Learn the 7-Steps to an Excellent Warm-up for Serious Training and Performance Climbing.

One of the most powerful concepts I coach is that simple and seemingly “minor things” can make a MASSIVE difference in your training results and climbing performance. This is why I use the word “nuance” so often in my Training For Climbing podcasts!

Warming up before training and climbing is one of those “minor things” that many people do hastily–or dismiss completely. Little do they know that they’re sabotaging their ability to train and climb their best. They will likely get “flash pumped” and leak energy, fail to recruit full power, move inefficiently and with undue tension, fail prematurely on near-limit movements, and perhaps even set the stage for experiencing a muscle spasm, tendon tweak, or worse.

In this podcast, coach Horst provides rich detail on how to perform the perfect warm-up. Yes, it’s a relatively slow process with lots of details and nuance. But taking the time to warm up completely will set you up for an optimally effective workout and just maybe a low-gravity send day!


0:30 – First thoughts on warming up — it’s not sexy, but doing it right is essential if you’re to train/climb your best!

2:38 – Different training/climbing situations demand different approaches to warming up.

3:55 – Doing the perfect warm-up will build confidence, empower you to release full power…and is a contributing factor to “low gravity days”.

5:00 – Why what most people do (or call) a “warm-up” isn’t enough.

6:30 – How you feel on your boulders and routes is massively influenced by your warm-up…or lack of it.

9:30 – The “perfect” warm-up is personal–experiment to discover what gives you the best results.

11:30 – Hone in on your perfect warm-up protocol–make it repeatable!

12:20 – A repeatable warm-up empowers you to use autoregulation of your day’s training or climbing plan. This is a powerful topic covered in podcast #20. Listen here >>


16:52 – Step 1: Spend a few minutes firing up your cardiovascular system. It’s a small investment of time/effort, but it’s vital for preparing the body for the remainder of the warm-up protocol.

19:12 – Step 2: Engaging in some dynamic stretching activities to lubricate connective tissues and joints. (A bit of static stretching of the legs and hips may be useful to increase range of motion before climbing.) Perform some low-intensity climbing movements provides a good dynamic warm-up of the tendons, ligaments, shoulders, core, hips, and more!

21:54 – Step 3: Activate the climbing-specific muscles (agonists) with a series of progressively more difficult pull-up movements and finger hangs (various grip positions).

26:34 – Step 4: Turn on your power! This step requires you to do some quick movements with the climbing muscles (power pull-ups, a small amount of campusing on large holds, and similar) to increase the rate of force development (for maximal finger contact strength and dynamic climbing power).

32:00 – Step 5: Turn on the anaerobic lactic and climbing-specific aerobic energy systems with a few warm-up routes or bouldering intervals that get you moderately pumped (level 8 out of 10 pump). Don’t NOT climb to the point of a severe (flash) pump and muscular failure during your warm-up–this will adversely affect the rest of your session.

36:10 – Step 6: Turn on the antagonist muscle with a set of push-ups (or one set of moderately heavy bench press), a submaximal set of dips, a set of shoulder press, and some rotator cuff (one set of external rotation) and scapular stabilizer warm-ups using a TRX sling training or exercise band.

41:25 – Step 7: Perform a targeted core warm-up. Yes, doing a few sets of core exercises to fully recruit the core before performance climbing can be game-changing!

45:35 – 90-second podcast sponsor message — Learn how you can climbing better, gain strength and endurance, recover faster, and become more injury resistant with PhysiVantage! 

47:00 – Learn how to adjust your warm-up protocol for 3 common climbing and training situations.

47:30 – #1: An easy session at the gym or day of climbing bouldering or climbing.

49:10 – #2: A session of high-end training in the gym, or near-limit bouldering.

53:20 – #3: Route climbing for performance in the gym or at the crag.

1:00:45 – Closing thoughts. PLEASE write a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts…and SHARE this podcast with a friend or on social media!


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Thank yous: La Sportiva, Maxim Ropes, DMM Climbing, Friction Labs, Organic Climbing.

Music by Misty Murphy

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