Q:

What are the best stretches for rock climbers?

My pre-climb warm-up feels unstructured. Are there any stretches I can do to be a better climber?

Nov 15, 2011
Outside
Outside Magazine
Bouldering

Bouldering    Photo:JSwieringa/Flickr

A:

Mobility through the hips, back, and shoulders is crucial for rock climbing. It’s what allows your body to get in the proper position to push and pull your way up. Include these three moves in your pre-climb routine:

Overhead “Face-the-Wall” Squat
Benefits:
Improves your hip and spine mobility, and helps build total-body stability and control.

How to do it: Stand facing a wall (or a rock or tree if you’re at the mountain) with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes about an inch from the wall. Rotate your legs so your toes are facing out to 45 degrees. Lift your arms straight overhead. Without your face touching the wall, drop your hips back and down while keeping your heels on the ground. Lower your body until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor, and then press back up. Repeat for 4 to 6 repetitions.

Floor Posture Slide
Benefits:
Works on spine and shoulder mobility while training the stabilizing muscles of your shoulders.

How to do it: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet together flat on the floor. Place your arms straight out to your sides with your elbows bent to 90 degrees. Keeping your lower back on the ground, slide your arms above your head while straightening your elbows until your biceps are beside your ears. Do 4 to 6 reps. (Click here to watch a video of the move.)

Lateral Squat with Overhead Reach
Benefits:
 Improves your hip and shoulder mobility.

How to do it: Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed straight ahead. Keeping your chest up, shift your hips down and to one side by bending one knee and keeping the other straight. At the same time, reach the hand of the side you are shifting your weight toward over your head. Return to the starting position by pushing through your hip. Repeat the move in the opposite direction. Complete 4 to 6 reps in each direction.

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