Forget everything you’ve ever heard about Pilates. Its not just for dancers and movie stars–it’s for climbers, too. For 60 years Pilates has proven itself as a superior method of cross training for athletes. As a climber, have you ever wished you were taller to make a big reach, or more flexible for a high step? Not only does Pilates make tall moves, high steps, and rock-overs easier, it improves your core strength and balance. In addition, Pilates helps keep your shoulders and elbows healthy and strong.
Muscles imbalance and lack of flexibility are the primary culprits responsible for climber injuries to the shoulders and elbows. The harder you climb, the greater the stress on your body and the more at risk you become for injury. By dedicating just 15 minutes, three day per week to performing the following exercises you’ll be on your way to climbing harder and avoiding injury. Following are four exercises to get you started; visit www.BlueSkyPilates.com for more climbing-specific Pilates exercises or to schedule a one-on-one session. –Lauri Stricker
The Roll Up
Purpose: Stretches the hamstrings & lats, while strengthening the core. Lie on your back w/your feet flexed and arms over head. Draw you stomach flat. Bring your arms upward, lift your head to look at your feet and curl up one vertebra while reaching for your toes.
The Swan to Child’s Pose
Purpose: To open the chest and draw the shoulders back and down. Lie on your stomach with your legs and feet squeezing together. Place your palms flat on floor with elbows near your ribs. Inhale and press up drawing your shoulder blades down and lift your sternum. Engage your gluteus muscles to support your low back. End set with Child’s Pose stretch. Turn your head to the right, and then roll it through to the left.
Purpose: Strengthen the chest, shoulders and core muscles. Single leg works balance. Begin standing, roll down and walk out with to pushup position. Do 5-15. Walk back in, roll up. Extend one leg and bring arms overhead. Hinge at the hips and walk out to push-up position. Repeat with other leg.
Purpose: Strengthen triceps to keep elbows and shoulders injury free. Place palms on chair. Keep back and legs straight. Lift your sternum, draw shoulder blades down, and keep your stomach flat. Inhale to lower, exhale to lift.
PHOTOS: 5.12 climber and Colorado-based Pilates instructor, Lauri Stricker.
Copyright 2006 Eric J. Hörst. All rights reserved.