Seven Great Yoga Poses for Climbers

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.

Cres­cent Lunge
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
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.


Chair Pose
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 Pose
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
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.