Yoga and climbing performance go hand in hand. Practicing yoga on a regular basis can dramatically improve your climbing performance. If you’ve never done yoga before, you might feel a little intimidated. Don’t be. With enough practice, you will get the hang of it soon enough and appreciate how much it will benefit your bouldering.
Main Benefits of Yoga for Rock Climbing
Yoga asanas (poses) stretch your muscles and tendons, helping you feel more limber. The more flexible you are, the less likely you are to suffer injuries. Improving your flexibility can also increase your range of motion, letting you perform a larger variety of climbing moves with ease.
Certain yoga poses require you to lift your entire body off the ground and hold the position for long periods of time. You will gain strength in your legs, arms and core, which can benefit your indoor climbing performance.
During yoga, you are taught different breathing techniques to support vigorous and slow movements to support your practice. Proper breathing can help your climbing session more than you think. If you learn about proper breathing techniques, you will become more aware of the times when you hold your breath or when you breathe shallowly during a climb, which can prevent your muscles from getting enough oxygen.
Yoga Poses to Try for Rock Climbing
If you experience tightness in your feet after every bouldering session, give this pose a try. It will stretch and lengthen the top of the ankles. Start in a kneeling position with your feet and legs together (see above picture), then sit back on your heels.
Chaturanga (Four Limbed Staff Pose)
This pose will strengthen your whole body and focuses on core strength and the muscles in your arms and shoulders that will help you perform each climb to the best of your ability. Get down in a pushup position and bend your elbows 90 degrees. Keep your body in a straight line and hold the position for five breaths. Variations of this pose like side plank and forearm plank are also great to tone your core muscles and arms.
Performing a bridge pose will strengthen your spine and stretch the muscles in your chest and neck. As you lie on your back with your arms at your side and knees bent, raise your hips off the ground. Bring your knees out in front of you and keep them above your ankles. Then, slowly lower your hips to the floor. Repeat for five to 15 breaths.
Now that you know a little bit more about how yoga can improve your bouldering performance, go out and experience the benefits for yourself. Yoga classes geared towards climbers is a place way to start.