Formula for a great climbing dayA good night’s rest, plenty of snacks and water, and supportive friends. But professional climber and yoga teacher Heidi Wirts, a trainer for climbing Online Climbers Yoga CourseHe thinks we should also add some stretch to both sides of the climb day. Here, she guides us through her routine, which includes dynamic warm-up moves and longer recovery poses.
Warm-up: dynamic stretches
These quick movements warm up the body in a “healthy way,” without straining your muscles by moving you into deeper exercises too soon. “Your body quickly takes you through the range of motion you would be doing on rocks,” Wirtz says. She adds that dynamic stretching stimulates blood flow to muscles, tendons and ligaments — a key to preventing injuries. Before you start climbing, Wirtz recommends doing some of these exercises:
5 dynamic stretches for climbers
Stand with your arms outstretched in front of your body, kick one of your feet to meet the opposite hand, and alternate.
Move your arms back until your elbows move toward level with your shoulders, then swing them back and forth and forward.
From a standing position, claw your arms: bring them straight to the side, elbows level with shoulders and bend to 90 degrees, hands raised forward. Now let your hands drop forward while keeping your elbows elevated, then rotate them back to the starting position.
While standing, kick your heels toward your opposite hand in front of you, and switch. Then, try this same movement behind you.
Move your fingers as if you were drying them.
Calming down: Long, restorative poses
Keep these stretches on until the end of your gym session or yelling at a day out. Restorative stretches, as the name implies, help muscles recover. It also improves flexibility. For climbers, Wirtz says some of the important areas to focus on are the chest, back, hips, hamstrings, and forearms. Here are some asanas that focus on muscle climbing:
5 Cooling Extensions for Rock Climbers
Extend your fingers and forearms over the climbing wall by pressing your palms against the wall while standing, fingers pointing down. Try it with your fingers, too.
Lie on your back, with a rolled-up blanket, block, or climbing helmet under you in the middle of your back. Let your arms fall at your sides to open your chest muscles.
From a seated position, extend one leg and cross your other ankle over the leg extended leg; Fold forward to extend the hips.
Lie on your back and let your knees fall to one side to twist the spine, then rotate to the other side. To intensify, keep one leg straight, bend the other with the foot flat on the floor, and then pull the bent leg across the straight leg. Aim to keep your other arm and shoulder on the ground.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet back toward your hips to stretch your quad muscles – padded champion pose. If this is too severe for you or if you feel pain in your knees, use a lower back block or blanket to reduce the severity. Or try doing the pose with one back at a time.
Wirtz says a vigorous stretching routine helps climbers warm up, have flexibility, focus on the wall, and recover. It should be an integral part of every climbing day.
Are you ready to add yoga to your routine? Join Wirtz in it yoga for climbers An online course, learn how yoga can benefit you – on and off the rock.
Special thanks to Caroline Mooney for showing off these lengths. See more of Caroline’s modeling work on her Instagram account: Tweet embed