Stretching exercises

cdfms Stretching exercices are essential for recovery but also to prevent from injuries. Many videos.

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Jocelyn-William LOUBRIAT

The following stretching exercises should be done after each training session as a recovery tool. They can be done immediately after the training or a few hours later. However, after hard training sessions or competitions, it could be better not to pull too much immediately after effort – you’d better wait until the next day.

The goal is trying to find the best slackening possible of the muscle: make the contractures, that block the good vascularization of the fibres, disappear. The aim here is not trying to gain amplitude “to be more supple”. Stretching is used for recovery, which guarantees better performance and prevents microtraumas.

Above all, during a stretching session, you must listen to your body. You need to pay attention to your sensations and take the time to learn to feel them. You should not reproduce a mechanical movement; everybody needs to adapt his or her position according to his or her feeling.

To carry out a stretching exercise:

1. Take a position to put the muscle under tension and take time to adopt the right position.

2. Once the right position is found (and only when you get it), slightly heighten the tension without jolts (do not mix up tensioning and torture. It must not be painful. You should not make faces while stretching).

3. Breathe calmly, without forcing. In the same time, concentrate on the slackening of the stretched muscle while maintaining a constant tension during 15 to 20 seconds.

4. Slowly loosen the tension.

Methodology of the session:

In order not to forget any muscle and to make your stretching session become automatic, try to do it methodically by adopting a logical order like the one I suggest below:

Start at one end, 
Stretch one side, 
Then the other, 
Do it 2 more times,

Then take the muscle back up progressively by stretching one muscle and then its antagonist.

The short movies below start with the hand, continue with the upper limb, then go down the trunk and finish with the lower limb. The last movies show stretching exercises of musculo-aponeurotic structures.

Upper limbs and trunk


Interosseous muscles are located between the metacarpals of the palm of the hand. They are highly strained in our sport, so it is important to stretch them regularly to keep an optimal mobility of the hand.

[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_01"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]
flex_dgt Finger and wrist flexor
Located in the forearm, these muscles are the “key” muscles of our sport. We stretch them intuitively but not always in the right manner. Here is how to do.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_02"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]
ext_dgt Finger and wrist extensors
Also located in the forearm but at the back side, they are highly strained too when practising with climbing holds, especially when pinching tufas.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_03"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]
Biceps brachii and anterior deltoid
The biceps is one of the big muscles of the elbow flexion; traction and blocking are its main functions. However it needs to preserve a maximum of its “liberty” to accomplish its other role: the lowering of the head of the humerus.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_04"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]
triceps Triceps brachii and teres major
The triceps enables the elbow extension, which is useful for low blocking and dynamic movements. The teres major is a muscle of the “rotator cuff”; it is an internal rotator, contractures of this muscle are common. 
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_05"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]
deltpost Posterior deltoid and rhomboids
Located at the posterior side of the shoulder and between the shoulder blades, this region is always used a lot.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_06"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]
gdpect Pectoralis major
It is located in the chest area, it is much strained for slope and tends to lock the shoulders forward – regular stretching may avoid getting kyphosis.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_07"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]
gddorsal Latissimus dorsi (broadest muscle of the back)
It is a very strong and highly strained muscle that also contributes to kyphosis. It is the last one of the 3 big muscles (teres muscle, pectoral and dorsal). Trio of the internal rotation and of the lowering of the arm.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_08"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]
gddroit Rectus abdominis muscles
Six packs are “nice” but it should not limit your mobility. Improving muscle strength and exercising abs should not be done at the expense of mobility, otherwise your will lose effectiveness.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_09"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]
oblique Abdominal external oblique muscle
“abs” have straight (see above) and crossed fibres. The latter enables the torsion of the trunk and also need to keep their whole amplitude.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_10"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]
lombaires Paravertebral lumbar muscles
These muscles of the “low back” are sometimes overworked. Relaxing them regularly is very important.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_11"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]

Lower limbs

Psoas muscle
Hooked on the anterior side of the lumbar column and in close relation with the latissimus dorsi, it is a highly strained muscle and its power represents a nasty hindrance for our mechanism.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_21"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]


Gluteus muscles
If they are highly strained during the approach to Céüse, so are they during dynamic climbing where you need to push strongly on your legs.
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This anterior muscle of the thigh inserts in the pelvis and conditions its position. The liberty of the quadriceps is essential for a good liberty of the pelvis and therefore of the spinal column.
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Antagonists of the quadriceps, hamstrings also help positioning the pelvis. Maintaining their mobility reduces the risk of pulling the muscle during a heel hook.
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Hip adductors

Internal muscles of the thigh, they are mainly strained in approaches and of course in all activities of walking or running.
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Triceps surae muscle
The “calf” is a triceps, that is, a three-headed muscle. Two of the bundles of muscles stretch with the extended knee; the third one, called Soleus, stretches with the knee bend and should not be forgotten.
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Tibialis anterior muscles and extensors of the toes
The tibialis anterior is highly strained during running, in particulardownhill running.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_27"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]


Flexor digitorum longus
The muscle structure of the foot is highly strained when climbing. Stretching exercises but also self-massages allow a positive relaxation.
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Stretching of the myoaponeurotic system

Flexion and closing systems (upper limbs)
Tensioning the envelopes of the anterior muscles (aponeuroses) of the thorax and the upper limbs.
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Extensions and openings (upper limbs)
Tensioning of the posterior aponeurosis of the thorax and the upper limbs.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_42"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]


Lower limbs flexions and trunk extensions
Tensioning of the posterior aponeurosis of the lower limbs and the trunk.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_43"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]


Lower limbs extensions and trunk flexions
Tensioning of the anterior aponeurosis of the lower limbs and the trunk.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_44"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]