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Make or Break


Make or Break  (Don't Let Climbing Injuries Dictate your Success)

ISBN: 978-0-9564281-3-4

Written by: Dave MacLeod

Published by: Rare Breed Productions

Reviewed by: Steve Crowe



Make or Break by Dave MacLeod is as much for healthy climbers who wish to avoid injury as for those who have already succumbed to an injury. Within the 226 pages it explains how to stay healthy by avoiding the causes of sport injuries. The book uses 29 illustrations and 68 photographs to provide a very detailed understanding of movement demands and the risks of repeated stresses that a climbers body may endure before explaining the many exercises that should help you to recover. Dave's advice is “Don't let climbing injuries dictate your success.”

Dave MacLeod is a professional rock climber based in the Highland of Scotland. He has gained a Bsc in Physiology and Sport Science and an MSc in Medicine and Science in Sport & Exercise. Dave states quite clearly in his introduction that this is not a medical book and he neither a Doctor or a Physiotherapist. The information in Make or Break is all based on observing climbers and reading the research of others. The information is presented to give you a fuller understanding of how injuries may be prevented and treated. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice rather it is intended to help you better understand that advice. Dave is keen to point out that new research may change the opinions and advice, and he is happy to be contacted through his website and blog at www.davemacleod.com.

As soon as Make or Break arrived I made a cup of tea, sat down and eagerly turned to section 10 “The Shoulder” hoping for some sage advice on how to fix my sore shoulder and get back climbing ASAP. Chapter 10 starts “If you are reading this section having suffered an injury, STOP. First, go and book yourself a session with the finest sports medical doctor or the best physiotherapist you can find ...” Once booked in you can continue reading so that you can best understand their advice. Furthermore in Section Three I learnt that poor posture and various muscle imbalances can soon lead to problems with the rotator cuff muscles especially when reaching overhead (which is exactly why I am sat in this chair now waiting for my Physio appointment). Dave explains that while sports medicine is very good at treating the symptoms of a climbing related injury, this book strives to help you understand better how the injury was caused in the first place and how to prevent it happening again by asking “ Why could this area have become weaker or prone to injury in the first place, what was really the cause?” Chapter three goes on to focus on removing the causes of injury by improving form and technique.

Next I turned to Section One where I found that Dave discusses “Why the treatments you have tried aren't working and what to do about it.” He goes on to explain the injury is a sign that once recovered you will need to change your climbing routine and improve your technique. So with a positive attitude being injured need not be the end but rather a new beginning. There is no reason why you should not recover to come back a stronger and better climber so there is hope and I need that right now! I found Section 5 particularly interesting where Dave discusses in some detail the psychology of dealing with injuries and the negative feelings encountered during rehab. In his opinion the motivation to complete the numerous reps of some mind numbing exercises comes from focusing on coming back stronger and wise than before.

In Sections 7 to 11 Dave finds an interesting way to discuss in detail all the most common climbing injuries from Fingers, Wrists, Elbows, Shoulders to the Lower Limbs and explains the many exercises that may help you recover. The key to successful rehabilitation is carefully following the demonstrated form and completing all the required reps at the frequency stated. Simple.

Section 6 is aimed at the unique problems encountered by enthusiastic young climbers. The two main problems they encounter is that their rapidly growing skeleton and also their tendons and ligaments take a long time to adapt. Listen to your body and report any pain immediately to your parents coaches and mentors.

Having read from the middle to the beginning, I finally made it to the end. I would suggest that the best place to start reading Make or Break is the last part of the final section. Once you have read “The Authors Tales of Woe and Hope” on page 198 you will begin to understand the basis for this excellent book. “You should not feel isolated or excluded by injury. Quite the opposite. By carefully following the principles laid out in this book you can not only maximise the effects of the body's ability to heal and regenerate, but enjoy the process of doing so” Dave MacLeod. To quote Wolfgang Gullich “Getting strong is easy. Getting strong without getting injured is hard” Make or Break will help you take control over how long and how far you can push your body in climbing without it falling apart. I would recommend that you read this book before you get injured.


You can find out more information about Make or Break and buy a copy for only £29 directly from Dave MacLeod through his website and blog at www.davemacleod.com.



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