Having a strong muscular and skeletal system is indeed the most important thing for athletes. Yoga is perhaps one of the best and easiest ways to help your body get ready for the strength required during climbing. Since yoga helps in increasing the overall strength and stability, it helps greatly in attaining the goals. Here is a guide to yoga for rock climbers.
"Yoga is perhaps one of the best and easiest ways to help your body get ready for the strength required during climbing."
Benefits of Yoga for Rock Climbers
Yoga is an age-old technique for achieving a better health. The different poses of yoga help in working out each and every muscle of the body in an excellent way. It also relaxes the mind, thereby reducing stress and increasing stamina. Here is how yoga can help with rock climbing.
Yoga involves "asanas" or poses that help in strengthening the core muscles of the body. There are certain poses that involves building the strength of arms and legs to support you while climbing. When you have a strong body, you are better able to hold yourself when hanging from a rock against the gravity.
Flexibility is another factor that helps with better rock climbing. Regular yoga sessions improves the flexibility of the body and eases sprains that are caused due to stretching of stiff muscles. Therefore, yoga improves flexibility and makes it easier to climb without an injury.
Some of the yoga poses involve balancing your body on your arms. Such steps help in determining the center of gravity when you are hanging from a steep rock. Therefore, it improves balance and core strength of the body to make you perform better.
Yoga helps in increasing endurance in two ways. Firstly, it makes your muscles hold your weight through the entire session thereby increasing your ability to climb better. Secondly, it enhances your breathing, which is again essential for rock climbing. You need to hold your breath and pull your body up while climbing.
Yoga Poses for Rock Climbing
As a beginner, you may do a number of yoga poses to improve your overall health, although there are a certain "asanas" that help in building core muscle and improving flexibility.
The Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
The eagle pose helps in stretching the deltoid muscles thereby strengthening the shoulders. It also helps in the workout of latissimus dorsi increasing your overall flexibility. Moreover, it strengthens the ankles and the knees to prevent them from injury during climbing.
Start with a standing position and cross your right thigh over the left with your hips sinking down and your arms reaching up. Slowly wrap your right foot over the calf muscles of the left leg with your toes pointing downwards. Also, wrap your left arm over the right one with your elbows bent.
Half Moon Pose (Ardh Chandrasana)
This pose is excellent for climbers as it helps in increasing flexibility of the entire body due to stretching of the muscles. It improves the balance of the body and helps you to know your center of gravity when hanging from steep cliffs. It also reduces shaky leg syndrome and, is therefore, beneficial for climbers.
Stand straight with your arms stretched on both sides to the height of your shoulders. Now bring your right foot in the front while stretching the left one backward. Twist your body so that your right arm is pointing towards the front of the mat and is over your bent right leg while your left arm pointing towards your back.
You are in a warrior II pose. Now, slowly bend you right arm to reach the floor while moving your left arm towards the ceiling. Your left leg will be directing straight towards your back. Hold in this position for a few seconds and repeat it with the other side.
Downward Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasna)
The pose is great for climbers as it stretches the calf muscles and the hamstrings that allow better movement of leg muscles. It also strengthens the shoulder muscles as well as the ab muscles. The pose reduces the risk of rotator cuff injuries common among climbers.
Kneel down with your hands on the yoga mat in front of your knees. At this position, your knees should be straight below your hips with the toes extended backward. Slowly pull your hips upward by straightening your knees. Keep your arms straight to provide support to the entire body. Do not hang your head, instead keep it aligned between the two arms.
Stay in this position for a few seconds and return back to kneel-down-position by slowly bending your knees. Repeat it for a few more times for a full body strengthening workout.
The above poses in yoga provide optimum strength, flexibility and endurance required for rock climbing. If you have injuries, it is important to perform the "asanas" under expert's supervision. If you are a beginner, consider obtaining professional help though yoga sessions and classes to have a better understanding of the technique and the preventive measures as well.