21 days of yoga

We've spent a long time improving various strengths. Finger, forearm, shoulder, back, and all the rest. It's been fun and productive, which is why we kept polishing. Our climbing coach has made it obvious that our problem is no longer the strength, it's how we can apply it. We primarily are limited by technique, and secondarily by range of motion. Time to reset and try something else. Enter yoga.

The problem

We have nothing against yoga per sé. We both don't have much with the "zen" and "meditative" aspects of what is elaborate stretching. Yes yes, that depends on what style of yoga you do. That's not a judgement on wether it works or not — only that we don't care for it.

Years of strength and power targeted training has left us a bit stiff. We have good strength in the middle ranges, but it drops in the extended positions. Especially spine, hip and shoulder mobility are key to make the technical moves. Lieke needs higher hip mobility to make high foot placements work due to her height. Arie needs to work on shoulder and hips to do extended, twisting moves.

We have attempted to do regulated mobility programs. We tried them in the rests of our hangboarding sessions, or as a separate thing after a strength workout. We didn't like it much, and at the end of a few weeks interest in doing it flagged. Bummer

The reset

By coincidence, we are both injured at this moment. Climbing gyms are closed, and our issues haven't resolved themselves. That's due to the continued high training volume that keeps stressing those areas. The constant wave of training is starting to grind us down a bit. It's kind of the perfect time to take a break. To make sure that yoga gets a chance at producing results, we put both everything on hold for three weeks.

Three weeks of no "real" exercise. Ugh.

Three weeks is a bit long, and there will be some detraining. We haven't started strenght training again, so it'll be a second before we find out how much.

The plan

We looked at a few different "providers" of yoga tutorials, and we settled on Karin Dimitrovova's Beyond Flexibility program. There was no particular reason to pick her over any of the others. We just had to start somewhere and didn't know enough about the practice to make an educated call. For what it's worth, we're pretty happy with her methods. In a few months we'll switch to someone else and see how they do things.

The results

Not climbing because of COVID is hard. Not running, hangboarding, and strength training makes it much worse. We're missing it dearly. Yoga can't fix that, because it just isn't exercise in our book — even if they say we're doing things to strengthen various body parts.

That said, it has produced results. We can do things we couldn't do before. We feel more flexible, whatever that means. This may be partially because we're not wearing a suit of swollen, stiff muscles now. The more tangible results:

  1. Improved deep squats in both form and duration
  2. Learned to do a wheel pose
  3. Improved hip flexor flexility

That's pretty good for 20-30 minutes every day, six days per week for three weeks. We're happy, even if all the "belly breathing" still isn't for us. We do it because we're told to do it, but in our mind we're still rolling our eyes.

We'll keep at this. We hope that the results stay even when we start up our strength- and climbing circuit plans again. We'll keep you posted.

All posts

  1. 21 days of yoga

  2. Here's to staying strong

  3. Second COVID lockdown

  4. Another 6 week plan

  5. Footwork is afoot

  6. First time climbing with a trainer

  7. The 5C Pump Challenge

  8. The risk pyramid

  9. Ardennes Multipitch Course

  10. In defense of Black Diamond Circuit approach shoes

  11. Zlagboard Pro 2.0

  12. Mammut Gym Workhorse Classic rope

  13. Updated 6w plan

  14. Lead Climbing Course Done

  15. Beta spraying

  16. Second alpine fitness test

  17. Marking gear

  18. New grade FTW 💪💪💪

  19. That climbing shoe smell

  20. Training without climbing

  21. Problemsolver Triangle

  22. Ardennes ⛰ part deux

  23. Theragun, updated

  24. Lead climbing class

  25. A thought

  26. Petzl Spirit Express Quickdraws

  27. Petzl Connect Adjust

  28. First day back on the ropes

  29. Theragun

  30. Black Diamond Circuit approach shoes

  31. Climbing gyms are reopening!

  32. Ardennes

  33. New 6w training program

  34. Alpine fitness test

  35. A plyo box arrives

  36. The COVID Wall