13. Yoga for Stemming

In this Yoga & Stretching for Climbing video, our CTT Yoga Instructor David Surber walks us through a series of yoga poses designed specifically for improving flexibility in the hips and groin, as needed for stemming moves.

Figure Four Pose – Done before and/or after stem climbing, helps protect and strengthen the hip joints. Below are the steps for the Figure Four pose:

  1. Lift your right foot and place it inside of your left knee, or above your left knee on the thigh.
  2. Draw your hands to heart center and begin to bend through the left leg.
  3. Keeping your chest as vertical as possible drawing the shoulder blades together and lifting through the chin.

Tip – You’ll feel it in your right hip if done correctly.

Side Splits – Done before and/or after stem climbing helps protect and strengthen the hip joints. Below are the steps for Side Splits:

  1. Start sideways on your yoga mat in the middle, and walk your feet out to the sides.
  2. Put your hands on your hips and draw your shoulder blades together and lift your chin.
  3. Exhale and slowly fold forward at the waist reaching out between your legs and planting your hands on the ground. For added challenge walk your feet further out, keeping the feet parallel to the short edges of the mat. Hold here for 30 seconds to a minute then relax.

Standing Wall Shoulder Stretch – Done before and/or after stem climbing helps to open up through the shoulders for those palm to foot maneuvers and back steps found in dihedral and stem moves. Below are the steps for the Standing Wall Shoulder Stretch:

  1. Facing the wall, lift your hand up to shoulder height and place it against the wall, with your finger facing away from your chest.
  2. Take a quarter turn step opposite your foot, then begin to walk your feet around further until you feel a nice stretch through the back of your shoulder.

We hope you found this video helpful. Feel free to comment below with questions or thoughts!


Please remember, climbing is inherently dangerous. Climb at your own risk.