Warming up has two objectives: getting the body ready for an effort and reducing the chance of getting injured. It is essential to include it in any indoor or outdoor session, regardless of your age or perceived physical fitness.
Getting ready: A good warm up will increase body temperature, increase neural activation, warm up the joints and get the nerves ready to go. The improvement in fitness, efficiency and precision is obvious if has been done properly.
Avoiding injury: If you’ve been sitting all day and try to jump on a hard boulder problem right away, you might seriously damage a muscle, tendon, ligament or joint. Warming up will prevent muscle and soft tissue tears or overstrain on tendons and ligaments.
Warming up prepares the body for more strenuous activity by increasing the body’s core and muscles temperature which means you’re helping to make the muscles loose, supple and pliable. It also increases both your heart rate and your respiratory rate. This increases blood flow, which in turn increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles. All this helps to prepare the muscles, tendons and joints for more strenuous activity.
Yes you should. Stretching is a critical part of the warm up as it is extremely beneficial for…flexibility! It also prepares the tendons and muscles for strenuous movements.
Static stretching usually means holding a pose for more than 20-30 seconds. Recent sports science research shows that this form of stretching could decrease muscle output and it is thus not recommended as part of a routine warm up. However short static stretching (less than 10s) should be part of any warm up.
Dynamic stretching involves a controlled, soft bounce or swinging motion to move a particular body part to the limit of its range of movement. The force of the bounce or swing is gradually increased but should never become radical or uncontrolled. Dynamic stretching with rotational movements offers more benefit to muscles by adding an element of momentum to flexibility and by simulating the types of strain muscles undergo while climbing. However is it also more dangerous and should always be performed after a good level of flexibility has been established.