Climbing is one of the simplest yet frustratingly complicated sports out there. The aim is to get from the bottom of a rock to the top! In it’s most basic form, bouldering you just need a pair of climbing shoes and some chalk (and a bouldering mat if you’re venturing outdoors).
While climbing is obviously in it’s purest outdoors that shouldn’t put you off climbing inside. Indoors you can build confidence, strength and most importantly it doesn’t matter if it’s raining.
Be prepared to find new aches in muscles you didn’t know existed. Who knew there was THAT many muscles that could ache just in your forearms! However while it is a tough workout it builds a great set of muscles, building your grip strength which many will argue is the true foundation of strength. Not only will climbing build your strength but also improve balance and coordination. You can be incredibly strong and still suck at climbing, fact.
The best climbers in the world are boring to watch. They are slow, meticulous and every move is calculated and pre-mediated. Occasionally they will throw in a dyno (or dynamic move) but the majority of climbing should be SLOW.
How do I get started?
Firstly there is the kit required. If you’re heading down to a climbing wall you can always hire shoes, but having your own will definitely help. You may have heard horror stories of how climbing shoes should crush your feet to fit. In reality they should be tight with no room. If they are crushing your feet you won’t be able to flex your toes and stand up on those tiny holds.
You will also need some chalk. Climbing is hard work and your grip will fatigue – chalk helps! You can usually buy chalk relatively cheap and it should come in a sealed food bag. However it’s best if you can get a chalk bag to hold it all in. These vary in price a lot but my only advice is buy one you like the look of. No matter what anyone says there is no technical advantage to a top end chalk bag!
How do I warm-up for bouldering?
- Get your heart rate going – running on the spot, skipping, jumping jacks etc.
- Warm up the shoulders with some shoulder rotations.
- Warm up the wrists – start in a push up position but with knees down. Move your upper body in small circles keeping your hands on the floor.
- Throw in some yoga – on all fours do the cat to cow flow.
- No matter what your ability start on some easy routes just to get your grip warmed up and your whole body used to the movements.