by Christopher Schafenacker
You already know that warming up is a crucial part of any sport and you know climbing is no exception. And yet, if you’re like the author, you don’t do it, or don’t do it well enough and the reason is pretty simple: warming up is boring. You, me, and most other climbers would much rather be on the wall than doing windmills, scapular pull-ups, or jumping jacks and so we rush through (or entirely ignore) the process. Nevertheless, warming up really, truly is essential and the reasons are more numerous than you might imagine.
8 Reasons Why We All Need to Actually Just Warm Up
1. Injury Prevention
Preventing injury is probably the most-cited (and best) reason to warm up. Warming up increases blood flow to the muscles and prepares them for the physical demands of climbing. This helps prevent strains, sprains, and tears, ultimately extending your climbing career and, yes, giving you more time on the wall.
2. Improved Performance
Warming up improves performance by increasing muscle flexibility and range of motion, allowing you to move more efficiently and get more from your sessions.
3. Increased Endurance
Warming up boosts endurance by gradually increasing oxygen flow to your muscles, allowing you to climb for longer and, again, get more of what you came for: time on the wall.
4. Greater Confidence
Climbing is as much a mind game as a game of strength and technique and when you warm up, you prime your mind to climb. Not only does a good warm-up activate your movement repertoire, but it cues your body to the task at hand: crushing.
5. Improved Flow
Climbing is all about rhythm and rhythm is hard to achieve when you go in cold. This is why effective warming up does not just involve a few hangs on your Maverick (as important as these are) but at least one route near your redpoint grade.
6. Improved Recovery
Warming up reduced muscle soreness and stiffness by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the muscles, helping them to recover more quickly between climbing sessions.
7. Better Joint Health
Climb long enough and you’ll experience joint pain. After all, despite our primate origins, human bodies aren’t designed to hang from walls but walk along their base. When you spit in the face of evolution, evolution spits back. One way to shield yourself from the consequences of doing things our bodies aren’t designed to do is to, yes, warm up before doing them.
8. Increased Longevity
Finally, warming up increases the longevity of your climbing career by supporting all of the above and, crucially, boosting your enjoyment of climbing. When you warm up before trying hard, your focus improves, your fear drops, your performance spikes, and (hopefully!) you return home feeling better about what you accomplished on the wall.
Want to know more about warming up, training, or just about anything else related to rock climbing? Check out the wealth of knowledge stored on our blog!
Featured Climbing Training Gear
Maverick: The on-the-go, bring it anywhere hangboard. On a family road trip to keep your fingers in shape. We like to bring this to the crag with us to keep our fingers warm—without losing skin on mediocre warm-ups—at that steep, thuggy sport crag.
The Rocket Wall: Available in 6’ and 8’ widths, it’s been tough for us to keep up with the demand for this innovative home climbing wall solution. Slightly overhanging, the Rocket Wall is big enough to set routes on, or to build a systems board.
The Rock-Stah: Our handcrafted version of a traditional hangboard, with curving crimp rails to help alleviate unnecessary strain on your pulleys. Because ain’t no one got time for a finger injury…
The Rocketeer Wall: our free-standing adjustable solution for those who can’t mount a hangboard anywhere in their home or apartment—or who are limited on space. The Rocketeer gives climbers the additional option to set specific climbing holds. Recreate the crux holds of your proj and get ready to send, bruh.