As climbers we’re constantly looking for new ways to improve our game and make it to that next grade. Nothing feels better than sending that first problem at a higher level than ever before, dropping down from the top and realizing that our past standards and conceptions of what we could achieve with our bodies has been completely shattered. A whole new realm of possibilities gets opened up in that moment and that was strictly a result of our own hard work and perseverance. At its base this is what climbing is all about, a literal manifestation of breaking through barriers and pushing ourselves to new heights we never dreamed were available to us.
So with all that in mind, how can we achieve these extremely desirable results in the shortest and most efficient way possible? The obvious answer here is to climb, climb as much as we can within the boundaries of safe practice. Nothing will ever replace climbing as a way to train for climbing, however there are compliments to it that will undoubtedly help you get to where you want to be. Enter yoga. A centuries old practice designed to get you more in tune with your body while providing some very tangible benefits such as increased flexibility, dexterity and core strength. Now I realize I sound like I’m talking about something none of you have heard of before, I’m sure all of you have done yoga to some degree at some point in your lives or at least heard of it, but the point remains, it has existed for so long and has gained the popularity it has because it actually works. And now this awesome, healthy practice is once again being offered right here within the walls of Coastal!
Coastal is currently offering three classes a week to its members at just $5 per class (free for premium members) and they are taught by our very own Lesley Leake and English Srader. Lesley has been practicing yoga for ten years now, climbing for five, and teaching for three, making her uniquely suited to help Coastal’s members fully utilize the benefits of yoga in a climbing specific way during her Tuesday and Thursday classes. Tuesday is a vin to yin practice, which starts with the energy building, movement linked to breath principles of Vinyasa yoga, then transitions to the fascia enhancing style of Yin yoga where poses are held for longer durations and the joints are loaded in a safe, secure way to go deep and loosen up those hard to reach muscles. Thursday is power yoga, a class focused on testing you and pushing yourself past what you thought you were able to accomplish with your body, it’s just as much a workout as a yoga practice and will help you develop core strength and stability. The Sunday morning class is lead by English, a long time yoga practitioner and Coastal advocate, where she will take you on a deep dive back into Yin. These popular styles have been carefully chosen to complement each other throughout the week and will work in unison to boost your climbing ability.
As climbers we generally utilize the same muscles over and over again, these are called the agonist muscles, the ones that produce the force needed for a movement to occur. Now that’s all fine and good, but it’s irresponsible to train without considering the other muscles that are being used while climbing, the antagonist muscles. These are the ones that provide opposing torque to whatever movement you’re performing in order to stabilize the agonist muscles while they’re at work. Again, overtraining your agonist muscles while ignoring the antagonist muscles is not good and can lead to serious physiological problems. This is one way you could easily get injured from climbing. Are you feeling sluggish during your climbing sessions? Do you have that annoying injury that‘s not quite bad enough to keep you out of the gym, but also doesn't seem to ever go away? These are some sure fire signs of overtraining. The best thing to do here is rest, rest and let your body recover for probably longer than you want to. Then work back into it slowly, seriously, taking the right amount of time to recover and start training again in a responsible way will keep that small, nagging injury from turning into something far more serious. That’s where yoga comes in, when you‘re ready, adding yoga to your training schedule will help you climb in a more sustainable, injury free way as it leads to the development of the antagonist muscles and balances out your body, while making you more flexible, and giving you a solid core workout, and some great breath work practice, and helping you get more in touch with your body, and and and you get the picture.
In short yoga is something we should all seriously consider adding to our schedules, not to mention they’re phenomenal classes from great instructors that are being offered at a discounted price to members. Do yourself a favor, go give it a shot, I promise you won’t be disappointed.