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

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



“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 less 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. 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 core stable so that your back doesn’t arch.

If these are easy, lay on a bench or foam roller to increase 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 floor

1) Single Leg Hamstring Stretch (Use 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

Training Tips for Chicks – Basic Rock Climbing Training Program

Basic Rock Climbing Training Program – Installment #10
By: Carolyn Parker 

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! Click here to start at the beginning or simply visit the Chicks blog and click “Training and Nutrition” from the category menu.It’s incredibly beneficial for all the Chicks to be introduced to new movements and concepts for training, and initially implementing these in a regular workout in almost any fashion will create positive change. So re-read the first nine installments to get a look at all the great movement VIDEOS that have been included:

This is a huge training resource for you all – so please enjoy!  Below this review, please find a great eight week training program perfect for beginner climbers.

Newsletter #1:

Shoulder Openers
Cuban Press
Wall Squat

Newsletter #2:

Goblet Squat
Leg Lower and Raise
L seats
Knee Raise
Static holds: FLR, ring support

Newsletter #4:

Walking Push Ups
Ring Push Ups
DB Push Press
Plate OH Hold
Handstand Hold
Bench dip / ring dip

Newsletter #5:

Pull Up
Body Row
Bent Over Row
High Pull
Pull Over
Walking Lunge, OH Walking Lunge
Front Raise
Lateral Raise Standing
Reverse Fly
Y’s with Bands
Low Trap Flys with bands
Front Squat

Newsletter #9

Bear Crawl
Box jump
KB Swings,
Front Squat Push Press Combo

Last installment was for climbers who already had some climbing experience and were looking to push to a new level. How about those of you who are just getting started and look around you at climbers who seem to do the impossible?

Here’s a place for the new climber to start.

Over the years I’ve taught hundreds of women to climb for the first time. One of the most common “fears” or concerns I hear voiced is: oh I’m not strong enough to climb…The truth is no climber you see was strong when they started to climb. Climbing makes you strong and truthfully it’s often an advantage to not be a thug when beginning this sport because you are forced to learn good technique. Technique gets you further than strength any day. So practice and get some good coaching to learn great technique first, then if you add some strength to that (here’s where I come in) you’ll be off to a fantastic start.

Basic Rock Climbing Training Program, 8 weeks:

Monday – Yoga or active recovery 30-60min
Tuesday – Climbing 90min
Wednesday  – Strength Training 60min and 30min Cardio
Thursday Climbing 90min
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Climbing outside if possible and yoga
Sunday – Strength training 60 min and cardio 60 min

Climb 2 – 3 days a week at first. Most of my gals also need work with flexibility, if you don’t great! If you do, try to squeeze in a yoga class once a week and do a little on your own. Initially I don’t have new climbers climb on back to back days. Eventually this may be productive and if you need to due to schedule then by all means. The above schedule is “ideal” move days around as you need for the “reality” of life.

Try to keep to this schedule for 8 weeks. Along the way make notes of how many routes you climb, what difficulty, etc. You won’t be able to remember where you started and as we often tend to do when starting a training program we loose track of our progress because there are always others better than us.

Monday: Yoga or an easy walk, jog, bike ride 30 – 60 min, let your muscles recover from the busy weekend.

Tuesday: Climbing – begin with a warm up route at whatever grade you warm up. This is a route that is easy for you and you don’t get terribly pumped doing. Let’s say that’s 5.7. Then try this grouping:

1x  5.7
2x  5.8
2x 5.9
1x 5.10 (more than one try if you fall and have the energy to get back on the route)
1x 5.9
1x 5.7

So that is eight routes peaking at a difficulty that you have to hang to figure it out. Pick routes that are your style at first and go back to the harder route 5.9 – 5.10 each session until you can complete them. Do not just move on because you couldn’t do the route first try, instead use the route as a teacher. Try to remember the moves, work all the moves out, then complete the route. This may take more than one gym session but you are building the strength to climb at this grade. Once you complete the 5.9/5.10 pick a new group of routes to accomplish. You can also start at a harder grade than 5.7 and put in whatever route difficulties are appropriate, easier or harder. Your goal over the next 8 weeks is to complete as many routes 5.9/5.10 that are hard for you and then begin building the number of attempts you make on routes off that difficulty, so by the end of 8 weeks maybe your gym session looks like this:

1x 5.8
1x 5.9
2x 5.10
1x 5.10+
1x 5.10-
1x 5.9
1x 5.8

Wednesday: Strength training. In the previous chicks newsletters I’ve gone into detail about how to get strong without getting big.  Once the athlete understands the lift, the movement, the skill to be performed and the athlete is properly warmed up. We want to focus on a total rep count for that movement of (12 – 25 reps) this can be done in sets and reps as such: 5 x 5, 5 x 3, 8 x 3, 6 x 2. The goal is to find a body weight movement, and external object movement or lift that requires a high muscle output from the athlete where finishing this low number of reps causes near failure (but not failure) on the last rep or two. Failure is that of strength or form, do not let your form go!!


