Warm up

cardio Warming-up is essential before any physical exercise, in particular when the goal is physical performance.

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Jocelyn-William LOUBRIAT

Warming-up is essential before any physical exercise, in particular when the goal is physical performance. A quality warm-up favours and conditions it and also avoids numerous injuries (an injury being the worst contra-performance).

The warm-up must be divided into 2 or 3 phases. The first phase is the general warm-up and it should never be omitted. Unfortunately, that phase is neglected most of the time.

The general warm-up
The goal is to increase the body temperature, essential precondition for a good sliding of the tendons in their sheath, under the pulleys and for good muscular contraction.
Omitting that phase is very harmful to your organism.
The only time loss you will have is the one spent moping about the various injuries that could have been avoided.

You must achieve an increase of the heart and respiratory rhythm, as well as a state of minor sweating and maintain this for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Indoors: rope jumping, running, flexing-straightening up, jumping on the spot, knee bends, heel to buttock, etc. Remember that your bike is an environmentally friendly means of transportation and that it can also be used for general warm-up on the way to and as active recuperation on the way back.

Outdoors: If the way to take is at least 15 minutes and if you have sweat a little, it is your general warm-up and you can go to the next phase. Otherwise: a short run around the climbing area, flexing-straightening up, jumping on the spot, knee bend, heel to buttock, etc.

The direct warm-up
The aim is to stimulate progressively all joints and muscles, to stimulate their sensory sensors, and to prevent injuries.
This work can only be done after a general warm-up.
If a phase has to be sacrificed, than it should be this second phase. However only as an exception.

Movements of flexion-extension of the fingers
Working up fingers with the help of a ball or kneading clay
Rotations of the wrists
Flexion extension of the elbows
Rotation of the shoulders (small circles, big circles, reverse rotation: one arm in one direction and the other arm in another direction…)
Movements of the head: attention, no sudden movement, make slow movements with a moderate amplitude in one direction and then in the other direction…
Rotations of the ankles

Repeat each exercise about 20 times.

The specific warm-up
The aim is to pull progressively on the structures that will be used (not to say mistreated) during trials at maximum level.
The human tendon is not supposed to support the body’s weight on its own. That remains true for everybody, whether at ease in a 6a or in an 8a.
Start climbing without warm up at a level up to 6b is allowed for those wishing to stop climbing before retirement (attention, it is forbidden to complain, you have been warned).
Respecting as much as you can the three phases of the warm up is essential if you want to continue climbing for a long time.

Hanging on big holds.
Traverse by taking all the holds.
Climb at a lower level compared with the maximum without needing to overdo in the first routes.
Increase progressively the difficulty over 3 routes minimum.

Example: maximum level 7a:
1st route: 5a
2nd route: 5c
3rd route: 6a+
4th route: 6c

Example: maximum level 7c:
1st route: 5c
2nd route: 6b
3rd route: 6c
4th route: 7a+/7b

(the examples are specifically chosen on high levels because the “strong” climbers are most of the time the one who neglect that progressiveness and so give a bad example).

If the aim of your session is to realise trials at your maximum level, you can start by realising these trials after a warm up of 45 to 60 minutes. It may seem long, but 10 to 15 minutes of general warm up + 10 minutes of direct warm up + 20 minutes of specific warm up = 40 to 45 minutes, without counting the rests between the different phases.
However, at a closer look: If you have walk or ride your bike to your favourite climbing hall, you start climbing only 10 minutes after having arrived at the location!