How To Warm Up For Climbing
It’s important to limber up before any exercise to prevent the risk of injuries, but warming up before climbing can actually help you climb better and discover the skill and finesse you’ve been looking for. Whether you are just getting started or you have hit a level that you just can’t seem to get past, developing the right warm-up techniques will help you progress.
In this blog, we have put together a few fun ways to help get you sufficiently warmed up so you are ready to scale the walls.
Get Your Heart Pumping
Gradually increasing your heart rate acts almost like a warning to your body that your muscles are going to need extra fuel. If you have an approach walk to tackle, great stuff, but if not a short and steady jog on the spot would work, alternatively, you could utilise a skipping rope.
Not only will a skipping rope increase your heart rate but it will also get your limbs moving and help to improve your coordination. You may find it difficult at first but it’s worth persevering with as it is not only effective but fun too.
Star jumps are another alternative warm-up exercise to help increase your heart rate. Done properly they’ll also help to tone the limbs and can be a great stress buster when you need to let off some steam.
Each of these warm-ups can be modified easily to increase or decrease the difficulty depending on what level of fitness you have.
Dynamic stretches are a great way to engage the muscles you are getting ready to use. They help to increase blood flow and literally warm up your muscles so you are ready to perform. Climbing utilises most areas of the body so it’s imperative to warm up each section accordingly.
- Neck rolls: slow circular or semi-circular motions with the head, do at least 5 in both directions to wake up your neck muscles along with your cervical spine and your shoulders.
- Arm swings: swing the arms in a controlled manner, from the shoulders, in wide circular motions. Start one way then change direction and continue for at least 5 rounds on each arm. This works on your shoulders and arms primarily, but also works your upper back and chest.
- Forearm twists: using a light weight, or even a tin of beans if you are just starting out, hold your elbows by your side and your arms out in front and turn your hands from being palm up to palm down. This helps to engage both your upper and lower forearm muscles before they get too pumped on the wall. Repeat this for at least 10 reps per arm and if that seems too easy, increase the weight in your hands.
- Finger stretches: use an elastic band and rest it just below your fingernails, then twist it so it hooks around your thumb, slowly open and close your fingers and thumb, feeling the resistance of the band. Repeat this 10 times on each hand to limber-up the finger muscles, you might also feel this in the forearm muscles too.
- Body twists: Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, twist your upper body as far to the right as you can before twisting as far to the left as you can. Do this at least 5 times on each side to warm up your obliques and your abs.
- Walking lunges: When walking forward, drop your back knee down to a few inches above the ground into a lunge, hold the position for a second or two before stepping forward and repeating with the other leg. Do this at least 5 times for each leg, you should feel it most in your glutes, quads and hamstrings.
- Although it may seem a long list, particularly if you are eager to get on the wall, it shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes out of your time. It will make all the difference to your performance and can help you avoid injury when pushing your limits.
Climb Easy or Traverse
Once you have got your heart pumping and completed your dynamic stretches it’s time to get on the wall. However, before you jump on that problem you are trying to send, climb at your easier levels for 10 minutes or so.
Another great way to do this is by bouldering or traversing before rigging up your climbing gear, try and stay on the wall for most if not all of this time. This will help you avoid getting too pumped on the route you have in mind and help get your mind focused on the task at hand.
About the Author:
Charlotte Fish - Outdoor Expert
Charlotte discovered her passion for the outdoors in her early teens and has never looked back since. Her pursuit of outdoor activities has taken her all over the world but she truly believes there is no place like home.