Mobility Exercises for Performance and Injury Prevention | 15 Minutes of Mobility

Go-Go-Go! “I know, I should go to yoga”

Today I want to stress the importance of a proper warm-up and mobility exercises. It is important to do 15 Minutes of Mobility both before AND after any activity. If you do 15 Minutes of Mobility in a mindful way, you’ll get 10x the gain from your workouts and you’ll get fewer injuries!

I call it “too-much-of-a-good-thing” syndrome.

We love climbing and skiing so much. These activities calm our minds and feed our souls. But too much repetitive movement can create structural imbalances. And left uncorrected, these imbalances can lead to pain and injury. In addition, most of us sit too much: 10 – 12  hours a day on average.

If you don’t know by now, sitting is horrible for you:

So, even if you think you’re active, you probably sit too much. Even if you always exercise after work and hit it hard on the weekends–you still probably commute to work sitting and drive a desk all day.

Loss of mobility causes pain whether it is in the back, neck, shoulders, or hips. Loss of mobility creates range-of-motion issues, muscle imbalances, and joint stress.

15 Minutes of Mobility Exercises

Doing these exercises will create a neuromuscular stimulus that turns on under-performing muscles and “chills-out” overactive muscles, increasing mobility over time.  

Execute the movements precisely. Stay in alignment and build balanced strength. As a result, you’ll be stronger and with the added benefit of decreasing your risk of injury.

Remember quality over quantity. Smarter, not harder, creates results.

(Don’t do any of these exercises if they cause pain.)

Before activity stretches should be dynamic: move in and out of the stretch, holding for 3 – 5 secs and repeat 10+ times.

After activity stretches should static: hold for 30+ sec to lengthen the muscle. Longer stretches fatigue muscles, so they shouldn’t be done before training or activity.

15 Minutes of Mobility

Upper body

Hold spine in neutral and the core stable so that your back doesn’t arch.

If these are easy, lay on a bench or foam roller to increase the available range of motion.

1) Chest Opener

chest opener exercise

15 Minutes of Mobility Exercises – chest opener

2) Elbows at Sides

mobility exercises - elbows at sides

15 Minutes of Mobility – elbows at sides

3) Overhead Reach

15 Minutes of Mobility – overhead reach

4) Shoulder Openers Video

Lower Body

For all stretches maintain a neutral lumbar spine and do not mash low back into the floor

1) Single-Leg Hamstring Stretch (Use a squat rack or door jam.)

15 Minutes of Mobility – single leg hamstring stretch

2) Hip Opening 

hip opening mobility exercise

15 Minutes of Mobility – hip opening

3) Lying On Back Twist

mobility exercises - back lying twist

15 Minutes of Mobility – back lying twist

4) Hip flexor (lie on bench, bed or chair)

hip flexor mobility exercise

15 Minutes of Mobility – hip flexor stretch

5) Frog stretch

hip mobility exercise - frog stretch

15 Minutes of Mobility – frog stretch

6) Quad stretch

quad stretch

15 Minutes of Mobility – Quad Stretch

7) Calf stretch (Ideally on a ramp but a step will work as well.)

calf stretch exercise

15 Minutes of Mobility – calf stretch


Carolyn Parker

Founder, Instructor, Athlete, Mountain Guide

970-773-3317 work cell

Founder Ripple Effect Training

Coach for Uphill Athlete

AMGA Certified Rock Guide

Gym Jones, Fully Certified Instructor


Climbing Training Program | Take Your Climbing to the Next Level

Carolyn Parker putting her climbing training program to use climbing in Indian Creek, Utah

Carolyn Parker, Founder Ripple Effect Training, AMGA Rock Guide, puts her Climbing Training Program to use. Indian Creek, Utah ©Carolyn Parker collection.

It’s time to rock!

Get on the climbing training program.

One of our most commonly asked questions is “How do I take my climbing to the next level?”

This is especially true for intermediate to advanced climbers. It’s common for intermediate to advanced climbers to feel stuck and unable to make progress.

Here’s the straight scoop.

In order to take your climbing to the next level, you need to train.

Your fitness level is one of the most significant factors affecting your ability to progress.

Adding to this, it’s been a long winter.

I don’t know about you but I’m jones’ing for some sun and warm rock climbing.

The transition back to climbing after the winter can be especially difficult. Fingers and other joints have lost their conditioning and avoiding injury is just as important as getting fit and strong.

The following climbing training program will help you build strength and stamina safely this spring. And, it will provide you with a fitness base from which you can rocket to new climbing levels over the course of the season.

Climbing Training Program

The total length of this program is 8-Weeks.

(It assumes training inside during this time of year.)

The schedule is adaptable to fit your specific schedule.

