The easiest way for the climbers to improve your climbing isn’t to weight training, campus classes, or hangers. Just do yoga. Flexibility helps you handle challenging sequences with creative footwork and keeps your body close to the wall for agile and efficient climbs. Now let’s have a look at some of the best climbers in the world. Adam Ondra can bend his knees seemingly inhumanly, Margot Hayes can hang his heels overhead, and Alex Megos can split completely against walls.
What are the benefits of yoga for climbers?
But the benefits of yoga go far beyond flexibility. “This practice also improves strength, body awareness, balance and breathing,” says professional climber and yogi Mina Leslie Wujastic. They completed a 200-hour teacher training course at the Trimurti Yoga School in India. Yoga also helps prevent injuries by correcting muscle imbalances and increasing functional range of motion and joint stability.
You don’t need crazy hand balancing to call yourself yoga, and you don’t need expensive classes to reap the benefits. Simple daily activities at home are enough. The routine below, adapted from Leslie Wujastyk’s Yoga Climbing Workshop at Arc’teryx Alpine Academy 2019 is easy to do on your own and takes about 20-30 minutes.
Vinyasastira practice of synchronizing breathing and movement and flowing from one position to another. Do whatever you want. Do it every day, mix and match your favorite poses, or use steam to warm up or cool down.
Cow Pose (Bitilasana) and Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)
Role: Gently warm your back, spine, and neck and tighten your forearms.
Method: Begin by sitting at a table with your wrists below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Spread your fingertips apart and press down on the rug with your palms. As Leslie Wujastik says, “climbers tend to take the clawed hand position because their forearms are tight, so they try to keep their fingers flat on the ground.” “It’s better for your wrist and stretches well from your fingers to your forearms.”
Exhale, look forward, let your belly drop down, and lift your tailbone, bending your spine down (cow position). Then, lower your head and neck as you exhale, reveal your tailbone, and arch your spine (Cat Pose). Repeat three more times.
On the last exhale, squeeze your toes and lift your knees and hips, so the dog faces down.
Face Down Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Role: Stretches the calves, hamstrings, and shoulders as well as the arch of the foot.
Method: Continuing the previous pose, raise your tailbone toward the roof of your mouth, straighten your arms, and drop your shoulders until you form an inverted V. Bend your knees until comfortable, especially if your hamstrings are stiff. The head remains parallel to the arms, and the spine extends to the neck. Breathe deeply as you rotate your heels up and down to warm up and stretch your calves and hamstrings.
When ready, increase the stretch by squeezing your shoulders, buttocks, and heels toward the ground as you exhale. Take three deep breaths in this position. Then, if necessary, with your knees bent, slowly approach your arms into a forward bent standing position.
Standing Forward Bend (Utanasana)
Purpose: To lengthen the spine and stretch the calves, hamstrings, and lower back.
Method: When your foot touches your arm, release your arm, cross your arms, and grab the opposite elbow. Press your heels firmly on the ground and lift your tailbone into the sky. Relax your spine, stretch your torso, and let your head hang freely. Keep your knees bent as much as you need to feel comfortable. Take three deep, slow breaths.
With each exhalation, dive deeper into the stretch. On the next breath, stand up and raise your arms to the sides, palms together over your head, and reach towards the sky. Then exhale and spread your arms to the sides.
Tree Pose (Vrkasana)
Role: Improves balance and stretches the groin, chest, and shoulders.
How to do it: Press your left leg down and find the solid central base. Lift your right leg and press it against your left ankle with your toes still on the ground, or your foot should rest on your left shin or at left thigh level (but not directly in front of your knee joint). If your thighs feel too high, move to a lower position. The higher the foot, the firmer it is. Once you have found your balance, place your hands on your chest and bring your palms together. Move the scapula back and forth. Lengthens the spine.
When you feel secure, raise your arms overhead and reach toward the sky. Bring your awareness back to breathing. Inhale and exhale three times deeply. Lower your arms to the sides, release your raised legs, and return to the neutral standing position on your last exhalation. Repeat with the other leg.
Garland Pose (Malasana)
Purpose: To straighten the groin and improve ankle mobility.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend your toes slightly outward.
- Bring your palms together to your chest and take a deep inhale, then exhale as you squat as comfortably as possible (don’t worry if your heels are raised).
- Press your elbows against the inside of your thighs to open your hips and enhance the stretch.
- Sit down on the rug and take a few deep breaths.
Butterfly Pose (Badhakonasana)
Purpose: Opens the hips and stretches the inner thighs. Leslie Wujastik says that the harness is useful for climbing because it brings the center of gravity (hips) closer to the wall.
