“What’s the big deal with yoga for climbers? Can’t I just climb more to get better?” We hear this a lot, and we get it—if you love climbing, it makes sense that the one way to get better is to practice it regularly. A lot of articles around the internet will tell you how and why yoga is important. We wanted to show you how adding a regular yoga routine to your schedule (find your gym and check out their upcoming class calendar) will give you the balance, strength, and coordination you’ll need to make snagging your next climbing goal a little easier.
If you’re guilty of climbing one “easy” route, jumping on your project once or twice and then heading home, this blog is for you. Warming up gets the blood flowing and raises your body's temperature. It's critical to preventing injury, increasing mental focus, and getting the body primed for producing force to try hard. Conversely, what you do AFTER climbing can be just as important as your warm-up before. An effective cool-down routine releases the muscles, slows your breath, and jumpstarts the recovery process.
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A pistol squat is an exercise that is very easy to explain, but hard for most people to do. From a standing position, shift your weight to one leg while the other leg shoots forward. From there, you squat down, bringing your tailbone to your heel and then stand up from a seated or squat position, again only using one leg. Pistol squats are great for increasing leg strength and improving balance, which means they really give you a leg up in your climbing.
Climbing requires a lot of overhead shoulder and arm movement and can put quite a bit of stress on the shoulders. All of this strain can lead to injuries ranging from minor muscle tweaks to major tendon tears. The good news is there are a few very effective exercises that strengthen the shoulder and prevent injuries.
From weight shifting on a slabby route, to long approaches or summer hikes, to everything in between, the legs are the powerhouse of climbing. We talked to Francy at our Englewood gym in Colorado. She is one of the personal trainers there and teaches a weekly Ski Fit class, so we figured that if anyone could recommend a thorough workout to strengthen their bottom half, it would be her 😆. Enjoy!
Fun fact: some of the largest muscles in your entire body surround the hip, which means your hips can produce quite a bit of power and force! You use your hips a lot to go up and down steps, to walk, to run, and to jump. In climbing, hip strength and stability help you step up onto really high footholds. Your hips also allow you to generate power for a jump motion, say for a dynamic move. They’re also incredibly important for helping to keep your trunk or pelvis closer to the wall when you're climbing on steep terrain on overhanging routes.
When one thinks of areas of your body to strengthen and stabilize, many focus on shoulders, hips, etc, but strong ankles are an incredibly important foundation for many of the movements we make with our bodies. Lack of strength or stability in the ankles can lead to instability or overcompensation in the knees or hips, which can lead to bad running technique and climbing technique. Think about it, weak ankles make standing on small holds difficult, which makes controlling your body position harder to control. So let’s strengthen those ankles! We’ve got three warmups and three exercises that help improve ankle strength and ensure that your ankles are strong and stable for activity and use down the road.
Foam rolling is a type of myofascial release. Fascia are the connective tissue surrounding your muscles and over time, fascia can become unhealthy due to overuse or injury. The goal of foam rolling is to try to release tension in your muscles and fascia. Foam rolling stretches and loosens the muscles and connective tissue in the area being rolled, releasing tightness and tension that has built up from use or stress.
Most Americans typically give up on their new year’s resolutions two weeks into every new year. Climbers seem to be a different breed. If I’ve noticed anything at Movement Englewood over the last few weeks, it’s a committed focus towards crushing your climbing goals this year. Conversations I’ve overheard in the last week: “I’ve kind of plateaued in my climbing over the last year. I really want to break into the next number grade” “There’s this bouldering project I’ve been eyeing on Mountain Project, but it feels WAY out of my pay grade.” “I’ve only been climbing for a few months, but I’m so stoked. I can’t wait to see what I’m climbing by the end of the year!”