Bouldering is a great way to get a great strength and cardio workout or just to push your limits while having fun.
What exactly is bouldering?
Boulders are artificially constructed surfaces, fitted with a variety of hand and footholds, in which it is possible to climb without ropes or harnesses. Bouldering can be done either outdoors on small rock formations or indoors on artificial climbing walls.
The original purpose of bouldering was to enable climbers to practice specific moves at a safe distance from the ground (approximately 4 meters or 13.12 feet).
In that vein, here are 14 beginner-friendly bouldering tips.
1. When climbing, use your toes
Those using their midsole instead of their toes at the climbing wall are making one of the most common mistakes, which limits their movement and provides less traction.
With your toes, you will be able to pivot your foot as well as increase your overall reach when you stand on the tip of your toes.
You can use small holds with climbing shoes by making use of your toes. Standing on your midsoles could cause you to slip and cause some serious injuries.
2. Push yourself up with your legs
Leg muscles are among the biggest in your body, and they can help you overcome any obstacle.
Pulling your entire bodyweight doesn’t need to be done solely by your arms. Often, the most efficient way to work is to simply use your legs.
To climb up a slab wall, just push yourself up with your legs rather than drag yourself up with your arms. When climbing an overhang, you need to use your legs to move towards footholds. A combination of leg pressure and a little momentum allows you to swing yourself to the next position.
3. Hold your hips close to the wall
It is totally normal for new climbers to let their hips sag away from the wall, since humans stand vertically. Your center of gravity will be further away from the wall, which, in turn, reduces the weight-bearing ability of your legs and toes, transferring most of the weight to your fingers and forearms.
Your leg muscles are physiologically larger than those of your arms, making them more effective at carrying your weight while climbing. By leveraging their strength, you will also be able to distribute the weight more evenly, which allows you to conserve energy.
Don’t worry if it feels awkward at first. You’ll just need to get used to the fact that your body is facing the side rather than the wall.
4. Know your gripping and holding techniques
Climbing gyms have a variety of holds, so you’ll see a lot of them when you’re training. There are a variety of ways to hold them and a variety of hand positions to use.
Following are some different holds and how they can be held:
Sloping handholds: These are simply handholds that slope.
You should try keeping your center of gravity under the sloper and getting as much surface contact as possible.
Slopers can be pushed against with your thumb facing down, and that position is called a Gaston.
– Jugs: This is a very positive hold. You can pull up on underclings, which you can grab at the bottom of the mug and pull up.https://db79026f6a23ae7d75d4bfa61763b932.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Pockets: as the name implies, tiny recesses in the wall where you can stick your fingers. They come in 1, 2, and 3-finger sizes.
Crimps: this is a really small edge that you can only get your fingertips on; wrap your thumb around your index finger so you can put maximum pressure on the small hold.
Pinches: it’s a grip you’re literally pinching with your thumb.
– Underclings: these are the holds in which the limb is touching the ground
– Matching hands: this position involves holding two hands in tandem.
– Side pulls: this technique involves pulling sideways on a hold.Gastons: named after French climber Gaston Rebuffat, this hold is similar to a side pull only that your fingers and palms are now facing the hold and your thumb should point downwards.
Handholds can be grabbed in three ways:
– Pull down
– Pull up
– Pull sideways
You will tend to grab the hand holds firmly when you get tired. The legs have to do most of the work. Your fingers act like balance hooks, allowing you to maintain your balance.
If you advance to more serious climbing, you’ll need your fingers more frequently.
5. Climb with your arms straight
Bending your arms while climbing will exhaust them faster, since you are engaging your forearms along with your biceps, shoulders, and back with each move, whereas climbing with straight arms can help you relax and evenly distribute the weight on your legs and upper body.
Also, avoid grabbing the holds at chest level and bending your arms at the elbows, as this would put too much strain on your biceps. That would cause your arms to tire much faster.
Reach for the next hold with straight arms every time you climb, bending only if necessary to reach. The most work should be accomplished by turning, with your arms staying straight.
6. Read your route when climbing
Finding your ideal climbing path is imperative; it is not wise to start climbing at the bottom and work your way up. It would be wasteful to do so, and you’d exhaust your arms in the process, making it harder to reach the top.
Check out the best route before you start climbing. Also, know which hand is going to grab which hold. It will make things much simpler. For a given problem, beginners are usually able to come up with a variety of options, but for more difficult problems (5.10 and up), there are usually only one or two sets of moves.
