Climbing and yoga complement each other well. In rock climbing, you need a strong core and excellent control of your movements—both skills you can learn and practice with yoga. A yoga practice can also help keep your body limber and keep cramping away, which will help you stay pain-free on your tougher climbs.
Here’s a roundup of the best poses to help tone and strengthen the right muscles to aid your climbing.
A strong Crescent Lunge will strengthen your arms, legs and your core as you balance. Start in a low lunge and rise up with a flat back so your arms are strong by your ears, shoulders over your hips and pulling down your back. Keep your core tight and remember to breathe.
Warrior II is a great posture for climbers because it will strengthen both your arms and legs as well as increases the endurance in your legs, which can prevent injuries and trembling legs in your climbs. To get into Warrior II, start in a Crescent Lunge. Pivot your back foot to lay it flat on the ground so the toes are pointing out slightly (at around a 45-degree angle). Keep your front toes pointing straight forward. If your back foot is your left foot, turn your body to face the left and extend your arms straight out to each side. Your shoulders should be straight atop your hips, and your arms strong to each side, but your shoulder still low, pulling down your back. When you feel stable, turn slightly to look straight out over your right fingertips. Do both sides to even out.
Half Moon Pose
This pose will strengthen just about every part of your legs and challenge balance. Start from Warrior II and just tip forward so your right finger graze the floor in front of your right foot and lift your back leg high off the floor. Lift your left hand straight up and open your chest to the left side. Gaze up to your left fingers if it’s OK for your neck. You might need a block for balance.
This is a pose that’ll work your legs nicely and give your arms and shoulders a solid workout. Start by standing straight up with your feet hip’s width distance apart, then start to squat as if you are sitting in a chair, keeping your feet flat on the ground, your weight in your heels. Don’t try to sit too far down. Sit just low enough that you can tuck your tailbone—don’t let that butt stick out. Bring your arms up so your biceps are by your ears. Don’t forget to breathe.
Standing Forward Bend
For big extensions on your climb, you’ll need your hamstrings to be loose. Standing Forward Bend can help with that. Stand up and bend at the hips to reach down to your toes. Just hang. Let your head and neck drop and be loose. Don’t worry if you need to bend your knees. Flexibility will come in time and if your hamstrings are super tight, this can be a tough stretch.
Eagle will do wonders to stretch out your back and open your hips. Starting in a standing position, bend your right leg, lifting it up and over your left thigh, wrapping it all the way around your left leg. At the same time, stretch your arms out to the side and bend your right elbow, wrapping it underneath your left, reach up to your left palm in front of your face. Sit into the pose while pulling your arms up towards the ceiling and away from your face. But don’t let your shoulders creep up to your neck and don’t forget to do the other side.
Standing Splits build leg strength and challenges the core as you balance. Start in a Standing Forward Bend. Put all of your weight into your right leg as you peel your left leg up and back, keeping it straight with your toes pointing down. As it lifts higher, stretch down your right leg a little farther. And breathe. Don’t forget to breathe here and be sure to switch it up to get the same stretch and strength on the other side.