For your strength workouts pick four movements to focus on, for example:
Pull Up
Pull Over
Push Up
4 supplemental movements:
Leg Lowers
Weighted Sit ups
Push Press
Mtn Climbers

The first four movements are the focus of your workout, you want to gain strength in these movements, the second set of four are supplemental movements that will help with core strength and stamina and be an oppositional movement for climbing muscles. Helping injury proof the athlete.

Then you put a workout together:

Warm up 10:00 light cardio to warm the body in temperature
2 x 8 shoulder openers
2 x 5 cuban press
3 x 5 wall squats
2 x 6 goblet squats
5x Pull Up make then difficult!, use as little assistance as necessary an break up the reps to single if you need to.
5x Deadlift warm up to a weight that is reasonable for you, do not loose form! Then use that weight for your workout.
Complete 5 rounds of this with 1:00 rest between sets. and a short rest between movements.
10x Leg Lowers (and Raise)
30 – 60 secs Mtn climbers
60 sec rest
Complete 4 rounds
Cool down for 10:00 minutes easy cardio again, foam roller, stretching.

Now you have a framework for your workouts, use the information in previous newsletters to structure your workouts beyond this example. As well, all movements aside from Mtn Climbers, and Weighted Sit Ups which are included here, have been reviewed in previous newsletters.

Mountain Climber
Mountain Climber

Weighted Sit Ups

Weighted Sit Up

Thursday: Climbing, similar structure as Tuesday.

Friday: Rest, yes…do it. Actually rest!

Saturday: If weather permits head outside!! Nothing beats a day outdoors to practice your new sport with friends. Top rope or leading, get as many pitches in as you can and have a huge smile on your face!

Sunday: Head to the gym for your second strength session of the week, formulate it like Wednesday’s session however use different movements. Then get out again, cross training day, hike, ride, run, what ever you love to do with friends, family, your pooch.

Now you’ve got a plan and a program, again keep track of your workouts, pitches climbed, difficulty, so you can track your improvement. This is a huge motivator and most athletes loose track. I keep track for them when they train in my gym and they are always shocked and amazed by the progress they’ve made in such a short period of time.

Happy Climbing!

As always: for more detailed information regarding programming of this nature you can contact me at or
Carolyn Parker

Balance Training for the Ice Season


Written by: Dawn Glanc, Chicks Girly Guide

Balance exercise on a Bosu Ball

Thank you for the photo!

Many think that ice climbing is all about the power.  Swinging your tool and kicking your crampons in will only get you so far.  To take your ice training to the next level, try this amazing balance progression exercise.  This will take time but be patient and stick with it.  This can be done at home or in the gym, all you need is a Bosu Ball (the thing that looks like a yoga ball cut in half and placed on a black platform).

Phase 1: Place the Bosu Ball flat side toward ground.  Put right foot on ball and try to stand on that foot.  Make sure you are standing straight and not leaning forward.  This will help awaken your glutes, quads, hamstrings, hip flexors and core.  Balance for 2 minutes and then switch feet.

Start with just 10 reps on each side.  The idea is to make you aware on how to fire those muscles. 

Phase 2: The next progression is flipping the Bosu Ball so the platform is up and the ball side is down.  Try to stand in the center of the flat on one foot at a time.  Once you get this down, try a yoga pose (like tree) for count of ten. 

Phase 3: Ditch the Bosu Ball and bust out a medicine ball.  Yes, I just said medicine ball.  I assure you this is possible.  Try the 10 pounder – it’s a little squishy.  Start with assistance, like a broom handle, to help you stand with balance.  Practice standing with TWO FEET. 

Once you can stand for 5 minutes.  Start doing squats.  Then after that, the world is your oyster! Try moving up to a 12 pound medicine ball (less squishy) or adding more squats.  I have found this is best thing to help me with my balance and my muscle awareness.  This translates to an overall improvement with my footwork and is very noticeable when I’ve had to stand on a foothold in a precarious way.

These exercises help your brain store muscle memory about how you need to push off your foot and transfer power up your leg into your glutes.  That’s where we want the power coming from while climbing.  In addition, the balance portion of the exercise activates the tiny muscles in your feet, ankles and calves, which keep your legs from tiring quickly.

Yoga and Pilates can also help you build your muscle and body awareness which means you can start to move with grace and efficiency on the ice instead of perfecting the kickin’ chicken.


CURCUIT TRAINING: creating power endurance

Circuit training is invaluable when done well, not only does it take less time which many people have very little of but you not gain strength and also a CV benefit from this style of training. As well, it may more accurately mimic what your body is going through when climbing demanding terrain.

