Monday, December 15, 2008

Putting the Science in Warming Up

Body tension?

In science, If you can't reproduce a result it is shit. Any screw ball can do something once.

Climbing is different. We'll work on a route for days or even years just to pull it off once.

This doesn't work when it comes to warming up, if you don't do it every time you climb your fingers will get hurt. As the weather gets colder, I have been striving to be more scientific about my warm ups; to develop a program that results in warm supple fingers and arms in any conditions. I've been making note of the things I do early in the day and keeping track of how my fingers fair throughout the day. My sample size is small (just me) but here are a few things I have found that seem to work:

1) Greet the Sun. Plan your day so the first bit of it is somewhere that gets morning sun.

2) The warm up starts on the hike in. Even if its only a few minutes, shoot to be sweating lightly by the time you touch rock... if this isn't happening put on more clothes.

3) "Coffee is my spinach." -Peter Croft. Drink something warm in the morning and throughout the day if you need it.

4) Do a little dance. If you aren't warm by the time you reach the rock jump around till you are. Do yoga, relive gym class, pretend you are Brittany Spears, Whatever. Just move into you start to sweat a bit then stop (If your clothes are soaked you went to far).

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5) Work into it. Now that your blood is warm you have to get it into your fingers. Don't jump right on small holds, do some hand exercises ( I like the Metolius "gripsaver" pictured above; I can keep my hands in my pocket while I use it). Grip some holds from the ground. Keep your warm coat on and keep moving around to keep that blood warm. Stretch. As you warm up try some hangs and short links on the bits of the rocks you can reach. If your fingers aren't feeling it put on more clothes, jump around some more or go get soem coffee and wait for the sun.

6) Dress to rest. Bring enough clothes that you don't have to always be moving. I'm a wimp so this usually means a poofy coat or two.

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