Climbing / School / Warming Down
by Rich Simpson
After a good hard day at the crag or session at the wall, most people’s idea of a warm down is getting to the bar as quickly as possible and then lifting a pint of beer to and from their mouths all night whilst chatting about their adventures at the crag. Unfortunately this is not a sufficient end to a day’s climbing/training and it is essential that you complete a warm down.
A good warm down is equally as important as a good warm up, since after physical exercise the body must make a number of adaptations during the recovery period and unfortunately drinking plenty of beer and filling up on pork scratchings is not one of them!
The muscles which have been working whilst climbing become less active when climbing has ceased. This results in a build up of waste products in the muscles which must be removed sufficiently to prevent stiffness and soreness. Whilst resting, the muscles do not produce enough force to remove waste products; therefore it is essential to continue moving the muscles after a climbing session in a gentle, rhythmic fashion until the body has returned to a near resting state. This sort of warm down should only take between 10 and 15 mins. and will prevent muscle soreness the following day and also aid recovery, hence making your training session more worthwhile and preventing injury.
A warm down doesn’t need to be boring. It can consist of climbing a few very easy routes, jogging, or other aerobic style movements – anything that will continue to aid blood flow around the muscles. However, it is very important whilst warming down that the body is only worked gently. If you feel like you’re having to work too hard then there is a good chance that you are. A warm down should be very easy and enjoyable and your body should be reduced to a resting state in about 10-15 minutes.