However, your climbing training program should incorporate the following:

  1. One general climbing strength, stamina, and mobility workout/week
  2. Two short climbing sessions/week
  3. Having fun on the weekend
  4. Ideally, a rest day between climbing sessions
  5. Aerobic work and/or yoga anytime

Schedule Example:

Climbing session on Monday, strength workout on Tuesday or Wednesday, climbing session again on Thursday or Friday. Go outside and have fun on the weekend.

Climbing Sessions

Start with a “reasonable” volume and on a “reasonable” grade.

  • Reasonable volume is about half of what you can do when you’re really fit.
  • A reasonable grade is what you know you can climb confidently.

Boulder, or do routes. If bouldering, down-climb for extra volume.

Now, for my special tip:

Count your hand movements to track your progress and volume.

I’ve learned that for me, 100 hand movements is a reasonable place to start after months of not climbing.

However, 100 hand movements may be too much for you.

Scale the number of hand movements that you do to your own ability.

Maybe, you will do only 50 hand movements to begin with. And, rather than increasing by 50 each week, you will increase by 25 each week instead.

When I’m on the climbing training program, my goal is 300 hand movements during a single session by the end of the 8thweek. Once I hit 300 hand movements, I find I can warm up to a difficultly that pushes me technically. Yet, I still have the stamina to work on projects.

Your goal might be 200 hand movements in a single session by Week 8.

Climbing Sessions

Progression Example:

Week One– 100 hand movements on easy routes.

Week Two– 150 hand movements. Increase route grade for 50 of the movements.

Week Three– 200 hand movements. Decrease or drop out easiest routes. Just focus on more volume rather than increasing difficulty.

Week Four– 200-250 hand movements. Increase difficulty and volume.

*This climbing training program suggests that you do two climbing sessions and one general climbing strength, stamina, and mobility workout each week.

General Climbing Strength, Stamina, and Mobility Workouts

Warm Up

Start with a few minutes of light aerobic exercise. Light aerobic exercise gets your body warmed up. Run, bike, row, etc.

And then:

Do 3 rounds of

8 x Shoulder Openers

5 x Cuban Press

5 x Wall Squats or Air Squats

If you want to add more chest opening exercises to your warm-up, check out More Tips for Bombproof Shoulders and Shoulder Strength. It is very important for climbers to keep their shoulders healthy.

Take a few minutes to stretch your calves, quads, hips, and hamstrings.

Workout One

Do 3-5 rounds, depending on your fitness level:

5 x Single-Arm Body Row or Double-Arm Body Row

5 x KB Bosu Chest Press (You can also do this on a bench.)

10 x Floor Wiper

Rest as necessary

And then:

Do 3-5 Rounds of:

5 x Strict Press

30 sec Ring Support

Workout Two

Warm-up (same as for Workout One)

Depending on your fitness level

Do 3-5 rounds of the following:

3-5 x Pull Ups

8-10 x Anchored Leg Lower

And then:

3 – 5 Rounds

5 x Bent-Over Row with Lock-Off In Three Positions

10 x Archers (5 per arm)

10 x Hanging Windshield Wiper (5 per side). Keep your legs straight and your hips high.

Week Five

Recovery Week. Take a week off of climbing. You can still do a general strength workout, some light aerobic training, and/or yoga. Make sure you rest.

Week Six through Eight

You should feel ready to push difficulty and increase volume after a month of consistent build-up and a week of recovery.

Incorporate harder climbing and a cool down on easier terrain each week.

Remember to do one of the general climbing strength workouts every week too!

Week Six

250 hand movements

Week Seven

250-275 hand movements

Week Eight

275-300 hand movements

Week NineRecovery week ( :

Now you’re ready to rock on your projects!! Inside or outside ( :

Carolyn Parker
Founder, Instructor, Athlete, Mountain Guide
970-773-3317 work cell
Founder Ripple Effect Training

Coach for Uphill Athlete

AMGA Certified Rock Guide
Gym Jones, Fully Certified Instructor

The key to getting stronger and avoiding injury

key to getting strongerWhat is the key to getting stronger and avoiding injury?

The answer may surprise you, but before we give up the secret, let’s do a quick check-in. rock climbing season is in full swing and if you’ve been following the newsletter training tips, training and climbing hard, it’s time to stop and assess things.

Recently I had a young strong athlete come in to the gym for a training session, I always check with my athletes before we start our session to make sure they aren’t working around pain or discomfort. I do this because athletes are notorious for just pushing through rather than listening. She sheepishly said that her shoulder was flared up again and was irritated like her old injury was coming back. She admitted tripling up on strength training, a finger board workout and rock climbing. She had just “sent” her first 5.12 and was pushing hard. I sent her home, told her to take a week off, get a massage and to begin to learn to “listen” to what her body was telling her so she could continue to improve. She did. And we are back on track pain free.
It’s fun getting stronger, progressing, and climbing well. However, our bodies will start to send us messages we like to ignore when it’s time to rest and recover. If you haven’t taken appropriate rest, gotten a massage, spent time on deeper recovery now is the time. Schedule some you time and attend to any ache or pain that’s been hanging around just under the surface.