- Sit on a mat, bringing your feet together in front of you, aligning them in the center, and letting your knees drop to the sides.
- Breathe in.
- Think of how to fold the spine from the tailbone to the neck.
- As you exhale, relax your hips and use your gluteal muscles to relax the muscles that lead your legs on the inside of your thighs and pull your knees to the ground.
- For an additional stretch, move away from your hips and tilt your torso forward over your feet.
- Take a few deep breaths and go deeper into the stretch with each exhalation.
Boat Pose (Paripurna Navasana)
Purpose: To strengthen the muscles of the abdominal and hip joints, to train balance and concentration. As Leslie Wujastik said, “Small shells are always good for climbing.”
- Sit with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, swinging on a “tripod” formed between your ischium and your tailbone, then lift your heels off the ground.
- Make sure your spine is long and your chest is high.
- After finding your balance, raise your legs and feet together so your torso and hips are at a 45-degree angle to each other and facing the ceiling.
- Keep your knees straight.
- Continue to inhale and exhale deeply and hold this position for as long as possible.
- On your last exhalation, pull your knees to your chest, tighten your body, and lower your legs to the ground.
Seated Forward Bend (Pashchimottanasana)
Purpose: To stretch the hamstrings and lower back. “It’s a basic pose, but it’s really good for climbers,” says Leslie Wujastik. “We tend to contract in the posterior chain, the muscles at the back of the body.”
- Extend legs forward and bring feet together.
- Bring your toes to your torso, use your quads, inhale deeply, and as you exhale, lean forward to touch your toes (if you cannot reach, place your hands on your shins).
- Relax your head and neck.
- Think of micro-movements that stretch your torso with each inhale and more profound relaxation in the stretch with each exhalation.
- Take a few breaths and slowly return to the next breath.
Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana)
Purpose: Stretching the shoulder.
- Stand on all fours with your knees just below your hips and your hands under your shoulders.
- Slowly walk your arms forward, straighten your arms and lower your head and shoulders to the floor.
- Keep your spine slightly arched and your hips higher than your knees.
- Stretch with your fingertips, clench your arms, and lower your armpits while keeping your hips high.
- Take a few deep breaths.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Movement: Extend the front line of your body from your shoulders through your chest to your abdominal and hip flexors.
- On your next breath, look between your arms, shift your weight forward, and lie on your stomach on a mat.
- Move your arms back slightly so that they are just below your shoulders, flatten your palms, and then lift your shoulders to lengthen your collarbones.
- Use your back muscles as you inhale, pull your shoulders back, and gently push with your hands to lift your torso higher off the lumbar arch.
- Your spine should be long and your chest should be high.
- Consider lowering your shoulder blades and arching your upper back rather than your lumbar spine.
- Exhale and lower your head onto the mat.
Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Purpose: To lengthen the spine and stretch the abdominal muscles, oblique muscles of the abdomen, chest, and front of the shoulders.
Method: Lie on your left side with your legs folded, and your hips and knees bent 90 degrees. As you inhale, extend your right arm upward, and as you exhale, gently drop to the right, twisting your spine. Move your gaze to the palm of your right hand and let gravity pull you into the stretch, keeping your knees on the ground and holding them together with your left hand. Take three deep breaths. Pull your knees to the center and let them drop to the opposite side on the next breath. This time, extend your left arm and look at your left arm. Take three deep breaths and return your knees to the center on the next exhalation.
What it does: Relaxes the body and calms the mind.
- Lie on your back with your legs relaxed and hip-width apart.
- Place your hands on your sides and palms up, revealing your shoulders.
- Close her eyes and returned to breathing.
- Pay attention to how your body feels.
- Pay attention to the activity in your mind.
- Completely relax in this position for a few minutes, then slowly bring your body back into consciousness.
- When you’re ready, return to your sitting position, take a few breaths, and then run down the road.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Is yoga good for climbers?
Yoga is one of the easiest ways to improve your climbing. Not only does it increase flexibility, it promotes balance, strengthens strength, calms the mind, helps prevent injuries, and teaches you how to take care of your body.
Is mountain climber a yoga pose?
The Flow Mountaineer Pose is an intermediate yoga posture that is performed while lying down. The Climber Pose Flow additionally includes strength, stretching and balance.
Why do climbers have bad posture?
One of the main reasons that climbers take such a terrible position is the muscle tension, especially in the chest and lats. Using a lacrosse ball to target these narrow areas can improve your posture and alignment. If you don’t have a lacrosse ball or it’s too intense, you can also use a tennis ball.
How do I become more flexible for climbing?
To become more flexible, check out this video.