Stretches for Climbers

Climbing is an intense workout for your upper body, and it’s important to warm up and stretch before you hit the wall. Warming up helps prevent injuries, and stretching helps improve your range of motion.

Here are some stretches to get you started:

Pec stretch: Cross your arms in front of your chest and clasp your hands together. Use your arms to gently pull your chest forward, feeling a stretch in your pecs. Hold for 30 seconds.

Shoulder shrugs: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and let your arms hang at your sides. Shrug your shoulders up to your ears, then release them down. Repeat 10 times.

Bicep curls: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and let your arms hang at your sides. Curl both hands into fists and slowly lift them toward your shoulders. Lower back down and repeat 10 times.

Why stretching is important for climbers

Climbing is an excellent full-body workout that helps improve your strength, endurance, and agility. However, like with any physical activity, it’s important to warm up and stretch before you start climbing. Stretching helps prevent injuries by loosening your muscles and increasing your range of motion. It also helps improve your performance by helping you move more efficiently.

Here are a few stretches that are especially beneficial for climbers:

  • Neck roll: Start with your head upright and your shoulders relaxed. Slowly roll your head to the right, then to the left. Repeat 5 times in each direction.
  • Shoulder rolls: Start with your shoulders relaxed and your arms at your sides. Slowly roll your shoulders up 5 times, then back 5 times.
  • Chest opener: Start by clasping your hands behind your back. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and lift your chest up as you arch backwards slightly. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Hip flexor stretch: Start in a lunge position with your right leg forward and left leg back, both knees bent at 90-degree angles. Keeping your left leg stationary, slowly raise your right arm overhead as you lean forward into the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then repeat on the other side.

Different types of stretches

Climbing can be tough on the body and it is important to take care of your muscles. An important part of taking care of your muscles is stretching. There are many different types of stretches and it is important to find the ones that work best for you. This section will cover some of the different types of stretches and how they can help you.

Static stretches

Static stretches are probably what you think of when you hear the word “stretch.” You know, stand up, reach for your toes, and hold it for 20-30 seconds kind of stretch. Static stretches are great because they can be done pretty much anywhere, they don’t require any equipment, and they don’t take very long. Although they are convenient and effective, research has shown that static stretching before exercise can actually decrease power and performance. So if you are looking to improve your climbing game, save the static stretches for after your session.

Dynamic stretches

Unlike static stretches, dynamic (or ballistic) stretches involve moving parts of your body through a range of motion. Ballistic stretching is generally not recommended because it can lead to injury if not done correctly. However, dynamic stretches that use controlled movements are an excellent way to prepare your body for exercise. Dynamic stretches increase blood flow and body temperature, which can improve power and performance. They also help improve range of motion and flexibility, which is essential for climbing.

Dynamic stretches

Dynamic stretching is a type of stretching that uses momentum created by the body to increase the range of motion in the joints. It is often used as a way to prepare for physical activity, as it can help to increase blood flow and improve flexibility.

Some examples of dynamic stretches include:

  • Lunge with a twist: Step forward into a lunge, then twist your torso and reach your arm up overhead. Repeat on the other side.
  • Leg swings: Rest your hands on a support in front of you (a wall, a tree, etc.), and swing one leg forward and back, maintaining control of the movement. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Arm circles: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms extended out to the sides at shoulder level. Make small circles with your arms, first forwards and then backwards.

Ballistic stretches

Ballistic stretches are a type of Dynamic stretching which uses momentum created by the body to force a joint through its full range of motion. The movement should be controlled and smooth, not jerky. Ballistic stretching can improve your range of motion and may help to prevent injury. However, because this type of stretching puts your joints at risk, it should only be performed under the supervision of a qualified instructor.

Examples of ballistic stretches include:

  • Bouncing on your toes to stretch your calves
  • Using your arms to swing your legs up into the air
  • Jumping up and down

How to stretch

Before you start your rock climbing session, it is important to properly warm up and stretch your muscles. This will help prevent injuries and increase your range of motion. Here are a few stretches that climbers can do to warm up their muscles.

Before climbing

Warm up your muscles before climbing. A good way to warm up is to do some light cardio exercises such as jogging in place or jumping jacks. You can also do some dynamic stretches, which are active movements that take your joints and muscles through a greater range of motion than static stretches. Examples of dynamic stretches include leg swings, arm circles, and trunk rotations. Do each stretch for 10-15 repetitions.

After climbing

Climbing is a strenuous activity that can lead to tight muscles. It is important to stretch after climbing to help your body recover and avoid injury. Here are some stretches that are particularly beneficial for climbers.

Quadriceps stretch:
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your right hand on a wall or other support for balance. Bend your left knee and reach back with your left hand to grab your ankle. Gently pull your heel toward your glutes, keeping your knees close together. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Hamstring stretch:
Sit on the ground with both legs extended in front of you. Place your hands on the ground beside you for support. Bend your right knee and bring your heel toward your glutes, keeping your left leg straight. You should feel a stretch in the back of your left leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Calf stretch:
Place both hands on a wall at about eye level, keeping one leg straight behind you with the heel pressed into the ground and the other leg bent in front of you with the foot flat on the ground. Pressing into the wall, lean forward until you feel a stretch in the calf of your straight leg. Hold for 30 seconds and then press into the wall with both feet to return to starting position before repeating on the other side


While there are many different types of stretches that climbers can do, the four stretches listed above are some of the most effective for improving flexibility and range of motion. If you’re new to stretching, start with one or two stretches and gradually add more as you become more comfortable. Remember to warm up before stretching and to listen to your body – if a stretch feels painful, stop and try another stretch.

Climb Gear Hub