Stretching is a very important part of any physical activity and should also be a part of warming. However remember warm up to then stretch, do not to stretch to warm up. As stretching requires you to have warmed up. As our muscular-skeletal system can be seen like a blob of silly putty, if you try and pull it apart whilst cold it can snap easily, whilst if you take time to warm it up, the putty stretches.
So having warmed up you should move onto some stretching exercises. As being warmed-up means you are far less likely to injure yourself by pulling a muscle whilst stretching.
Warm up to stretch, don’t stretch to warm up
Stretching muscles regularly will increase their useful range of movement. Sometimes we are forced into brutal geometries, wide bridging or contorted positions and if you are not flexible it will be hard to use your muscles at the limit of a your mobility.
To get the most out of your stretching you shouldn’t bounce in the stretch, instead just go gradually as far as is comfortable and hold that position for at least ten seconds. If you bounce, the muscles and tendons stretch like an elastic band and unless you hold the position for long enough they will not elongate. As your exibility improves with regular stretching, you will be able to hold the stretches for longer.
As well as stretching before your session after a good warm-up, more drastic improvements can be made by taking time to stretch in your daily routine. Yoga or Pillates will aid flexibility as well as tone muscle and build core strength. When stretching to train exibility, hold your stretch for at least twenty seconds, you should be able to build up to holding them for a minute.
Your sports physiotherapist may offer PNF (Prepriorceptor neuromuscular facilitation) stretching. This is an advanced form of stretching that requires expert supervision to avoid injury. A physiotherapist can measure your gains in flexibility as well as offer advice and treatment on the general aches and pains of climbing.
As a lazy warm up for stretching sessions at home you can take a hot shower or bath.