10 Warm Up and Cool Down Stretches for Climbers

Heidi Wirtz describes how to use stretches to warm up for and recover from a climbing session.
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Heidi Wirtz meditating

Climbing's Yoga for Climbers instructor Heidi Wirtz practices yoga before and after climbing.

A formula for a great climbing day: a good night’s rest, plenty of snacks and water, and supportive friends. But pro climber and yoga teacher Heidi Wirtz, the instructor for Climbing’s Yoga for Climbers online course, thinks we should also add stretching and asana. Here, she walks us through her routine, which includes dynamic movements to warm up and longer poses to recover.

The Warm-Up: Dynamic Stretches

These quick movements warm up the body in a “healthy way,” without straining your muscles by moving you into deeper stretches too early on. “It takes your body quickly through the range of movement that you're going to be doing out on the rocks,” says Wirtz. She adds that dynamic stretches stimulate blood flow to muscles, tendons, and ligaments—a key to injury prevention. Before you start climbing, Wirtz recommends you run through a few of these exercises:

The Cool-Down: Long, Restorative Poses

Save these stretches for the end of a gym session or day out cragging. Restorative stretches, as the name implies, help muscles recover. They also improve flexibility. For climbers, Wirtz says some of the important areas to focus on are the chest, back, hips, hamstrings, and forearms. Here are some poses that focus on climbing muscles:

A solid stretching routine helps climbers warm up, get flexible, stay focused on the wall, and recover, says Wirtz. It should be an integral part of every climbing day.

Ready to add yoga to your routine? Join Wirtz in her Yoga for Climbers online course, and learn how yoga can benefit you—both on and off the rock.

Special thanks to Caroline Moonie for demonstrating these stretches. View more of Caroline's modeling work on her Instagram account: @carolinemoonie

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