I'm sure you're getting a little tired hearing about the Coronavirus by now. Don't worry, we won’t dwell on this subject. We’ll leave that to the experts. What we will be talking about, however, is how you can stay active when climbing clubs are closed or when you’re isolated in your home. Instead of crying about it, we can utilize this extra time on our hands to focus on how to improve ourselves - both physically and mentally!
This is part one of two blog posts about "How to Stay Active During Corona". For Part two - The outdoor version - click here.
As we’re all cooped up in our homes, practicing social distancing, you might find that you really need physical activity to maintain not only your physical but also your mental well-being. For most places, it’s still okay to outside for a climb, but some places also have restrictions by now. In Denmark, we certainly don’t have mountains in our backyards. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple and practical ways to keep active in your own home, to slow the rate of COVID-19’s spread.
Eat, move, sleep – repeat
Let’s start by stating the basics – The worst thing you can do to your physical and mental health right now is to snack up on the couch until 4 AM when you might have to get a couple of hours of sleep. Instead, try to stay in your normal routine. Go to bed in a proper time and set your alarm for the next morning, and even though you don’t have to get up right away, try thinking about how important a healthy lifestyle is right now. According to Health24 getting less than the recommended amount of sleep is not just detrimental to your physical health, but for your mental health as well and lack of sleep can directly affect your immune system. Also, the World Health Organization advises us all to maintain a healthy lifestyle to avoid the virus - including a proper diet, sleep, and regular exercise.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) eating healthy, well-balanced meals and exercising regularly, are great things you can do to support yourself.
Indoor – Table training
Stefano Ghisolfi – Italian climber and YouTuber
Watch a YouTube video of the exercise: here
As you might already know, you’re just a few clicks away from loads of available YouTube videos of home workouts. But you and I both know that the plank and HIT training just aren’t going to cut it for us climbers. If you aren’t so lucky as to have a climbing wall in your home or a mountain in your backyard, these times of isolation, might challenge your training a bit. But don’t fret. There are plenty of things in your house you can use to your advantage. Don’t have a hangboard? That’s okay! The Italian climber Stefano Ghisolfi has shown us a great way to utilize just a normal dining table.
Warmup, now hang down
Instead of sitting by the table, now it’s time for you to hang underneath it. Start out with a little warm-up as per usual, just to get the blood flowing and wake up your body a bit. Now place one hand on one end of the table, and the other hand on the side of the table. Get one foot on top of the table and start moving around underneath the table.
For both your core, fingers, and legs
For the next exercise, you’ll need a normal chair. Hang underneath the table with straight arms, having your feet on the chair, on the other side of the table. Now start shifting your feet to the sides in a slow paste. 8 shifts on each side. Another exercise for your hands, arms, and core, is to hang with your arms straight underneath the table and whenever you’re ready, lift your whole body weight and hold it straight in the air for as many seconds as you can.
Finger training for the experienced climber
For extra finger strength training repeat the last exercise gipping only with the tips of your fingers, supporting on your heels for 10 seconds at the time. To spice it up, try this exercise only with three fingers per hand. Try to shift between the front threes and back threes. If this exercise is too hard for you, you can always support your body weight with pillows underneath you. If you feel like a little more, try doing the exercise with only two fingers.
If you feel like finding some more of these exercises, try exploring the hashtag #tablechallenge on social media.
Don't hurt yourself!
Be aware that you need to have a table that can support your body weight. If you live together with someone, you can ask them to sit on top of the table while you’re doing these exercises. The last table exercise is to grab the legs of the table horizontally, laying on your back. Grab close to the tabletop with both your hands. Now lift your body for as long as you can and repeat as many times as you feel like. And yes, maybe your roommate will give you the same look as Downey Jr. here, but trust me, you’ll activate all of the same muscles as you normally use when climbing. They’re probably just jealous of your creativity, so high five from us to you for making an effort!
A 30-day Yoga Challenge with Adriene - “HOME”
Here’s a personal favorite of mine. Climbing requires a lot of both balance and body control and yoga is a great way to practice that. However, some of the ways that yoga can most positively impact climbers are often overlooked and underestimated. Actually the structural stabilization, proprioception, and use of breath practiced in yoga can be even more beneficial for climbers than just gaining flexibility, balance, and control.
I’m on day 7 of the 30 Day Yoga Challenge with Adriene now, and this definitely gets my warmest recommendations. All you need for this challenge are some comfy clothes, a mat or a blanket and you’re ready to hop on the home yoga express. “HOME” is totally free. No catch. No trial run. It’s is a real opportunity to gift yourself with something special. An experience that could just change the course, transform your body, balance your brain, and heal your heart. It’s created for the complete beginner to the advanced.
“This is designed for us. All of us. To come together as we are. To uncover aspects of ourselves that are already within and celebrate who we really are. Trust me, trust yourself, the map is already within you. Prepare to work hard, get strong, find ease, and have fun!”
The benefits of yoga for climbers, go far beyond flexibility
I've done yoga for quite some time now, and I can really feel the difference when I'm on the wall. I have much more control over my movements, I'm more flexible and my balance has improved considerably. Flexibility helps us move through tricky sequences with creative footwork and keeps our bodies close to the wall, allowing us to climb nimbly and efficiently. By training and Improving our body control and balance continuously through our lives, will keep us in great shape both off an on the wall.
A mental boost
We’re all a bit on edge right now. We worry more than we usually do and we could all use a little break, even if it's just for 20 minutes, it'll be worth it. Take the time to let Adriane guide you through some breathing exercises or just listen to some calming yoga music, while you connect with your body and mind. On Adriene's YouTube channel there are all kinds of different targeted yoga practices. Here are some of my favorites for the time being:
Coronavirus Home Workout - Rebalance and Rebuild Your Body
Last but not least, to add something a bit more high paced and to get that pulse up, here's a 10-minute full-body workout specifically for climbers. Enjoy!
Movement for Climbers
"In the past year I’ve grown into a better climber, but I’ll also admit that I’ve declined as an athlete. Becoming focused on one sport has drawn my attention away from the things that got me here. Now, with this sudden abundance of time, I hope to reconnect with some familiar movement patterns. This video will go over a workout you can do at home with minimal equipment. The aim is to improve full body strength and mobility. That way, when this is over, we can return to the climbing gym as better functioning, well-balanced athletes."
About the author
Digital Marketing Manager & Boulder
As Gubbies Digital Marketing Manager, it's Julie's job to keep up with the freshest information from the climbing world and communicate them to you. Have any questions about anything she writes? Don't hesitate to reach out! She can't wait to share her climbing-geekiness with you!