Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Misplaced Muscle - "Muscle Stretching"

By Eugene Hoberg

I am a competition climbing coach. Most of what I will be covering is what I teach and encourage our youth competitors to practice, and make habits toward becoming optimum performance climbers. I hope that you are able to find this information useful and incorporate it into your own climbing habits.

So let's get started. Stretching improves circulation and blood flow which gives the muscles more flexibility in order to better execute climbing moves. Coordination, balance, and recovery times are improved during your climbing sessions, and you also help prevent climbing-related injuries.

Here's what I have found to be the best way to stretch your muscles:

Jumping jacks, jump rope or going for a short run to get the blood flowing. Blood is warm and helps warm the muscles up which makes it more pliable to stretch. Then we use a series of stretches that are coupled with proper breathing. This is also a good time to begin focusing on the climbs ahead (easier said than done, especially when stretching with very sociable young climbers).

Then get on the wall for what we call 30 - 20 - 10 moves:
- 30 non stop moves on what we call 50% holds (jugs for most climbers)
- stretch for 2 minutes
- 20 non stop moves on 75% holds (holds that uses to the center joints of your fingers)
- stretch for 2 minutes
- 10 non stop moves on 100% holds which should give you a pretty good pump (equivalent to your hardest climb)
Restretch again and feel for any strain on different parts of which ever part of the body you are strecthing. Your good to go! If you stay off the wall for more than thirty minutes and begin to cool down, do the 30 moves again. Now you're ready to climb hard and have fun!
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