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Climbing- Requires More Than Skill
Climbing is a physically demanding sport which is part of its attraction. While pushing yourself to the limit can be a rewarding challenge, you need to prepare you body for climbing’s strain on your body. There’s a huge difference between pushing yourself to the limit and causing yourself injury.
First off, make sure you are in good physical condition for climbing. You must build strength for climbing and some areas are more important than others. You’ll be using your grip more than in other sports as well as your arms to lift the weight of your body. To test your grip, see how long you can hang by a bar. Now do over handed pull-ups to see your shoulder and arm strength. Keeping track of how you’re doing will show your progress.
To increase your gripping ability there are several exercises including wrist curls, free lifts and pull-ups. Also perform wrist rotations to develop and stretch forearm muscles. Other major upper body muscle groups such as your chest and back must also be strengthened since they support your arms.
While gripping is the most important area to physically improve, there are other areas that will make your climb more manageable (or even possible). There are times when you must reach and pull yourself in odd positions. This is when abdominal, deltoid, and latissimus dorsi muscle strength is especially beneficial.
Overall fitness is very important as well since you’ll need a high degree of endurance, flexibility and balance. Increase your stamina by doing cardio longer and harder. Take yoga and Pilates to increase your core strength and become more flexible.
Make sure you warm up and stretch just before your climb. Since you use almost every muscle in your body, warming up and stretching is even more important with climbing than it is in a normal workout. Lengthening your muscles and tendons minimizes your odds of serious injury. If you put strain on your body before warming up and stretching, you’ll very likely get an injury such as ligament strain. These are not only immediately painful and limit your climbing but it can cause problems later in life.
A warm up is simply meant to get your heart pumping to oxygenate the muscle tissue making them more limber, helping you push them to the limit without injuring yourself. It’s suggested you do 10 to 5 minutes of aerobic exercise prior to your climb. Anything more than that will have an adverse effect since you’ll be using up your energy for the climb.
While learning skills and gaining experience in climbing is necessary, you first must be physically able to climb. Increase your strength and endurance to ensure a successful and rewarding climb.
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