For many new and experienced boulderers the art of falling is one they have still not mastered. In the following paragraphs, we will highlight some key things in order to know how to fall bouldering. It is not as easy as it sounds and there are some things you need to watch out for!
How to Fall Bouldering – Before You Even Start
Ok, so even before you start bouldering, you should know there are some things you can do to keep you safe. This is the preparation stage and something you should take into account every time you go to the gym.
- Yield Right of Way to Those on the Wall: Ok, this is not necessarily about you falling yourself, instead it is about someone falling on top of you! Check your chosen problem and see where it leads. You don’t want it to cross paths with another climber. There could be nothing worse than 70kgs of muscle falling on top of you!
- Take Off Jewellery and Sharp Objects: Things that are sharp, heavy, or could just generally cause injury do not need to be on you when you are climbing. You can injure yourself, damage the wall or other people.
- Don’t Wear a Chalk Bag: Unless it is a really long problem, we don’t recommend wearing a chalk bag. Firstly, it could hurt if you land on it, especially the buckle – but also, other boulderers don’t want to breath in a plume of chalk that goes flying through the air!
- Check the Landing Zone: Before you even start the boulder problem, you should check the landing zone to make sure it is free from anything that could hurt you. This includes water bottles, people, or anything else that could find it’s way on the mat. You generally won’t need a spotter inside, but ask for one if you do!
During the Fall
Ok, so now we have addressed the first steps in how to fall bouldering, we will take you through some simple tips to keep in mind when you are actually on the wall and begin to peel off it!
- Don’t Grab Other Holds: As soon as you begin to fell yourself falling, your natural instinct may be to grab for something else. Don’t do this! This will lead to injury as you jerk your body around and place unnecessary loads on muscle and joints.
- Accept You Are Falling and Relax: This may seem counter-intuitive, but it really helps to feel in control and relaxed when you are falling. If you tighten up and tension yourself, you’re landing will not be as soft. Therefore, we recommend to try and keep it relatively loose as you fall – but not too much! You still need to in control of your muscles.
How to Stick the Landing When Bouldering
Now comes the most important part of how to fall bouldering. The landing. What must be noted is that all falls are different. There is no one guaranteed method to stick the landing, instead, you can use a few guidelines to help you. This will be an important part of bouldering, so take note!
- Don’t Fight Momentum: It is easy to try and focus on landing on two feet and staying upright. However, this is the wrong thing to do. Instead, use the momentum of your fall to roll in the direction you are going. This can be on your back, side, or even shoulder.
- Don’t Use Your Arms: Another thing that is natural is sticking out your arms. Don’t do this! Try and keep tight to your chest, as if you land or your arm awkwardly you could sprain your wrist or shoulder, or even break something.
- Land on the Bottoms of Your Feet: If you do this, you won’t roll an ankle. What’s more, if you land squarely on your feet, you can absorb the impact better.
- Shoulder Width Stance and Bent Knees: If you land like this, you absorb the impact to your lower body. Furthermore, you can lower down as you land and then engage in a roll. Tucking your chin into your chest as you do this will also prevent neck injuries.
- Low Roof Falling – Turtle It: If you are climbing on a low horizontal roof try to land on your back. Keep your arms and legs elevated. It is very important to keep your head tucked into your chest to stop neck injuries.
- Dyno Falling – Belly Flop Slap: If you are jumping for a dyno and end up falling face down, try to land on your stomach. Keep your arms and legs outstretched and try and slap the mat as you land. Try and keep your core nice and tight too.
Practice How to Fall Bouldering
The only way you will master how to fall bouldering is by practising it, this is especially good advice for older boulderers. The more you try the more you can see what you need to work on. Start by doing it from lower down on the wall. Repetition is key. We also recommend asking a friend or a more experienced climber to watch you and give you tips. You can also take a course at your local bouldering gym to enhance your skills further.
As we have said, this not a definitive guide, instead the advice given here is simply to help. Practice makes perfect! You can also check our bouldering blog for more handy guides!