How to build a circuit: this can seem challenging and often is so once again I will keep it simple to begin:
Four to five exercises combining these critical components:

  • Squat: (ex) squats, dead lifting, lunging, step-ups, box jumps, side lunging
  • Sit: (Core) sit ups, back extension, rotational strength, leg raises, med ball throws, and balance
  • Push: Push-ups, dips, over head press, bench press
  • Pull: pull ups, high pulls, cable rows, bent over row
  • Metabolic (optional): rowing machine, running intervals, jumping rope

These are all the functional Ranges of Motion that our bodies can and do work in. We have to train them all and in harmony with one another. You will rapidly discover that a weakness in one area will diminish your capacity to perform specific movements. We want to train away those weaknesses. Those weaknesses are what will lead to inability to perform any complex endeavor such as ice climbing, skiing, and biking, at your absolute best.

Strength and Flexibility

I always put Strength and Flexibility or ROM (range of motion) together because they should be inseparable in your training. Simply put, your muscles have a functional ROM in which they can apply force, that functional ROM is determined by your level of flexibility. It is that simple. Gymnasts, Martial Artists, Dancers are a perfect example; most people are impressed by the display of strength of these sets of athletes. As well, most injuries (unless they are the result of trauma) occur when there is an imbalance in either strength or flexibility in the system. My experience has shown that the first aspect of training many athletes fore go is stretching or increasing functional ROM.
The most important point I want you to take away from the following segment is that of training the system as a whole. Muscle isolation exercises are inappropriate for anyone but a body builder, the elderly, inexperienced population or injury rehab. We as athletes do not ever use our muscles in isolation. We use our bodies in complex movements, ergo: we need to train our bodies using complex movements, challenging our strength, increasing our flexibility, testing our balance, and opening new neuromuscular pathways.

Simple ROM to work on:
After a warm up and in between sets you should stretch.

  • Aboriginal Squat: this is a full squat with your heels on the floor, toes relaxed, and torso upright. You can prepare for this by stretching your hamstring, quads, and calves in a traditional manner, however we want the flexibility to equate to a functional ROM for an exercises like Squats, dead lifting, lunging, step ups, box jumps etc.

Imagine climbing, you can only pull your leg up and stand in relation to the body as far as you can squat down and stand up.

  • Arms Over Head: Can you stand up right and hold your arms straight over head, elbows even with your ears, without arching your low back or lifting your shoulders? If yes, great! If not, this is a ROM we need to develop. Practice an overhead squat with a stretching belt or dowel rod over head, between your hands.

Imagine swinging an ice axe overhead with enough FORCE to penetrate the ice, you need all your functional ROM to generate enough force correct? Perfect correlation to the sport, you will be able to swing that ice axe more effectively if you can access all of your functional strength.

  • Chest Opening: Stand in a doorway, door open, place your arms out at 90 degrees, elbows just below shoulder height and step forward to stretch your chest/pectoral muscles. This will help with posture, delivery of force from the muscles of the back and shoulders, and breathing capacity (making room for your lunges to expand with air).
  • Hip Opening: Frog stretch on the floor or against a wall. Lean against a wall, move your feet/legs as far away from one another as they will reasonably go, squat down so your legs are at 90 degree angles. Place your hands on the inside of your legs open them further while holding the squat position, hold this for 30 sec to 2 minus. Repeat.
  • Rotation of the body: Back lying twist. Lying on the floor, raise your knees to your chest, then bring you feet up so your legs make a 90 angle, move you knees away from your chest until they are over you hips. Keep you right shoulder on the ground as you let your lower body twist to the left try to touch your left knee to the floor. Repeat opposite side. You can do this with your legs straight as well, it makes it more difficult to bring your legs back to center.

These are examples of ways to increase flexibility in these key areas.
If you aren’t sure about how to stretch and gain ROM in these areas, I highly recommend taking a GOOD yoga class. Yoga not only develops strength and flexibility, but teaches you to become more body aware and has elements of relaxation and meditation. Some of the mental components that are beneficial to being/becoming a climber.



Specifically Cardiovascular training. This element can often be over looked by climbers, who just want to be “STRONGER”. In actually it is as critical as strength as it allows your body to manage the demands of the climb while you are in the midst of it. We need to train your heart/lungs in two capacities, aerobic and anaerobic. I’ll keep this simple for now:

  • LSD: (long steady distance) – “cardio” hill climbing, hiking, running, biking 45 minutes or more. Steady state fitness for the long climbing effort so you can recover on the go.
  • Interval training (speed/power) – This capacity of CV fitness is often overlooked by a recreational athlete. Yes, LSD is important however to increase your absolute capacity we need to push the threshold at which you perform higher. There are many techniques for interval training and it can get crazy, so picking a simple format to begin this practice is best:

5 minute warm-up, 2 min interval, 2 min rest, 2 min interval, 2 min rest,…a total of 4 intervals then a 5 minute cool down. Rest periods should be rest, do not stop but decrease your output so your body can recover. Intervals should be difficult. If using a perceived exertion scale of (1 – 10) Rest 5- 6, Interval 9 -10. If using a heart rate monitor, Rest 50 – 60 % of Max, Interval 90 – 98% of max.

Muscle specific endurance, you often hear about muscle specific endurance training for ice climbing, like calves and forearms. We will deal with this in the next piece, Strength and Flexibility.