Bouldering is a great form of rock climbing and getting better bouldering skills can really feed into all other aspects of climbing, improving your techniques and confidence overall so it pays to work on your bouldering as a starting point.
Bouldering is great for increasing your strength, focus, confidence, and creativity while out on a climb but how do you get better at it? Here are some top tips for improving those bouldering skills:
Learn From Other Climbers
If you want to improve your own techniques then go bouldering with people who can do it better than you and learn from them. Everyone uses different techniques so by working with more experienced climbers you will be able to pick up a lot of ideas and tips.
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Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
You will never get better if you only stick to what you already know and are good at, so push yourself to undertake the areas which you find most challenging and try new and different options to push yourself further. You need to have a good range of movement across all angles and holds.
Watch Your Feet
Having a good foot placement is the key to bouldering skills. With your feet in the right place, you can more easily move your body weight and reduce pressure on your arms so give your foot techniques a lot of focus if you want to get better. You need to practice placing your feet and toes on holds and learning how to pivot and balance.
Try New and Different Problems
When following a set of problems on a wall use your imagination to create new problems to challenge the areas where you know your skills are weaker. It makes your training more in tune with what you need. Why not try entering bouldering competitions to really challenge your approach to problems.
Being fitter overall, with a particular focus on your legs, hamstrings, and hips so that you have maximum flexibility when approaching a climb, will really help you to improve your bouldering skills as it can take its toll on your body.
By improving your overall fitness and flexibility, you will have a lot more movement and will be able to stretch your legs that bit further to take on extra problems much more easily than if you are suffering from stiff muscles.
Prepare for your Climb First
While reading the route is common for other types of climbing it is not often done for bouldering, however, it can make your problem solving that much easier. Take the time to read the route before starting out, and look at the next seven moves ahead so you can plot how to do them in your head.
Being able to spot where the best holds are and understanding when the more complicated problems are coming up before you get there, will enable you to come up with ideas and solutions rather than just hoping for the best.
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Identify the problems which you really struggle with and instead of ignoring them, really focus on those and tackle them in as many different ways as you can. Identify where you are the weakest and focus on improving that technique in particular. It’s easy to keep doing what you are already good at but if you want to get better at bouldering you need to focus on the areas you are not so good at and seek support and advice from your climbing club if you need to.
Always Have a Proper Warm Up
When you move to outdoor climbing it can be all too easy to be super keen to get climbing and forget that your muscles need to warm up first or you could end up in trouble with cramps and pulled muscles which is not what you want halfway up a boulder.
Make sure that wherever you are climbing, whether it’s indoors or outdoors, you have a total warm-up routine and undertake it every time, before you even think about putting one foot in a hold. Warming up is a vital part of your climbing safety protocol.
It can be daunting to try out new skills learned in the safety of a gym, outside, where the landings are not as soft, but you need to have confidence in yourself and not hold back otherwise you will never get better at bouldering.
Learning skills and growing in confidence need to go hand in hand so make sure you have a strong belief in yourself that you can do the things you are learning. You need to get your mindset in the right place to be able to improve at bouldering just as much as physically learning the skills.