Climbing has proved how varied it is - a mixture of physical strength and technique. This sport is fairly complex since each route varies from another. There are multiple climbing systems to grade its difficulty implying its wide range. That being said, flexibility is one of the very important aspects so that you can be physically flexible to do the required moves and literally flexible to adjust to each climb. Keeping your joints loose will allow you to do a wider array of movements. Climbing is quite specific in a way that pure flexibility in not always enough as you also have to have active mobility. Being flexible to put your foot up is one thing, the other is to be able to use the foot with strength while this extreme position is reached.
When you stretch prior to training, there are essential body parts that need to be warmed up so that you move efficiently. A stiff hip can limit your twisting capabilities, a dead knee may not be able to backstep or drop enough, and a stiff inner thigh can make you unable to do a high step. Moreover, reaching for far away holds is a measure of balance and grace. It’s a test of how you keep your center of gravity well-positioned so that each movement is strong yet precise. Being warmed up and flexible will also get you center of gravity closer to the wall, so that the actual climbing movement becomes less physical and thus easier to do.
Here are some stretches that you can practice before and after your training, making you warm and ready for your next climb.
1. One-legged pigeon pose
This pose is known to stretch your hamstrings and hip flexors, which are usually tight from sitting too often. This also allows you to perform that high step which is often needed for any harder boulders and rope climbs.
Those arms need some loosening before any climbing session. Start off slow by rotating the limbs clockwise for a few rounds, then counterclockwise to balance out the stretch. Start with small circles and make them gradually bigger. While doing circles, start with your thumb pointing up, then down. Do that with your palms as well: palm up, palm down.
3. Walking lunge
Start off by standing straight, then step with your right leg forward. Make sure your movement is controlled and slow while you lower your hips down towards the floor. Both knees should end up at 90-degree angles. Your front knee should be aligned to your ankle, verticcaly and also horizontally. Do not put your knee in front of your ankle. Do the same on the other side. 10-20 steps for each leg.
4. Leg swings
This stretch loosens up hamstrings and hip flexors. With the leg swings, you warm up your joints and muscles that help increase the range of movement and activate mobility as well. Keep your hip straight and don't move it during the entire range of motion. Twisting the core and hip limits the stretching effect.
5. Sumo squat with a twist
Squat down as low as you can, but make sure your back is straight. Your hips should be as open as possible. Then put your hands on your knees, and twist your body so that your shoulder dips down. This move allows you to stretch your shoulders and thighs simultaneously.
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