posted by dpm on 09/03/2013
Presentation: A new climbing specific warm-up that is supported by the latest research evidence and can be performed in less than 10 minutes.
What is static, ballistic and dynamic stretching?
Static stretching is when you hold a single position to achieve a stretch. Common hold times are 30 seconds. An example is bending down to touch your toes and holding.
Ballistic stretching is when you bounce in and out of a position to achieve a stretch. Common hold times are less than a second. An example is bending down to touch your toes and bouncing several times at the bottom of the stretch.
Dynamic stretching is when you smoothly move through a full range of motion spending equal time in each phase of the stretch. An example is bending down to touch your toes while counting to three and coming back up to standing while counting to three.
How to stretch before climbing?
Static stretching is a poor choice: The research shows that statically stretching a muscle before activity impairs muscle strength and leads to decreased performance. There is also evidence that shows that it can actually increase injury rate.
Ballistic stretching is a poor choice: It has been shown in numerous research studies that ballistic stretching is hazardous when used as a warm-up. The rapid nature of the movement activates a reflex in the muscle causing it to contract to protect itself from harm. This can cause micro-tearing of the muscle.
Dynamic stretching is the best choice: Research supports that a sport specific dynamic warm-up is the best way to increase blood flow to the muscles and tendons in the body. This method prepares the body for a specific activity and can help reduce injury rates.
This warm-up is broken down into four stages:
Stage 1. "On The Wall" uses the entire body to generate warmth. It mirrors specific body positions that are used while climbing.
Stage 2: "Rotation" uses rotational movements to warm-up the joints. This often overlooked stage is very important in climbing because of the rotational nature of the sport.
Stage 3: "Upper Body" uses dynamic stretching to warm a primary muscle and its opposing muscle in a single motion.
Stage 4: "Wrist and Fingers" targets the smallest muscle groups with tendon glides.
After this warm-up, climbing two warm-up routes in a range two number grades below your consistent climbing grade is recommended. For example, if you climb 5.10, warm-up on two routes of 5.8.
On The Wall
Flag and Reach: 5 repetitions each side
Start standing upright. Extend your arm and opposite leg as far as possible while balancing on the other leg.
Reverse outside flag and reach: 5 repetitions each side
Start standing upright. While bending your stance leg, extend your opposite arm into the air away from your body and extend the same side leg behind and across the body.
High step and pull: 5 repetitions each side
Flex your hip up toward your chest. Grab your knee and pull it into your chest and then release back down to the floor.
Side lunge with cross body and overhead reach: 5 repetitions each side
Start in a standing position and lunge to the side making sure to toe-out your foot at least 45 degrees in order to open your hip. While lunging, reach the same arm of the bent leg overhead and the opposite arm across the body.
Spiderman: 5 repetitions each direction
Start in a toed-out crouch position with the weight mostly in your heels. Bend forward and place your elbows on the insides of your knees. Perform circular rotations of your hips clockwise and counter clockwise while pressing your elbows outwards into your knees.
Drop knee with same side reach: 5 repetitions each side
Start by facing forward. Lunge to the side while keeping your core engaged. Spin your back leg into the same direction by dropping your knee and reaching your arm up overhead.
Perform the circular movements pictured below clockwise and counter-clockwise five times.
Please note: Ankle and Knee circles are the same motion performed at the same time but are pictured separately.
Shoulder Circles Elbow Circles Wrist Circles
Ankle circles Knee circles Hip circles
Sun Salute: 5 repetitions
Start with your hands in a prayer pose at your chest. Push your palms together and raise your arms up over your head. Reverse you palms to the sky and pull your elbows down towards your hips.
Cross Body Reach: 5 repetitions each side
Swing your arm across your body and press with your opposite hand into your chest. Hold for three seconds. Swing the arm back out away from your body. Hold for three seconds.
Shoulder Blade Taps: 5 repetitions
Reach both hands overhead with your elbows bent and tap your shoulder blades. Hold for three seconds. Straighten your elbows into the air and reverse the position by reaching your arms behind you. Hold for three seconds.
Wrist and Fingers
Wrist Tendon Glides: 10 repetitions
Start with your wrist flexed forward and your elbow bent. Straighten your elbow and simultaneously extend your wrist backwards.
Finger Tendon Glides: 10 repetitions with three second hold
A. Start with a straight hand. B. Slowly crimp your fingers into a hook fist, making sure that your knuckles stay aligned with your wrist. C. Roll your fingers down into a full fist. D. Transition into a flat fist. Focus on your ability to maximally close each position.
Special Thanks to Stephen Grosserode for all photography
About the author: Dr. Jared Vagy is a Physical Therapist and an authority on climbing related injuries. He received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California. He is board certified as an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist from the American Physical Therapy Association and is board certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He has ten years of climbing experience and has climbed all over the world. Climbing and injury prevention are his passions and he is committed to combining the two.
You can visit him at: www.DoctorVagy.com