding anything with an outstretched arm hurt across the brachioradialis muscle (across the top of the forearm and over the elbow).
Anybody have an success addressing this? Seems like info for healing is pretty limited. Going for a week off, started icing tonight. Reverse pronation doesn't actually trigger anything. Wrist curls not much either. Hoping it'll go away quickly so I don't lose those hangboard gainz!
Last Edit: Apr 21, 2018 18:53:31 GMT -7 by Charlie S
Try eccentrically loading the muscle using the same protocol Dr. J uses in the Dodgy Elbows article for rock and ice. You'll have to fiddle around with the weights to find what works. Possibly eccentric hammer curls or eccentric supination. A lot of those overuse injuries and tendonopathies can be treated using those protocols.
I had a biceps tendinosis I successfully treated recently using the same eccentric loading protocol.
Hammer drills work. Unfortunately in my experience bracioradialis strain is often tied to lateral epicondylitis. The pinch is your enemy for a while.
Climbers have no reason to be using anything but the hook grip (double overhand)while deadlifting. If you are pushing past 2x BW you have lost the path. I also think it’s foolish to lift heavy on your rest days. I wasted an entire year trying this, with good results for my lifting but crappy effect to my climbing. Combine your HB and lifting on the same days so you have actual rest days. Would you do a day of weighted pull ups the day before or after you had a heavy hangboard day? Deadlifts are pulls off the ground, and use more muscular engagement. In my experience if you are doing them more than twice a week you are going to be overloading your pull muscles. I take a week to recover from a DL session when pushing past 85% max. Unless your DL really sucks, IMO you should only train it at less than 80%, and only a couple times a month.
Buy a rollaide and a green twist bar. Grab your 5 lb sledge hammer from your barn and put all 3 next to your bed. 2-3 times a day start working eccentrics at loads just under pain threshold. Grab your broccoli rubberband and put it in you car. Start with the band up at your second nuckle and work your way down. Unless you have no self control (like me) you should be able to beat it in a couple weeks. If you pretend it isn’t a problem and keep on training like usual you could easily stretch it to a 6+ mo recovery window. I can give you more specifics if you can’t find them online. As you are in Salt Lake I would go see Ester Smith with Grassroots PT. Good luck.
Last Edit: Apr 22, 2018 10:58:44 GMT -7 by climbnkev
Some good tips above. A couple of years ago I had a deadlift technique session with Andy Bolton. He recommended 95%+ of lifts to be double overhand only going to alternate grip for maxes. Lots of technical factors relating to the deadlift that can lead to a neural cause of elbow pains. Ensure a neutral spine throughout engaging glutes and particularly no rounding of lower back or hinging of your neck. Make sure your weight is centralised through your foot / you should be able to wiggle your toes. Basically stick to weights that can be lifted with correct form not the max you can scrape up. I like deadlifts as a global warm up then move onto fingerboard stuff then weighted pull-ups after if doing them. Rest days are for rest unless I go for a cycle or jog or crag prospecting. 1-3x per week with a quality over quantity approach works ok.
Couple afterthoughts whilst resting in-between sets- impromptu deadlift session inspired by this thread :-)
Being able to differentiate between your own personal signs of neural fatigue and fatigue caused by glycogen depletion is very useful when programming (low volume high intensity) deadlifts in and around other things.
Try adding in some very light overhead squats. This will help identify any mobility issues that may need working on for an effective / safe deadlift.
Oh and don't forget principle of specificity of training- hope you're doing your deadlifting in your rock boots.
Thanks for the pointers. Side note: double overhand caused lateral epycondlitis in both arms. Alternating with an alternate grip helped that. I started the deadlifting for two reasons. 1, HGH, and 2, my long-term trad project has a ridiculous squat off of small feet and I didn't have the lower chain strength to get out of that position.
But the point is taken that even though it was fun, a 345lb max deadlift was probably more than sufficient for what I need out of those muscles. And though it's easy to point to that, I've also had to relearn hangboard form these past two seasons (I was "cheating" before and now have to control swing after the liftoff).
I have had a very similar problem for several years. After several months of eccentrics hammer drills, reverse wrist curls and eccentric biceps curls( with thumbs up) I have finally started to make progress. brachioradialis flexes the elbow and can cause both pronation and supination of the forearm so you should target all of those motions with eccentrics. Check out what Ester Smi has to say about reps and set(low reps, but frequently throughout the day).In my case it was also related to lateral epicondylitis hence the reverse wrist curls. I also had to work a lot on thoracic mobility and engagement in my shoulders and lats. My athletic therapist explained that when strength and mobility in your shoulders is impaired you start to create force and mobility further down e kinetic chain (wrist and elbows) and these weaker muscles will eventually break down.
Well here we are, 3 months later. Wanted to share an update and maybe that will help someone else in the future.
First note: back-to-back days of Moonboarding, then deadlifting is STUPID!
Following up on the previous story: the Indian Creek trips went really well. So well, that I decided to spend some time in the Forearm Farm and assess the healing. It hurt right off the bat. I figured if it was tendinosis, it would go away after the tendons were warmed up. After 15 minutes, the pain was excruciating and I ended the session. That is the hole I've been digging my way out of since May.
I saw a PT and an orthopedist. PT diagnosed it as an overuse of the extensor longus, gave some good exercises but an overly optimistic recovery window. After seemingly no progress after 10 weeks, I went to an orthopedist. He diagnosed the same muscle but said I had probably torn it at the muscle/tendon interface. He said he's seen that injury before, that I was on the right plan with recovery, but to expect 4 months.
Early on, the Armaid caused more damage than it helped. After 2 months, I began using it again in conjunction with the hammer drills.
I am finally making progress. I'm about 85% there. Cracks are fine. Gastons or anything that puts the wrist pronation past horizontal will still irritate it.
One of the most important lessons in this process is that when you start to feel an injury, don't climb through it. Address it. 1-2 weeks off is chump change compared to 4 months. I will have missed 2 training cycles by the end of it (I'm taking this season off too just to make sure I heal right). The good news is that I haven't lost much. Last weekend I onsighted a 5.11c. A few days before I made it to the top of a 5.12c but it wasn't pretty. The fitness will return; the base is there.