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Stretching and mobility with Emily: Trunk and ribs

Trunk and ribs

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 Glutes

Start by sitting on the roller with a straight back, 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 Ribs

With this roll its important to keep a lot weight on your hips and lower leg as too much weight can be quite painful. Only lower as much weight it as you are comfortable with. Roll from the top to the bottom of your ribs.

Rolling Lower Back

Similar to the ribs but lower and slightly twisted. Again, spread the weight between the roller, hips and lower leg.

Rolling Lats

Start laying on your side so that the roller is on the fleshy part of your lat. Use your lower leg and hip to remove some of the pressure from the roller.

Rolling Pec to Lat U

Rather than rolling down the roller with this one you roll across the roller. This will feel quite unpleasant as a climber because of the sheer amount you use your lats. Start laying on your belly and end on your back. Make sure you start at the end of the roller so you don’t fall off the other end while rolling.

Rolling ITB

Start by laying on your side on the roller. Move your weight along the roller starting at the top of your hip to knee. Support your weight with your upper leg and elbow.

When rolling if you find a tight bit of the muscle hang out on it until it softens.

Spine extensions.

This is a yoga- esque movement which helps you warm up so many parts of your body. Start with on knees and stretch you arms forward. Shift your weight forward onto you hands, scooping your nose along the ground. Control this move by keeping tension in your arms, lats and shoulders. Take a deep breathe as you scoop into the extended back position. If you feel a slight pinch in your back take a deep breathe and return to the point where it didn't hurt. Do not force this position if it is uncomfortable.

Cat Cow

Start with your hands square under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Take a deep breath in and arch your back (like a cat) then slowly breathe out and hollow your back (like a cow). Repeat this 5-10 times.

Twist Lunge

Start in a deep lunge and 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. Its important to twist through your spine rather than just lifting an arm. It is advised to do this bare foot as it helps with balance and the stretch.

Seated head tilt.

Although this doesn’t look much it is amazing how much you feel. Sit with a straight back and legs then reach forward as far as you can with a straight back whether it is your thighs or feet only go as far as you can. Tilt your head forward gently and you will feel the stretch right from your toes to your neck.

Warm down.

Hanging cat

Start with on knees and stretch you arms forward. Move your hands over to one side and without using your arms pull your body up like there is a string on your belly button pulling through your back. You should feel the stretch through your lats and ribs. Take a deep breath into any tightness.

Hurdle twist

Use your arm on the side that your leg is straight to support. Then reach as far as you can to the outside of your straight leg. Hold this position and feel the stretch right through your ribs and trunk and down the back of your stretched leg. Take some nice deep breaths into your belly.

Hurdle twist 2

Staying in the same base position but tuck your fingers under your stretched out leg with your palm facing the sky. Use your other arm to press on your knee and twist your body open. This should feel like it's stretching at the bottom of your rib cage.

Hurdle twist 3

Place your opposite hand on your knee, keep your foot flexed back and back straight. Twist your body and reach over your head for your toes, keep your back straight and your chest open to the side. You will feel your ribs open up and stretch all down your side.

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