1) Make sure you always warm up – Without wanting to come across like a nagging parent, you would be surprised how many people either forget or chose not to warm up – big mistake!
Not only will it decrease your risk of injury (always a positive thing) it will also improve your climbing as you will loosen the muscles and lubricate your joints, allowing you to achieve more.
When we say ‘warm up’ we don’t just mean do a few stretches and crack on with it! We mean get your heartbeat raised, stretch thoroughly and start climbing on easy climbs so you can build up to where you want to be without straining yourself by jumping straight in.
2) Be Safe – Another probably obvious but important tip! Here are some key health and safety points to bear in mind, especially if bouldering somewhere you’ve never been before:
Making sure you have warmed up (see number 1!)
Get familiar with your surroundings – check where any dangers could be
Be aware of other people in the room and what they are doing
Fall sensibly, making sure you don’t cause any injuries.
The potential for what could happen if you’re not safe is not worth the risk!
3) Think tactically – One of the common misconceptions on bouldering is that it requires strength to succeed. Although strength helps, it is more about technique and thinking before you decide to make a move. A good technique will determine how good a bouldering you can be and it is best to train technique as habit so it can always be built on. Strength is something that can naturally be built on depending on how much you train.
Planning your climb and then reviewing what went well and what could be improved next time is the best way to become better at bouldering.
4) Trying not to get frustrated – It is not meant to be easy!! The most talented climbers in the world still struggle! The problems are there to be solved but it is meant to be a challenged, else what would be the point?!
If you stay composed, you will have more chance to succeed by remaining focused and relaxed. The more frustrated you are, the harder it will be. Although we know this is much easier said than done!!
5) Watch the people around you – Problem solving is an essential part of bouldering and although every climber will have different strengths, weaknesses and physical characteristics, you can learn so much by watching others.
There is not just one single way to solve a problem and everyone will have their own way, but taking tips and watching how other people do it can come in very useful for your progression.
6) Don’t worry about grades, or how well other people are doing – As mentioned above, using other people to help your performance is great. But don’t compare yourself to them! Work at your own level and focus on improving yourself. Similarly with grades, don’t let them define you, they are a rough guide so don’t get hooked up on what grade you think you should be climbing.
7) Focus on balance – Balance can be defined as ‘ the relationship between a climber’s point of gravity and their base of support.’
Balance is the pivotal point in climbing; having good balance combined with a good body positioning is what gives talented climbers their status! To remain balanced, it is best to climb slowly and when you move to try and keep the rest of your body reasonably still.
Having balance and control will help you achieve goals you maybe once thought you couldn’t!
8) Improve your weaknesses – As with anything in life, in order to move forward you need to work on what is holding you back. There is no point in only improving your strengths, as it could lead to your weakness dragging your entire performance down as it continues to be neglected.
It is too easy to only focus on the problems that suit us or that we know we can achieve without real challenge or effort. This means avoiding having to work on something we know we need to improve!
Working on your weaknesses will improve your general performance as a climber; so don’t shy away from it!
9) Climb Circuits – This is one of the best ways to improve technique and stamina, as well as your all round climbing performance. A circuit is a range of problems all with similar levels of difficulty but focus on different areas so you have the chance to build on your weaknesses as well as your strengths.
Here’s a photo of Gareth climbing doing our circuit board
10) Make the most of your environment and boulder outdoors – If you’re lucky enough to live in North Devon like us, (or an equally stunning part of the country – no favoritism to Devon here we promise!!) make the most of it!!!
Experience another level of bouldering when you try and conquer the problems created by nature! Your climbing will improve dramatically and it makes for a great social day out!
Here are some links to guides in our local area:
For Dartmoor Bouldering – Click Here
For Hartland Bouldering – Click Here
For Lynmouth East Bouldering – Click Here
For Southern Culm Bouldering – Click Here