Rock Climbing Warm-up

Rock climbing is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and has received notable media attention in the past year with Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson’s first free ascent of the notoriously difficult Dawn Wall in Yosemite National Park. First, one of the mistakes I commonly see at indoor climbing gyms (my home turf) is the warm-up. Most people jump straight onto the wall and start climbing. This might actually put you at greater risk for injury. Performing a warm-up that mimics movements in the activity has been shown to increase performance compared to static stretching and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (Sa et al., 2015). Additionally, warming up prior to a climb or any type of physical activity is recommended for reducing muscle injuries and increasing joint range of motion without sacrificing athletic performance (Behm et al., 2016). In the video, I am performing movements inspired by Dr. Jared Vagy’s, “10-minute climbing warm-up”. Dr. Vagy is one the leading experts on climbing rehabilitation and has trained notable athletes including Jonathan Siegrist and Sasha Digiulian. Check out his page at! Here are the exercises performed in the video and the amount of times you should do them: Shoulder, forearm, and wrist circles x10, Side lunges (opposite side lock off) and reach, 3 directions x3 each side, Reverse flag with reach and lock off x10 each side, Butterfly stretch on toes 5 sec hold x5, Drop knee with same side arm reach and opposite side lock off x10 each side, Tendon glides x10. These are just some exercises you could do prior to climbing, there are more out there! Sá et al. Acute Effects of Different Methods of Stretching and Specific Warm Ups on Muscle Architecture and Strength Performance. Behm et al. Acute effects of muscle stretching on physical performance, range of motion, and injury incidence in healthy active individuals: a systematic review.
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