Maintain Balance

Even if you’ve been following the programming I’ve given you over the course of weeks and months, you will still develop imbalances due to the nature of climbing. We pull so much in the world of climbing we can develop major strength imbalances, so these exercises work your pushing muscles. It’s time to add in oppositional movements to your training program. Each time you climb or on a recovery day,  add in the following pushing exercises to your  routine to help keep your body in balance.
    • 20 push ups toes or knees between routes at the gym.
    • Practice handstands at home against a wall is fine, work up to holding them for a minute. Rest some between and try a few rounds.
    • Do Assisted dips on the rings. 4 sets of 8 – 10.

    • My favorite movement of all time the Turkish Get Up, (TGU). It incorporates core strength, overhead strength and single leg strength.

Ready to step it up?
If you want to try handstand push ups, here’s a simple way to learn the movement and gain strength with an assist from a strap or against a wall

Lastly, remember the key to getting stronger and avoiding injury is intelligent training and adequate rest and recovery. You’ll see more progression and have more fun if you take the time to check in and create balance where needed.
Until the next newsletter.
All my best,
Contact me for further training information and programming @
Carolyn Parker
Carolyn Parker
Founder, Instructor, Athlete, Mountain Guide
970-773-3317 cell
Founder Ripple Effect Training

Training Tips for Chicks: The Process

If you are new to the Chicks Training Tips take a few minutes to read the previous newsletters, there’s a lot of great information in there!

It’s incredibly beneficial for all the Chicks to be introduced to new movements and concepts for training, implementing these in a regular workout in almost any fashion will create positive change. So re-read the first 10 installments to get a look at all the great movements, VIDEOS have been included:

This is a huge training resource for you all!

Now on to the meat of the matter.

This Newsletter’s training tip is called “The Process”

I’ve endeavored to give you all training program outlines for climbing fitness. Now I’d like to fill my roll as a coach to talk about the “process” of climbing as far as getting “better”.

So often we are our own worst enemy, putting too much pressure on ourselves or having unrealistic expectations about progress, where we should be and what it takes to break through a plateau in our climbing.

It’s a process.
I’d like to clear up a few things before we start, you can repeat this to yourself whenever you doubt yourself.
First: all climbers have been afraid.
Second: everyone worked hard to be where they are.
Third: everyone has had a bad day.
Fourth: everyone has cried about it at some point, or had a tantrum, or sulked, or gone into some crazed depression…I know just over the sport of climbing.

Embrace this and know it. If you see people climbing hard understand they worked to get there. If they can’t admit to you they’ve struggled, they are a douche bag. Ignore them.

Now let’s get on with the process.

All climbers begin by steadily improving and working through the grades, sport or trad. Just by going climbing and trying you will get better. At some point however you will hit your first plateau. 5.9, 5.10, 5.12 wherever it is and believe me there are many plateaus to be hit, you will hit yours. At this point the process requires a different approach.

Suddenly you need to “train” and you need to fail, and then try and try and try again to succeed. This is the process. If you want to gain the skill, strength, and ability to climb beyond your plateau.

Challenge yourself to try routes, or boulder problems that you think you can’t touch. So you can only link a few moves at a time. Perfect. Two things happen when you try. First you become stronger. Finger and contact strength (it’s like a heavy lift) in addition your body begins to “learn” new movement. Feel confident and comfortable to rehearse movements. Then begin linking moves. If you try a new route or boulder problem and in one week you manage to get one move further you’ve made progress. Try and fail try and fail try and fail…then try and Succeed! Once your body understands what it feels like, what it takes to climb the next grade harder the next route will be easier. Mentally and physically.

One last note. Once you break through the 5.10 barrier each letter grade represents a new level of difficulty. The difference between 10a and 10d is much greater than 5.8 to 5.9. Honor each grade, and progress accordingly. If you struggle to complete your first 10a and you want to climb 5.11 then you must embrace the process. Onsight or Redpoint,  complete the routes clean after working on them: Ten 5.10a’s, Seven 5.10b’s, Five 5.10c’s, Three 5.10d’s, then try 5.11a. Build a foundation of fitness, technique and strength to launch from. You can apply this process to all the grades.

Final Note:
Happy Climbing! Enjoy the Process!

As always: for more detailed information regarding training you can contact me at or e-mail me.

Carolyn Parker