Without performing a proper warm up, you have a good chance of pulling a muscle which will leave you vulnerable to injury while climbing. The advice we're about to give you remains similar to the tips a professional trainer would recommend for workouts.
This means you shouldn't be surprised to hear that stretching for climbers is essential both before and after a climbing session since it is just as physically demanding as a workout session.
Not only is it important to warm up so that you can get your blood flowing and your body in the zone for physical activity, warming up will have a significant effect on your muscles. In fact, a warm-up will help loosen them up, so pulling and tearing a muscle becomes impossible.
Climbing Warm Up: Stretches For Climbers
Start Off Slow
When warming up to climb it's vital that you start off slow. Getting into things too quickly might tire you out right away, and that's not what you want. Warming up is all about gently guiding your body into a state that is ready to perform physically.
Don't get ahead of yourself and incorporate too much into your warm up, but also don't do absolutely anything. Keep your warm-up moderate, and fine-tuned to your specific needs.
Going too hard can have the adverse effect of what you might want it to. Going too slow however can result in you not being adequately warmed up, but anything is better than nothing.
Incorporate Stretches Into Your Warm-up
Stretches are critical to incorporate into your rock climbing war up because without proper stretching you may find yourself in an uncomfortable situation while climbing.
The last thing you want to do while climbing is pulled or tear a muscle. What stretching will do is help to make sure that your muscles are adequately warmed up enough to deal with the stress and tension that's going to come with climbing.
Make Sure That Your Stretches Are Dynamic
Dynamic stretches involve motion and aren't static. The reason you're going to want to go for dynamic stretches over static stretches is that it's been proven that static stretches can make you weaker going into an exercise.
Stretching your muscles is essential, but you shouldn't forget about your joints. Exercises that are dynamic include windmills with the arms in circles and jumping jacks,m which target your joints as well as muscles. Some more really good exercises for dynamic stretching include squats, torso twists, and straight leg kicks.
Don’t Forget About Your Neck, Fingers, And Shoulders!
The neck, fingers, and shoulders are arguably the most important areas to warm up when it comes to climbing.
Warm Up Fingers
To warm up your fingers, you can start by just wiggling them around. Then you can move on to what’s called finger flicks. Start by holding your hand out in front of you, then make a fist and squeeze hard for one second.
After squeezing hard, flick your fingers outwards, as if you were flicking water off your hand, spread your fingers as wide as you can, and hold for one second. You should repeat that exercise anywhere between 10 to 14 times.
Warm Up Neck
To warm up your neck, start with a proper posture and bring your neck down to your chest for a couple of seconds and hold before returning it to your original position.
Turn your head first to the left, and then to the right. After you've done all of this, you can finish by looking up as far as you can, and then move your head down. Repeat this whole process a couple of times and you're good to go.
Warm Up Shoulders
For your shoulders, you can do something called a shoulder pass. A shoulder pass is done by holding something in your hand like an empty light bar, and bringing it up behind your head and back down slowly to stretch your shoulder.
This can be done without any weight, and you can still stretch the shoulders and spread the muscles out as far as they can go.
Find Something That Works For You
When it comes to your pre-climbing workout routine, it’s good to find something that works best for you. There’s no harm in getting a little specific and doing that little extra thing that you know is going to get you ready to go for your climb.
The thing that you should be looking to do when warming up is to get into the zone where you can perform to the best of your ability. To get into this zone, you need to pinpoint exact rock climbing stretches that will get you to a focused state of mind. Not everything is going to work the same for everyone.
Sure, guides like this one will point you in the right direction, but it's not until you honestly figure out exactly what works right for you that you will be able to capitalize on your bodies potential and get the most out of your climbs.
Getting In That First Lap
Before getting to the real serious climbing, it's always good to open up with a good warm-up lap. This is something you should get into the habit of doing as not only is it a good practice, but this will greatly improve your performance over time.
For your first lap you should try and run through a 5.6 just to get a feel for things, so your body gets into the rhythm of climbing.
After you've done this a couple of times, you might be ready to move on beyond a 5.10, and the 5.6 will undoubtedly seem like a breeze.
Practice makes perfect in almost everything and climbing is no exception. By making sure that you're getting an adequate amount of practice, you're ensuring not only improvement for yourself but a good workout before you're ready for your regular climb.