Training and Dietary Influence on Connective Tissue Adaptations and Injury Risk

Training and Dietary Influence on Connective Tissue Adaptations and Injury Risk

Climbing is a great activity for the heart and soul, but it can be hard on the body.

Many passionate climbers come to suffer from chronic tendon and joint pain, recurrent finger pulley tweaks, elbow tendinosis, shoulder pain, or worse.

Over-enthusiastic training, too few rest days, and chronic protein deficiency are common contributing factors among frequently injured climbers. (Other important factors include age, sex, genetics, loading history, smoking, and medications.) Decreasing collagen quality in the highly stresses tissues (red line) sets the stage for injury. This manifests in some runners as Plantar fasciitis and stress fractures, whereas in climbers it commonly reveals as elbow tendinosis and finger pulley tweaks. 

collagen changes as a result of training and nutrition

Conversely, seldom injured climbers engage in appropriate high-intensity training followed by sufficient rest and low-load training, while consuming adequate protein to support net collagen synthesis and long-term remodeling. These climbers develop stronger tendons season over season, and they have a good chance to advance their climbing ability.

The bottom line: It's essential to recognize the ongoing battle of collagen breakdown versus collagen synthesis in the most highly stresses connective tissues (fingers, arms, shoulders, torso, and knees). As shown in the diagram below, you can tip the scales in your favor (to "net synthesis") by optimizing your training load, volume, rest, and daily protein intake.

net collagen synthesis as a result of training

Consuming a nutritious diet is the lynchpin of the process and, in particular, it's essential to consume 1.2 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day.

The primary building blocks of connective tissues are the collagen-specific amino acids (glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline) found in highest amounts in animal meat, bone broth, and collagen supplements. Finding them in plant sources is difficult, however, and so athletes who consume little or no meat are more likely to be deficient in these collagen-specific amino acids. Might this predispose plant-based athletes to a higher rate of connective tissue injuries? (Anecdotal evidence says "yes".)

The Value of Supplemental Protein

Hard-training strength-to-weight ratio athletes, wanting to reduce injury risk and accelerate recovery, may benefit from consuming supplement protein in order to meet their 80 to 120 grams of protein per day requirement. PhysiVāntage Weapons-Grade Whey or plant-based Powerplex Complex provide an excellent amino acid spectrum for accelerating muscle recovery and strength gain.

As for connective tissue remodeling and recovery, Supercharged Collagen is the proven solution according to thousands of PhysiVāntage users. Daily consumptionideally pre-workoutcan be remarkably effective at supporting net positive collagen synthesis.

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