7. Don’t go overboard with chalk
In addition to keeping your hands dry, chalk can improve your grip by absorbing moisture from your hands.
If you’re bouldering, don’t use too much chalk, this goes for liquid as well as loose chalk. Too much of it can affect your grip on the holds negatively.
This is especially important for liquid chalk, because too much will cause it to take a long time to dry, leading to wet hands as a result.
As opposed to using loose chalk, you could possibly slip due to lack of traction by dipping your fingers in your chalk bag, be sure not to pull out the chalk, rather swish the bag around and rub your hands together. A little bit of excess should be rubbed off before you climb.
8. Do not be afraid to fail
The good news is that falling means that you’re trying hard and becoming a better climber. You should concentrate on improving your technique because, as cheesy as it may sound, practice makes perfect.
If you have trouble holding onto the sloper, focus on your weaknesses by engaging in more practice. If you fall off, that is perfectly fine.
9. Climb with different people to learn new moves and techniques
Betas are sequences of moves. Climbing with other people will allow your skills to improve much faster.
Each individual has different skillsets, some are dynamic, others are more static. Even if they’re tackling other problems than you, it is important to climb with someone who is more experienced than you.
Seek advice from other people without being afraid to do so. Climbers are generally more than happy to help if you ask, and although it’s a competitive sport, your main competitor should be yourself, constantly trying to improve and overcome your doubts and fears.
10. Don’t train a specific muscle, just climb and have fun
You should focus on climbing and having fun when you’re just starting out, it’s the best way to build strength and confidence. Training too soon will cause you to pull a muscle or tweak your finger. Right now, the best thing for a beginner is to climb on a wall.
It takes quite a bit of time for climbing muscles to develop, so patience is extremely important.
Having fun is what matters most at the end of the day, so don’t take it too seriously and don’t put too much strain on those forearms.
11. Take rests every now and then
Resting frequently while climbing can be very beneficial. Many novice climbers overlook the importance of resting, but it is important for keeping you energized, strong, and most importantly, injury-free.
If you climb, how often do you need to rest?
Depending on the situation.
In bouldering, you should generally take 3-5 minutes of rest between your attempts; this will help you stay fresh and reduce cumulative fatigue, any less and you may still be fatigued from your last attempt, which will adversely affect your performance. The problem with this is that you might get so exhausted you won’t be able to recover, leading you straight to the exit and back home.
Additionally, every hour, you should take a 30-minute break.
You will need longer breaks if you push yourself to the limit; these can be 10 minutes or longer.
As well, you should avoid sitting down right after you climb, since standing can help improve your blood flow.
In order to avoid overtraining, you should rest more between climbing days if you are losing sleep, experiencing persistent muscle soreness, or getting blisters on your skin.
12. Invest in good shoes
You won’t be able to stand on the holds or properly use your toes if your shoes are too big. If your shoes are too small, you will be in too much pain, so make sure they fit snugly, so you can feel the edges of the rocks or holds you are climbing.
Although it’s quite common to wear shoes one size smaller than your usual size, one thing to keep in mind is that they shouldn’t cut off circulation.
13. Pretend that the holds are fragile glass
We know that we are giving an odd tip, we know, but it forces you to slow down, consider your movements, and place your hands and feet delicately, says Bouldering Coach Louis Parkinson, MD at Catalyst Climbing Academy and former GB bouldering world champion. As a result of practice, one can climb gracefully and precisely.
14. Wait until the right time to begin training seriously
In addition to safety, Daniel says climbers can make use of training aids such as fingerboards and campus boards, but it takes time to get the fitness base to use them safely. If you’re doing advanced training, it’s best to consult with a professional coach to make sure you’re doing it safely.”
You should have them fitted by a professional rather than buying them online, that way you can be sure they’re the right size and style.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Is bouldering harder than rock climbing?
Bouldering is more challenging for beginners who lack finger and upper-body strength, while rock climbing is harder for beginners who are afraid of heights.
Why is bouldering so hard?
As you make your way to the end of the route, bouldering requires strength from your entire body. This is because you are pulling yourself up your wall and aside from leg and arm strength, bouldering also requires a lot of forearm and finger strength, which is unique compared to most other activities.
How can a beginner get better at bouldering?
To know that how can a beginner gets better at bouldering, check out this video.