Making rookie mistakes is common in a new sport. That's why we have curated a list of 9 essential tips for beginners that can make bouldering easy. In addition, the tips will guide you through mental aspects and techniques to make bouldering better.
While performing any sport, it's natural to want to progress quickly. But focusing on the technique and constantly practicing will make you better at the game. So make sure you practice daily to get better at your game.
Bouldering is nothing but a form of rock climbing that an individual performs without ropes or harnesses. It can be done on rock formations or bouldering walls.
The artificially constructed surface of bouldering has different hand and footholds. Originally, bouldering started to help new and experienced climbers practice different climbing moves at a fairly safe distance from the ground, which is 4m or 13.12 feet.
That said, below are 9 essential tips that every beginner must follow.
Essential Tips for Bouldering
#1 Start Slow
Difficult climbing routes seem tempting to try and hop on, but beginners must stay away from such routes. But starting slow can lead to frustration, causing an individual to give up on bouldering prematurely.
However, everyone must start slowly, especially beginners. Bouldering activity targets different muscles, including much more difficult moves than the roped routes. Beginners usually think that they do not know anything about this sport.
When an individual starts slow, warms up, and increases the difficulty of the routes, they get better at this sport. It also helps them know about the limitations and climbing grades.
Beginners are also advised not to set their sights too high as it can be dangerous. It can also result in show-stopping injuries, hopefully, easy to prevent. People progressing at their own pace helps them learn new climbing techniques. Doing so also develops the foundational strength for the remaining climbing journey.
#2 Focus on Your Leg
Every bouldering player is required to focus on their leg. But many folks are guilty of attempting bouldering with their upper body strength. Unfortunately, that means they neglect their legs.
A quick thing to do is to put your arms against your leg to know the exact difference in size. Compared to the arms, the legs are massive, which can offer you extra power to pull great strength.
Learning proper footwork techniques allows you to use your legs correctly. When you learn to lift yourself from the wall, the footholds and techniques like smearing become crucial for building a strong foundation.
Players believe that the challenging part about using legs is understanding the gear. When used properly, the best climbing shoes can keep you stuck to the walls, which makes all the difference.
Focusing on the way you push yourself and experimenting with your legs helps you stay well on the wall.
#3 Keep Silent Feet
As much as bouldering is about foot placement, it is also about pulling hard. Anyone who wants to master this sport must practice quiet climbing. Many climbers are known to climb their way up recklessly and clatteringly.
While it seems to work, it does not do much to improve the technique. On the other hand, focusing on quiet climbing keeps your feet silent, making it possible for you to make precise movements.
Many beginners are known to scramble on the route with their feet trailing behind. While silent climbing is important, it requires slow and deliberate movement and right foot placement.
Silent foot placement requires practice and patience. When the foot chips are minuscule, one needs to be precise. This way, your foot will not slip even if it is not perfectly placed.
#4 Hug Your Hips to the Wall
Gravity tries hard to throw you down to the crash pad when you cling to the wall with your tiny hands. But you can keep climbing by folding at the hips and pushing your butt out. Without doing this, climbing against gravity can be difficult.
Keep your hips close to the wall to stay one step ahead of gravity by stabilizing your center of gravity. This way, you can also keep your weight from folding outwards, which keeps less strain on your arms. In addition, when your hips hug the walls, you can easily distribute the weight into your legs.
A bonus is keeping your hips tight helps you engage your core. It also helps you form a strong set of abdominal muscles.
#5 Keep Straight Arms
When you attempt to hold your body on the wall, your elbows bend naturally. It gives an illusion that you are pulling your body harder than you are doing. But this technique doesn't help as it drains all your energy.
Instead, you must try to climb with your arms straight without bending unless it is absolutely necessary. This technique also helps you keep your weight low and extend your arms.Extending your arms takes the weight off your upper body muscles, which allows you to maintain endurance. In addition, this technique puts weight and stress on your joints, which makes your muscles stronger.
This way, you keep climbing for longer by putting more strength into each climbing session. It also burns out your muscles.
#6 Avoid Grip of Death
Another interesting tip is to grab onto a hold, so your life depends on it. That means you need to grab a lot tighter, which can only be achieved with regular practice. It will eventually increase your grip strength to keep you on the wall.
