Climbing utilizes every part of the body, which means that full-body stretching and strengthening is crucial to sending those harder routes. Side bodies extend, the spine moves in all directions, hips are a complete game changer when it comes to technique, and shoulders take on a lot through power moves. By complimenting your climbing routine with a smart yoga practice, you can prevent injury and feel better on the rock!
Start by warming up with 3 slow and controlled sun salutations focusing on your breath to movement. Pause in Downward Facing Dog after your third go.
1. Seated Side Bend
From Downward Facing Dog, come down into a comfortable seat. Feeling the spine long as you sit tall and well, inhale to sweep the arms up and overhead. Exhale to drop right finger tips to the right as you reach long through the left side body. Keep the left upper chest spiraling towards the sky as the shoulders slide down the back. Take 5 deep breaths, and then switch sides.
2. Cat Cow
From your seat roll over the knees coming into a table top position. Wrists stack under the shoulders, and hips stack over the knees. Inhale to drop the belly, lift the chest, and peel the shoulders back as the crown of the head & tip of the tailbone reach toward the sky - Cow Pose. Exhale to round into the lower back, middle back, upper back, sending the back of the heart toward the sky - Cat Pose. Continue moving between these two poses to the rhythm of your own breath as you warm up through the spine.
3. Intense Shoulder Stretch
From a neutral table top position, shift forward onto your belly. Keep the left palm underneath the left shoulder as you extend the right arm directly out from the right shoulder. Pressing into the left palm, roll back onto the right shoulder any amount. Bend the left knee stamping the left foot behind the right knee. Breath deep into the right shoulder here. This can be intense (hence the name), so back off when you need. Switch sides.
4. Lizard Lunge with Bind
On your belly, bring both hands underneath your shoulders. Curl the back toes under as you press up and back into Downward Facing Dog. From here, inhale the right leg straight up and back into 3-legged dog. Exhale to step the right foot outside of the right hand. Lower down onto the back knee as you sink the hips low. Take 5 deep breaths here.
Option for the Bind: Bend the back knee looking to catch the foot with the right hand. Open up the chest as you lean back, kicking into the hand as much as the hand is pulling on the foot.
Return back to Downward Facing Dog, and switch sides.
5. Warrior 2
From Downward Facing Dog, inhale to reach right leg up and back into 3-legged dog. Exhale step the right foot through between the hands. Pivot the sole of the back foot down so the toes are facing the left side of the mat. Inhale to windmill up to Warrior 2. As you sink into the front knee see that the knee tracks over the middle toe. Square the hips and shoulders off toward the left side of your mat as you lift the chest and relax the shoulders down the back. Take 5 deep breaths here. Exhale to windmill down framing the front foot once again, then step back to Downward Facing Dog. Switch sides.
6. Boat Pose
Lower down onto a seat with your legs bent in front of you. Lift the shins, finding them parallel with the earth. Your hands can stay hugging the backs of the knees or lifted straight out in front. Whatever you choose, lift through the center of the chest as you descend the shoulders down the back. Spine stays long as you breathe steady for 5 full breaths.
7. Pigeon Pose
Make your way into table top. Bring your right knee behind your right wrist and your right ankle behind your left wrist, resting your shin against the mat. Extend the left heel straight back from the left hip. Place a blanket, pillow, or block (whatever you have) underneath the right hip if it isn’t securely supported on the earth. Inhale to walk your hands to your hips opening up through the front body, and as you exhale lengthen the front body forward and down resting your head on the earth or a prop. Breathe deep into the right hip for 10 slow breaths. Come back into table top before switching sides.
Now, get out there and climb harder!