Warm up

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.

Why Should I warm up?

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.

What happens when I warm up?

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.

What's the difference between a general and a specific warm up?

  • A general warm up  – or cardiovascular  or aerobic – is any light physical activity such as active walking, running, cycling etc that will increase the heart rate.
  • A specific warm up is any exercise that will prepare the body for the specific demands of rock climbings.
Should I stretch and what are dynamic and static stretches?

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.

What is a typical warm up structure?

  1. General warm up (5-10min)
  2. Static stretches (3-5min)
  3. Specific warm up (5-10min)
  4. Dynamic stretches (3-5min)
  5. Easy climbing on traverse or significantly easier grades than your max level. (5-10min)
  • Try running, active walking or cycling to your gym or crag. Doing this will kick-start your warm up.
  • If you can’t do any of the above try rope jumping for 3-5min.
  • When warming up start from the top of the body and work your way to the bottom.
  • Gently increase the level of intensity.
  • Take it slow, focus on breathing and perfect form of movements.
  • You will not reduce you day’s performance by doing an intensive warm-up, quite the opposite in fact.
  • The key is to find YOUR routine, the ritual that fits you most and that you enjoy doing.

warm-up routines

A boulderer's favourite. Quick and efficient.

Too short but maybe you're that's all you need?

A lazy but efficient off-the-wall warm up routine for shorter and less intense sessions.

The most common warm-up for climbing out there. Include it in your sessions and you will see significant improvements.

Full warm up for climbing. Do this if you have enough time.

The Yoga Warm Up
30min Easy

Will get you into the mood for hard projects.

A straightforward warm up geared toward indoor bouldering performance.

A specific 5min warm up routine focusing on fingers, wrist and elbows. Great to complement a general warm up.

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