High quality climbing content based on the latest research. The Climbing Doctor articles help increase injury prevention knowledge and decrease injury rates.

Spinal Mobility

You are standing at the base of a route at your climbing gym. You notice wide stemming moves, high heel hooks and large step throughs. Looking up at the intricate sequences, you start to think maybe the route was set by a Cirque de Soleil performer. But you decide to give it a go. You [...]


Prep the Wrists and Fingers to Send

Most climbers know better than to just jump on their project cold. A thorough warm-up increases blood flow, muscle flexibility, and body control. A complete warm-up includes four components, all to be performed in the following succession: Increase Blood Flow Improve Mobility Target Stability Begin Climbing View the article below to learn more [...]


A Gripping Career

INmotion Magazine interviews The University of Southern California's professor Dr. Jared Vagy DPT. The article discusses the physical demands of rock climbing and Dr. Vagy's unique approach to assessing and treating rock climbers.


Lift Off

Vogue magazine published an interesting piece in their fitness section on rock climbing. The Climbing Doctor was quoted in the article saying "There are over 30 muscles in the hand, wrist and fingers alone," explains Jared Vagy - a Los Angeles based physical therapist who specializes in climber "These are essential to grip onto smaller holds."


Mirroring Movement

The majority of climbers waste their time performing useless exercises to improve climbing performance and end up injuring themselves. Most training exercises don't reflect the position or the demand on the body while climbing and therefore don’t translate into meaningful climbing improvements. In order for an exercise to carryover to climbing the body position must be similar to climbing.


Core Training For Climbers

Dr. Jared Vagy and Steve Bechtel collaborated on an article that breaks core exercises for climbing into four fundamental rules based on movement. Sasha DiGiulian demonstrates the most effective way to utilize these rules during abdominal training.


Injury Free Movement

When I first started climbing I would spend long days training as hard as possible. I thought for sure my climbing would improve exponentially. But it didn’t. So I trained even harder. Over time, I started feeling some soreness in my shoulder and fingers. I ignored the discomfort and climbed through it. Eventually the soreness [...]


Dear Dr.

A special edition article where DPM converted their "Ask Ed" column to "Ask Dr." To field a question from a reader on how to tape collateral ligament sprains in the finger.


Emerging concepts in injury prevention: Pulley Strain

The 'pop' of a finger is most commonly associated with a fully ruptured pulley, but a silent strain or partial tear can be almost as debilitating, requiring weeks or months of rest and recovery. This is one of the most common climbing injuries, but, luckily, it can be prevented by changing your movement patterns and practicing some targeted physical therapy exercises.


Emerging concepts in injury prevention: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome used to occur in office workers after spending hours compressing their wrists typing at the computer. Now it is becoming common in climbers because of the repetitive use of the muscles in the front of our wrists to grip holds. These muscles are called our wrist flexors. Underneath the wrist flexors runs an important nerve named the median nerve. Often times when the wrist is in a flexed position repetitively, such as working a climbing project with a lot of slopers, the median nerve can become compressed underneath the muscles in an area called the carpal tunnel. This can cause numbness, pain and weakness in the hand.


Emerging concepts in injury prevention: Climbing Warm-up

This article shows you how to properly warm-up prior to climbing and is based on the latest research. The warm-up is broken into four stages. The first stage is "on the wall" and uses the entire body to generate warmth while mirroring climbing positions. The second stage is "rotation" which uses circular movements to warm-up the joints. There third stage is "upper body" which uses dynamic stretching to warm-up the primary muscles used climbing. The fourth stage is "wrists and fingers" which targets the smallest muscle groups with tendon glides.