How to Warm-Up and Stretch Out Before Indoor and Outdoor Rock Climbing
Why Is Stretching Before Climbing Important
Rock climbing requires the body to be quite limber and strong in areas that are not commonly worked out or used day to day. Tendons are stretched and pulled and the shoulders and groin areas in particular need to be warm and ready to bear unusually large amounts of weight. However, with a proper warm up of about 3-7 minutes and some targeted stretching, you can be ready to climb without risking injury. You also reduce your risk of getting long-term injuries like tendonitis or torn ligaments. Hold each stretch and slowly count to 10 or more to get the full benefit.
Warm-Up Before Stretching
Start by warming yourself up by running in place, jumping jacks, and hip twists. Get your blood flowing and your heart rate up prior to doing any stretches. You can also do some small shoulder circles with your arms extended to your sides. Because of the amount of use your shoulders get, make sure you spend a good amount of time prepping them for the workload they will receive. Do not stretch cold muscles, you will risk hurting yourself even more if you do not warm-up first.
Stretch Your Back
Stretch your back muscles by hugging yourself and swinging your arms out wide and back to a hugging formation. You should feel the area between your shoulder blades begin to loosen and warm from the blood flow.
Stretch Your Triceps
Bring one arm over head with your elbow pointing to the sky. Then bring your hand back behind you and try to touch the top of opposite shoulder blade in order to stretch your tricep. You can increase this stretch by gently pushing the tricep just under the elbow towards your back. The tricep is a very large muscle, so make sure it feels loose prior to your climb.
Stretch the Forearms
Next, move your wrists up and down and spread your fingers in and out to begin to loosen up your forearms. Make a tight fist, then spread them out as if to signify the number 5. Do this several times.
Now stretch your forearms by extending your arm out in front of you and pulling your fingers back towards your body. You can perform this stretch once with your wrist facing up and again with the forearm facing down. This will work more muscles in your arm by performing the stretch in both directions.
Stretch Your Hamstrings and Calves
Stand with your legs spread wide. Bend over and gently lean toward one side attempting to pull your head to your calf area. Perform it again in the other direction. Then bring your legs in and stand with your feet side by side. Lean over and attempt to touch your toes.
Stretch your calves by extending one leg out behind you and the other bent 90 degrees in front of you. Switch and perform the stretch on the other side.
Loosen Up the Groin Area
Perform a few body weight squats to loosen your groin area some more. Then sit with your butt on the floor and bring your feet together. Try to place the bottom of your feet against each other and bring them towards your groin. Your knees will be out to each side and you will feel a stretch in the groin area.
Finally, stretch your arms more by hanging on the wall a bit with your hands extended overhead. Gently bring a foot up and stretch by slowly holding yourself in various positions on the wall.
If you need to perform stretching to loosen up specific areas, do so now.
Ease Into More Difficult Moves
Before you begin performing difficult climbs, start with very basic climbs at a slow easy pace. Work your way up to a mid-level climb, and then finally into your peak abilities.
Remember that the more you warm up, the more you will be able to engage your entire body while climbing.