Flexibility and climbing : the 3 best spine stretching for climbers

spine flexibility adam ondra climbing

Flexibility is essential for rock climbing. It is what allows your body to adapt to the climbing wall. Most climbers know the benefit of flexible limbs (arms and legs). But forget about the importance of a flexible trunk (spine).

As you can see in the image below from Thieme Anatomy Atlas, the spine is separated into three distinct segments; cervical, thoracic and lumber. This article will focus on the trunk, the area below the neck and above the waist which is made up of the thoracic and lumber segments.

Spine flexibility climbing

The trunk moves in three planes of motion : sagittal, frontal and transverse.

  •     Frontal: Side to Side
  •    Sagittal: Forward and Backward
  •     Transverse: Rotation

Of these three planes of movement, the transverse plane is the most limited in the body and also one of the most important planes of motion for climbing. Improving rotation flexibility in the transverse plane will free up additional possibilities for hold selection on the wall.

Improve flexibilty

Check out the videos below as Brooke Raboutou teaches you the three best exercises to improve your spine mobility.

Thread the Needle Stretch

Begin on your hands and knees. Rock your bottom back towards your heels as you straighten your arms. With the palm facing up, reach one arm underneath the other. Press the back of your hand into the ground and rotate your spine further to increase the stretch. Repeat on the opposite side.

Archer Stretch for flexibility

Begin lying on your left side with your hips and knees bent to 90 degrees. Straighten your arms and rotate your body to the right. Imagine that you have a bow in your left hand. Place an imaginary arrow in the bow with your right hand by rotating to your left. Pull the arrow back by flexing your right elbow. Complete the stretch by rotating your right arm back to the ground and straightening your elbow. Repeat on the opposite side.

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