Individuals are advised to adjust grip strength level with each move. However, remember that tight gripping can strain your arms before you are halfway. For this reason, you need to try to loosen the grip at the necessary stages, which is another way to maintain endurance.
#7 Try Different Body Positions
Bouldering individuals can also play around with different body positions to master this sport and become more flexible. Turning your hips, matching your feet to your hand, and extending one leg are a few helpful body positions you can try.
You need to become more creative while climbing to the harder grades. Also, this way, the routes become less similar to climbing. If you do not shift your body weight, you might not be able to climb.
Players must keep adjusting positions to distribute their body weight while staying closer to the walls. You can also try climbing around with new ways to become a master of bouldering.
#8 Take Breaks
During your bouldering journey, you might be tempted by the idea of quickly completing the route, but taking breaks is important. It might sound lazy to some, but it can be really helpful.
When you sit around and rest for a while, you start developing your loose strength building as a climber. It also makes you feel more energetic, helping you to reach the top. If you are trying to go bouldering, you will feel exhausted in no time.
A good climber takes lots of breaks. You can sit back and let your muscles relax. Resting is important because it also allows your muscles to recover quickly. Also, it offers you the time to analyze how to move on to difficult routes.
So, when you climb by resting, you get better and better at the game. But, you also come across different opportunities to send the problem.
#9 Read the Route
Reading the route is considered one of the best methods for sending a problem. When you read routes, you learn how bouldering moves are made.
The challenging bouldering routes can only be solved with a good image of yourself climbing. First, you need to figure out how each move will feel and how you can reach the top of the climbing mountain.
Many climbers refer to this process as reading routes. It is most commonly seen at a climbing or bouldering gym where individuals pretend to climb with their hands in the air.
Additional Climbing Resources
Along with the tips, you can also refer to these additional climbing resources to make bouldering easy for yourself.
For bouldering, climbing shoes are the most important gear you cannot miss. A good pair of climbing shoes is essential for rock climbing. Instead of renting, you can consider buying the best quality shoes for regular climbing.
You must regularly use chalk to fortify your hand grip on the wall. While many gyms do not offer free chalk to the climbers, they must carry their own to avoid injuries. You can also get a chalk bag to strap around your waist for longer climbs.
You must use a harness and belay device for climbing with ropes. Make sure you purchase the best climbing harness, so you do not have to change it regularly.
You must keep a water bottle on your side during bouldering to keep yourself hydrated. A lightweight bottle is easy to carry and keeps the water cold for a long time.
Using tape can help eliminate common climbing injuries like blisters, tears, and calluses. Try to bandage and properly cover the painful areas of the skin.
Many climbers don't think nail clippers are important, but you must keep them handy to quickly cut the fingernails when required.
Prevent Chapped Hands
It is quite possible that your hand might feel chapped, cracked, or feel dry. To avoid this issue, you must use a thick climbing slave, which will offer elasticity to your hands and restore hydration to your skin.
Outdoor Climbing Gear
If you plan to boulder outdoors, ensure you are equipped with all the required equipment. You can also read the guides on the outdoor and bouldering gear to keep your outdoor climbing as safe as possible.
How does a beginner start bouldering?
If you are new to the bouldering world, try bouldering 2 to 3 times a week to get better without injuring yourself.
How do I get better at climbing and bouldering?
One can get better at bouldering by warming up and thinking tactically. Focus on your feet, rest your arm, engage your core, and relax.
How long should you rest between bouldering?
Advanced climbers and experienced boulderers have a rule of five minutes for every minute they work.
Does bouldering make you fit?
High-intensity workout bouldering can make you fit by strengthening your body's major back and leg muscles. It also offers mental grit, finger strength, and body awareness.
Whether a beginner or an advanced player, the tips mentioned in this post will help you hone your skills and help your climbing career. Bouldering is a wonderful sport that helps you see improvements and measure gains easily without any issue.
Regularly practicing and using the right gears will help even beginner climbers master bouldering. Instead of low-quality gears, invest in the best ones to get the ultimate grip and comfort. Not compromising on your gear can help you go a long way.