STRENGTHEN, LENGTHEN, DEEPEN
Getting better is a balancing act.
Pull ups alone will not make you a stronger, better, or happier climber.
To offer you some new balance to your normal routine, follow along with our monthly yoga posture.
Side Plank – Vasisthasana
Side plank is a lovely posture, with tons of modifications available to it.
This pose does great at strengthening your shoulders, chest, abs, your whole side body, your neck, to name a few.
To move into this posture, start, warmed up*, in a downword dog. Slowly begin to pivot what will be your bottom foot 90 degrees, onto the outside edge while slowly allowing your lower body to twist open in the direction your toes are facing. Once your foot feels balanced, take the weight off of your opposite hand and slowly, with an engaged core, begin to open your upper body in the same direction and reach your hand towards the sky.
Your bottom hand should be firmly planted, with all of your fingers, nuckles, and corners pressing evenly into the ground, and stacked in a strait line under your shoulders and upward reaching hand, like a rope hung from the ceiling would hide perfectly behind your wingspan.
Hold this posture for 5, deep, slow breaths.
(like 10 seconds to complete a full inhale exhale kind of slow)
*preferably, warmed up means you’ve already climbed, or you’ve completed 3-6 sun salutations
Let’s make this easier, or harder.
If the normal variation of side plank feels too hard to hold correctly for the full amount of time, or you’re feeling unchallenged, this pose can both become more approachable, or spicier:
Modification for Ease.
Begin posture as earlier described, but before you lift your hand to open your chest, try dropping your floor foot’s knee to the ground. Keep everything else the same, lift from your hips, engage your core, but take your time and allow this modification to allow you to keep structural integrity until the time comes that one day you feel comfortable lifting into the full expression.
Modify to spice things up.
Once in the first variation of side plank, slowly lift your top top leg. Bending your airborne knee, bring your foot to gently, but actively, rest just above your knee joint.
Be sure to press actively through your bottom leg against your foot and continue to lift from your hips, in order to protect your knee.
Modify to continue the burn.
Once in the first variation of side plank, slowly lift your top leg straight up, to a 45 degree angle, and hold.
Modify to enter the inferno.
Once in the first variation of side plank, slowly lift your top leg straight up until you can reach your big toe with your first 2 fingers, and hold.
This posture definitely feels more challenging to balance, and requires more flexibility, but maybe a little less core intensive than the earlier modification.