Training Tips for Climbers: Is Flexibility Holding You Back?
There comes a certain point in your climbing when you realise that a lack of hip flexibility may be holding you back from doing certain moves or even whole projects.
Having a good range of movement (ROM) in your hips is essential for high steps and stemming. Everyday things like driving or cycling to work and sitting at a desk contribute to tight hamstrings, which in turn can make your hip and groin muscles tighter.
Here are some tips on why, how and when to work on your hip flexibility…
- WHY? Ultimately, if you’re unable to move a limb or joint into or through a certain range of movement, then you’ll never reach the highest economy of movement (AKA climbing efficiency). This is hugely important because if we’re inefficient, we’ll need to be stronger and fitter for the grade compared to our peers… Not ideal!
- HOW? The key for flexibility work is that it has an element of exploring and stressing the whole range of movement specific to your sport, and also that you’re working strength through that range. It’s great to be flexible but you don’t want to be weak and flexible!
There’s lots of varying advice on flexibility, but one consistent theme is that you must work it regularly and time spent working each ROM will need to be significant. (Check out our free Flexibility follow along sessions on our YouTube channel).
- WHEN? Lots of climbers get obsessed with not doing flexibility work pre-workout because of a number of studies stating loss of strength post-stretch. What’s often forgotten or ignored is that these studies also looked at effects in the 5-20 min window. Another factor that’s overlooked is that improving your passive and active ROM of pre-workout will allow you to access more efficient movement patterns… which of course means they then become engrained.