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Stretching and mobility with Emily: Hips


Here at The Project we have a brilliant team of focused climbers who have come from every background. Emily has been climbing for 19 years but before that she started off as a gymnast. Through her sporting career she has learnt a lot about mobility, injury prevention and management. Emily is one of our head instructors who also runs the Secret Circus Aerial School. Her flexibility helps her reach competition finals, fold in half on a ring or silks and provides crucial beta on some hard problems. So, I decided it would be a good idea to share a bit of her knowledge with The Project family.

These posts will focus on different parts of the body, each one giving ideas on how to warm up, mobilise and cool down for climbing. Carry out the stretches and exercises with care and control. Do not force any of the positions and take it easy please guys! If you are not sure of your form or need a little more instruction feel free to chat to Emily as she is always happy to help.

Warm up.

Complete all the moves for warm up and cool down for 30 seconds to a minute each.

Rolling Feet

Start by standing on the roller, gather your balance and then rock backwards and forward gently. This may be easier beside a wall if your balance isn’t too great!

Rolling Calves

Simply sit down with your calves resting on the roller. Cross your legs to apply more pressure to the lower calve. As you roll from the top of your calve to the bottom twist your body so that you roll the sides as well.

Rolling Shins

Start by kneeling on the foam roller and roll from the base of your knee to the top of your foot.

Rolling Quads

Lay on top of the roller with the roller just below your hips. Slowly roll forward so that the roller is just above your knees. You can increase the stretch by bringing one leg up which applies more pressure to the lower leg.

Rolling Hamstrings

Start by sitting on the roller with a straight back, roll backwards so that the roller is at the base of your knees. You can increase the pressure by lifting one leg off.

Rolling Glutes

Similar to the hamstrings start sat on the roller. Lift one leg and place it on your knee. Unlike the other roller exercises this one you do a circular motion rather than rolling backwards and forwards. Repeat with opposite leg on knee.

Rolling ITB (Iliotibial band)

Start by laying on your side on the roller. Move your weight along the roller starting at the top of your hip to knee. If you find a tight bit of the muscle while rolling, remain stationary on it until it softens.

Walking Lunges

The pictures describe the motion well. The main things to consider is keeping a straight back, relaxed shoulders and a neutral head. It is also important to keep your feet shoulder distance apart and keep your knees directly above ankle.


Start with your hands on the floor behind your hips with your fingers facing away. Put your feet out in front and lift your bum off the floor. Push your hips to the sky, open the chest and look up. Hold for a few seconds, lower down and repeat. Two sets of 5 should do the trick. Listen to your body, there's no need to push too far.


Start with your legs quite far apart and sink in to a squat while raising your hands in to the pray position. From this position stand and spin on the spot to face the other way. Then sink back in to the same position but facing the other way. Keep making these deep squats until you reach the end of green mat.

Low Sideways Lunge

Again starting with your legs quite far apart, lower your hips over one leg with your back straight. Straighten the leg which you are not sat on and point your toes. Shift your weight to one side so that your weight is over your other leg, its important to keep your hips as low as you can. When you have shifted over, bounce your other foot under and start again in the same position. These movements should move you along the green matting.

Hip Flexor Sequence

The final warm up is to start on one knee keeping your back straight and your legs at right angles. Keep your hips square and your front foot planted on the ground. Raise both of your arms to the sky and tilt your body over your raised leg. Its important to keep your rib cage from collapsing so put special effort in keeping an engaged core. Raise your body back to upright. Now lean forward so your hands are flat on the ground, keeping your back straight. Raise one hand at a time straighten right through your body. It can be very handy to have a friend to check your form.

Cool Down

Side Stretch

Start with your legs apart, shoulders relaxed and back straight. Raise one arm and lean over to one side, keep you rib cage open to prevent folding. Repeat this with your other arm.

Hip Flexor - Straight

This stretch has 3 stages depending on your flexibility but are essentially the same. Start with your hips facing forward and your front knee bent at 90 degrees with your foot firmly on the ground. Your back knee needs to be directly underneath you with your shin and top of your foot on the ground. If you can’t feel the stretch move your foot so that your toes are pressed in to the ground. Still no stretch? Try pressing through your toes and lifting your shin on the ground.

Hip Flexor – Hands Up

This starts and holds the same position as the stretch above but has your arms raised above your head. Use the same 3 stages to progress the stretch.

Hip Flexor – Tilt to the Side

This holds the same position as the two before but adds a gentle tilt. Keep your rib cage open and make sure not to fold over. Use the same 3 stages to progress the stretch.


You will need a good solid wall for this one. Sit up against the wall with your back as flat as possible to the wall. Keep your bum pressed in to the wall as you will find it wiggles away. Gently press your knees down to the ground. To increase the stretch, push your hands with your knees for 5 seconds and then return to your hands applying the pressure down.

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