Brute strength, ambition and perseverance can get you pretty far when you first start bouldering, but sooner or later you’ll be looking up at a route thinking ‘How the fuck am I going to send this one?!’ If this is you, or if you’re looking to take your bouldering and rock climbing to the next grade, these 5 yoga moves could be the key.
The first time I went bouldering I think I fell in love. It wasn’t with the athletic, capable, chalk-covered climbers at the local gym, no, I fell in love with the challenge of the walls. At some point, as the climbs got harder, the toe-holds became smaller than my skate shoes could handle, so I began wearing climbing shoes.
It worked, the shoes unlocked a whole new set of challenges. I was no longer limited by the level of grip, feel and leverage of the shoes I was wearing. Think of your body like it’s a pair of shoes – ‘Be the shoes…’
So How Is Yoga Like A New Pair Of Shoes?
Tim Guthrie works with sports organisations to help athletes with sport specific movement training. Part of his philosophy centres around the idea of removing the limits of the body, so your mind is free to focus on the sport.
It’s like when I’m wearing my new climbing shoes, I know that they’ll grip when I need them to, I don’t even think about it. Tim thinks the body should work the same way.
‘If you’re climbing and you’re worrying about whether you’re flexible enough to twist for that hold, then you’re thinking about your body more than the climb. But if you know that you’re flexible, if you know that you’re strong, then when you’re up on the wall, you’re free to just climb.’
When Tim looks at bouldering, rock climbing, or any other sport, he’s looking at what’s needed to improve and perform effectively. His training examines the physical needs, the movement of the body, the mental aspects, breathing, even spirituality. And this is why he turns to yoga with many of the athletes he works with.
Massive thanks and much love to Tim for sharing these five yoga moves to help you free your mind and climb better.
# 1 Meditation Pose
Bouldering benefits – centres your mind, focuses breathing, brings a sense of calm to support you during difficult moments on the wall (oh and it gives your feet a nice stretch!)
# 2 Plank Pose
Bouldering benefits – develops balance, increases core strength, develops shoulder strength and stability.
# 3 Downward Facing Dog
Bouldering benefits – lengthens hamstrings and calves, strengthens fingers and toes, engages core, sense of lifting.
# 4 Forward Fold
Bouldering benefits – improves shoulder and hamstring mobility, opens shoulders and pecs, counteracts ‘rounding’ (the effects of office work on the back).
# 5 Single Leg Standing Poses (Tree, Eagle)
Bouldering benefits – improves single leg balance, works glutes, challenges and strengthens knees and ankles.
Keen to learn more? We’re running a Yoga for Climbers event in Sydney with Arc’teryx Athletes Dom Douglas and Olivia Page. Get your tickets before they’re all gone!
Keen to take your bouldering to the next level? Check out what WAE have brewing…