Warm Up, Before you Go UP!
So you just got to the rock wall, what is the first thing you do? I’ll give you a minute for pondering. Ok time is up, if your answer was to bust into sporadic dance you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. That was not the answer i was seeking though, I was looking for a warm up. We are going to go over the benefits and science of warming up, and then how to warm up.
Warming up has benefits that help you both in the short term and long term. When the muscle is worked it opens up the capillaries in that area. Resulting in an increase in blood flow throughout the body, letting more oxygen and nutrition delivery. This means your muscles will be able to preform better and recover faster. In loosening that muscle stiffness you increase elasticity which translates to increased flexibility and a decrease in any injuries. A good warm up will also create a little sweat which cools the body.
When warming up you want to target the main muscles you will be using. Rock climbers use just about every muscle so that means a full body engagement warm up. You should set aside 5 – 15 minutes before actually performing any serious climbing. Get a solid routine that you can do both inside and out which can include exercises like jumping jacks, arm circles, push ups, squats, and other easy workouts. You don’t have to use weights but if you do make sure the weight is light (about 1/4 – 1/8) your weight. Also notice if any muscles feel stiffer than others or you don’t feel the same range of motion you normally have. Pay attention to those areas so you make sure warm them up and not over stress them.
If possible integrate foam rolling session to your warm up would engage those stiff muscles and loosen up the myofascial tissue. Traversing can be a solid warm up too. If you are outside the and had to hike to your destination that would act as a solid warm up.
Overall warming up benefits way more than not so include it in your pre-climb routine now. You will help you get better blood flow, increase your range of motion,recover quicker, and aid in preventing injury. For recap try to aim for 5- 15 minutes of light activity that engages the muscles you are going to be using most. Listen to your body to address any areas that may be tighter than others. If you can foam roll or any other type of self myofascial release it would benefit you greatly as well as a warm up.
So you are done Climbing and assuming you done your warm up before that what is next, just pack up and leave? Well if you have gathered all your gear and you haven’t done a cool down routine than you need to cool it. Much like a warm up, cooling down has its’ benefits both long term and short. To share a few with out giving away to much it can make recovery faster, make you more flexible, and aid that after soreness you feel. Check out the “Cool, Cool Importance of Cool Down” article for more.