10 Easy And Effective Climbing Stretches


Climbing injuries tend to happen more often than most people would like to think. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to avoid these accidents, one of which is by doing climbing stretches. Exercises like stretching for climbing offers a way to prepare your body before a climb and help it to relax afterward.

Ten Easy and Effective Stretches for Climbing

Below are ten easy and effective stretches that you can do pre-and post-climb.

1. High Kicks

High kicks are simple dynamic climbing stretches that target your lower back, hips, glutes, and legs. They also help get the blood flowing through your lower extremities.

Best Done: Before climbing.

  1. Stand up with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Raise your arms out in front of you with your palms facing the floor. Keep your arms straight and parallel with the ground.
  3. Keeping your back straight, kick your right foot up towards your right hand. Do the same with your left leg and hand. Repeat ten times for each leg.
  4. You can also do another variation of this exercise where you’ll be kicking towards the opposite side (right foot to left hand and vice versa). You’ll need to twist your torso slightly while kicking, so it also works out your abdominals.

2. Arm Swings

Arm swings are effective in stretching and loosening up your shoulder muscles and rotator cuffs, which can be very helpful when you’re reaching for a climbing hold or a rock climbing anchor.

Best Done: Before climbing.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Keeping your back and arms straight, swing your arms back and forth. Repeat ten times.

3. Cactus Stretch

The cactus stretch targets the shoulders, rotator cuffs, and elbows. It may not be a popular stretching exercise in other sports, but it’s a staple in the climbing world.

Best Done: Before climbing.

  1. Stand with your feet close together.
  2. Raise your arms sideways with your palms open and facing forward.
  3. Bend your elbows and lift your hands until you form a 90-degree angle between your biceps and forearms. Be sure that your elbows are in line with your shoulders.
  4. Slowly rotate your hands down until your palms are facing the floor. Again, your elbows should remain in line with your shoulders, and your biceps and forearms are parallel to the floor.
  5. Slowly rotate your arms back up until you’re back into the starting position. Repeat ten times.

4. Knee Pull-ups

Knee pull-ups are great for stretching the legs and glutes. It also helps to loosen up the tendons in the knees. You’ll have to keep an eye on your balance to avoid falling over while doing this stretching for climbing maneuvers.

Best Done: Before climbing.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Slowly raise your right knee towards your chest.
  3. Grab your right knee with both hands and pull it even further up to your chest until you feel the stretch in your legs and glutes. Hold the position for ten to twenty seconds before putting your leg down. Do the same with your left leg.

5. Forearm Flexors

The forearms muscles receive a significant amount of stress and strain while climbing, so you’ll want to make sure that you stretch them properly before hitting the rocks or wall. Here’s one stretching maneuver to help you do just that.

Best Done: Before climbing.

  1. Get down on your knees and place your hands just outside of them. Your palms should be in direct contact with the floor, and your fingers pointed forward.
  2. Keeping your arms and back straight, slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch in your forearms.
  3. When you feel the stretch, hold the position for ten to twenty seconds then slowly return to the starting position.

6. Forearm Extensions

The objective of this exercise is to extend the forearm muscles. It also stretches the biceps, triceps, and tendons at your elbows.

Best Done: After climbing.

  1. Stretch your arms out in front of you. Keep your arms straight and position your hands along your waist-level.
  2. Raise the fingers in your right hand until they’re all pointing upward.
  3. Move your left hand towards your right. Then, rotate your left hand so that the palm faces you.
  4. Place the fingers on your left hand in front of the fingers of your right hand. Then, slowly pull your left hand toward your body to stretch the fingers on your right hand. When you feel the stretch, hold the position for ten seconds.
  5. Next, rotate your right hand so that the palm now faces your body. Keep the fingers resting against the fingers of your left hand. 
  6. Move the fingers of your left hand down to the knuckles of your right hand. Push the knuckles toward your body until you feel a stretch on your wrist and forearms. Hold the position for ten seconds.
  7. Repeat the whole exercise with your left hand.

