A good warm-up is crucial for a fruitful climbing day. When you go for a workout, it’s obvious you start with a warm-up. First, a general one, then you increase the level of difficulty. Once you feel strong enough to hold any junk crimp or turn handles on the ceiling, you start pumping it up on tough boulders or leads. Why is it, then, that so many people treat the warm-up in rocks so superficially and often reduce it to doing an easier route? What if there are no warm-up routes where we go climbing or if your skin doesn’t allow you to do an intense warm up on the rock?

This is when your priority should be a general warm-up and a few extra exercises to warm up your fingers. IURA Warm Up is the perfect accessory for this task. It will save your skin for the project.

First of all, no matter how long and tiring the approach is, always start the warm-up with some general exercises. Do swings, circles and multi-joint exercises that will stimulate your whole body and every joint, as well as boost the circulation.

Then, choose a few more difficult, strength exercises and use your body weight for them. Once you mount the hangboard on the first ring (preferably in a light overhang), a branch, legde or another place where you can hang comfortably. Don’t worry if you can’t find a spot like this. Each exercise can be done with the legs supported on the ground, which doesn’t make them much easier.

1. SHOULDER GIRDLE ACTIVATION - tightening the shoulder blade during free hanging on a horizontal bar

Comfortably grab the Hangboard in the horizontal bar version with a top grip (if you have the 1.0 version of the bar, make sure you don’t rotate it). Start with free hanging (photo 1) and, tightening the back and shoulder muscles, push your chest slightly upwards, extending the head from between the shoulders and tightening the lower shoulder blade angles cornerwise (photo 2).
It is important not to bend your hands during the exercise. This is only the first phase of the pull-up. Do 10 to 15 repetitions.

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Grab the Hangboard in the horizontal bar version with a top grip (fingers on the iura sign side), do 10-12 pull-ups. Select the version of the exercise in such a way that it is a warm-up for you. If your maximum is doing 6 pull-ups, do 12 jumps into Frenchies and do only the lowering phase, or do it in non-weight bearing, using a rock, a tree etc.
Remember to control the motion of the shoulder blades when doing pull-ups, so that the head does not fall in between the shoulders. The first phase of the pull-up is the previous exercise, so always begin by tightening the shoulder blades and only then should you do the pull up motion. When doing pull-ups, keep the torso (core) tightened and engaged as well.

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Choose the warm-up version of the crimps. Adjust to your capability so that the maximum for a given crimp is hanging for ca. 18-20 seconds. You have as many as 4 types of crimps to choose from: the basic 24 and 20 mm and 16 and 12 mm with the use of spacers.
After selecting the crimps, do from 2 to 4 series of hanging in extended grip and in half-open grip, in a 10s hanging 10s rest x 5 repeats system. Do 2-3 minutes rest intervals between exercise rounds. If you don’t have or don’t want to use a timer when you are on the rocks, a good idea is counting 121,122,123 etc.
When hanging, remember to engage the shoulder blades. Never hang on a loose shoulder girdle with your head between your shoulders.

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4. CHANGING THE GRIP TYPE ON THE CRIMPS (NOTE! Only for advanced climbers)

Do 10-12 transitions from an extended grip (photos 9 and 11) to a little bow (photos 10 and 12). Depending on how advanced you are, choose a crimp and the performance of an exercise in hanging or in non-weight bearing. You can perform the exercise with both hands or with one hand. Especially in the non-weight bearing version, it is worth to play around with both versions. Well-pumped forearms guaranteed!

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A few important tips you should apply to all of the exercises:

  • Remember that you can always change the exercise difficulty level by going into non-weight with your leg.
  • When there is no possibility to mount the Hangboard and hang, show some creativity and mount it so as to be able to do the exercises in non-weight, standing on the ground.
  • Remember that a good alternative for exercises with both hands when hanging are exercises with one hand in non-weight.
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Remember that this is only a warm-up! Always select the difficulty and amount of exercises as per your capabilities. These are exercises which are supposed to stimulate you and make you slightly tired. Therefore, do not choose the versions which are the most difficult for you. Adapt the exercises and the way you mount the Hangboard to the current place and possibilities.

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Tomek Rumianowski
Polish Climbing Association certified trainer