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Dave Bowes Journey back to the World Championships

Starting from the bottom 

Dave Bowes’ recovery is one that will be talked about within the climbing community for years to come, but that doesn’t mean he can step off the gas quite yet. Dave has been working hard to make sure that his ‘bad shoulder’ soon became his ‘better shoulder’.

Dave has been making sure that, like a soldier in the military, he would routinely push himself to the max with his exercises every day to enable him to achieve that podium position in France in September. Dave was issued a precise exercise/rehabilitation plan for his shoulder focussing on specific muscles which consisted of two weighted exercises which would build back the strength in his shoulder at a steady rate. These weights had started on Day 45 after his shoulder surgery where his exercises consisted of Reverse Curls (across the body to work a specific part of the shoulder) and Arm Drops.


Dave, along with bouldering and general climbing based strengthening, would ensure that the exercises were being carried out every day. This determination proved to be working with an increase of 60% or more in the exercises within a matter of 3 weeks. Dave’s shoulder was coping with the strain of all the exercises and showing fantastic results. To Dave’s surprise he hit a stagnant period from days 67 to 70. During this time he was unable to feel any difference to the ease of which he would normally expect to feel while working on the same weight. Dave commented, “I felt that the weights were not getting easier like usual, but staying at the same physical strain. I was no longer able to make gains, as if I’d hit a wall or plateaued.” 

This period of plateauing was something that David had not experienced before and was unsure of what it meant, but his body was trying to tell him something – and he listened. Dave as a result took several days off from the weights for recovery and to ensure that no further injury would be sustained – which is a previous lesson learnt. Over this 10 day period, Dave continued to climb and found his appetite surge as his body was clearly going through a change.

“On day 80 I tried the weights again and found my previous peak weight easy, going from 10kg to 14kg in the same workout session, finding even the 14kg relatively easy. I messaged physiotherapist Phil MacDonald at Sport Therapy Liverpool to ask what was going on. He told me that my body was going through something called ‘Supercompensation’."


Supercompensation is the process “after recovering to a baseline of fitness, if allowed additional rest time, the body will go onto supercompensate (develop additional strength), which is the body’s natural way of being able to prepare to function more efficiently next time.” (FloTrack. 2016).

Following this information from Phil and his new found strength, Dave decided to add additional exercises to maximise the benefits of his workouts. He added Hammer curls initially at 10Kg which then quickly progressed to 18Kg in a matter of days.

This supercompensation period lasted for 7 days allowing Dave to increase his Reverse Curls from 10Kg to 20Kg, an incredible gain of 100%. At this point he felt it unnecessary to increase the weights any further but also noticed he was unable to increase his Arm Drops past 12Kg. This weakness would be something for Dave to mention at his next physio appointment. 

During this time period Dave noticed that he was significantly more fatigued by the end of a session due to the increased weights and extra exercises. This was preventing him from bettering his Sally Up Challenge.

“I decided to rearrange the order of my exercises to: Sally Up Challenge, Hammers, Reverse Curls and finally Arm Drops. I felt that my exercises in this particular order increased my effectiveness and efficiency in building my power and strength. It enabled me to reach a new personal best in the Sally Ups of 2m 31s.”

Dave has made unprecedented gains in his weights exercises, dwarfed only by those made on the climbing wall. He is certainly on a very strong and promising path of success with high hopes for Paris in September.

Activity                             Weights on Day 45                         Weights on Day 86

Reverse Curls                           5Kg                                                       20Kg

Arm Drops                                 5Kg                                                      12Kg

Hammer                                     -Kg                                                       18Kg


Check out Allcord on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and Dave BowesTwitter and Instagram for more updates. Also check out the #championshipchallenge #fightbacktofitness for all of Dave Bowes related posts.

For updates also check out Boot BananasBirchall Blackburn LawClimbskinPranaMetolius and Evolv

Picture provided by Dave Bowes and FloTrack.2016. The Fundementals of Running with Vigilante and Salazar | FloTrack. 

Author: Allcord

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