7. Hip Flexors

Hip flexors stretch the core and loosen the lower back muscles and hamstrings. It also opens up the hips, which is necessary when you do maneuvers like heel hooks.

Best Done: Before and after climbing.

  1. Place your hands on your hips. Wrap your palms around your waist, with your thumbs pointing forward and your other fingers pointing towards the back.
  2. Lunge forward with your right leg. Adjust your feet until you form a 90-degree angle with your calves and leg. Your left leg should remain stretched out behind you with just a little bend on the knee.
  3. Tilt your head backward and look to the ceiling.
  4. Slowly lean backward until you feel your abdominals and hamstrings stretch. You will also feel a squeeze in your lower back muscles. Hold for ten seconds before returning to the original position. Repeat the exercise with your other leg.

8. Hamstring Stretches

Hamstring stretches promote blood flow to the damaged muscle tissues, which gets damaged when doing maneuvers like heel hooks.

Best Done: After climbing.

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you.
  2. Slowly spread your legs open as wide as you can.
  3. Lean forward and reach for your toes while keeping your back straight. You should feel your hamstrings stretch as you go lower. Hold for one minute before returning to the starting position.

Most people make the mistake of hunching over while doing this stretch. This incorrect and may cause more harm than good. The trick is to think about lowering your abdomen towards the floor to help you maintain a straight back. Doing so also helps stretch the hamstrings better.

9. Butterfly

Butterflies help to open up the hips and stretch the lower back muscles. It targets the glutes as well.

Best Done: After climbing.

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you.
  2. Lean forward, reach for your toes, and pull your feet towards your groin. At this point, the soles of your feet would be touching each other, and your knees pointed outwards.
  3. Holding your feet lean forward and bring your stomach down to your feet as low as you can. The sides of your legs and your knees should remain in contact with the floor throughout the exercise.
  4. Hold for one minute then return to the starting position.

10. “T” Stretch

This static stretching maneuver is perfect for stretching and loosening up muscles in your upper body after a climb. It targets the upper back and lower back, pecs, shoulders, and arms. You’re going to need a foam roller for this exercise. If you don’t have one, you can use a rolled-up climbing rope or towel.

Best Done: After climbing.

  1. Put the foam roller on the floor.
  2. Lie on top of the foam roller so that it is vertical against your back.
  3. Stretch out your arms sideways and lower them as much as you can. You should feel a stretch in your pecs and a squeeze in your back at this point.
  4. Hold for one minute before getting up.



Q: What stretches to do before climbing?


Experts recommend doing dynamic stretching before climbing. Unlike static stretching, dynamic climbing stretches include movement in the exercise. Doing so helps to increase loosen up the muscles and tendons while stretching them. Dynamic stretching helps to increase your reach, range of motion, and flexibility.

Q: How do you stretch after climbing?


Post-climb stretches are generally static stretching. These climbing stretches involve getting into and holding a certain position for a set period. Doing so helps to improve blood flow to the damaged muscle tissues that aid in the recovery process. It also helps reduce feelings of tightness and soreness after a day of climbing.

Q: Should you stretch before rock climbing?


Yes, performing stretching for climbing routines along with some climbing warm-up exercises before rock climbing is essential in many ways. These ensure that the bones, muscles, and tendons are properly primed for the activity ahead, which in turn will help you avoid many common climbing injuries.

Q: How do you stretch your forearms after climbing?


You can do forearm flexors, forearm extensions, and other similar stretching routines. Just remember that the stretching for climbing exercises you need to do are static stretches and not dynamic stretches. Although doing dynamic stretches are okay after a climb, they are most effective when done before climbing.

Globo Surf Overview

Proper warm-ups and climbing stretches are essential in helping prevent climbing injuries. By warming up and doing some stretching for climbing, your body will be more capable of handling the challenge ahead. Stretching is also a great way of cooling down after a climb. Stretching before a climbing adventure is one way that you have a great day at the rocks and a night of relaxing sleep.

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