When you are new to a sport, it can be easy to make rookie mistakes. That is why we have created the ultimate list of bouldering tips for beginners. We’ll guide you through technique, mental aspects, and all other components that can make you better.
Of course, it is natural that you want to progress quickly. However, just like anything practice makes perfect. The more you practice bouldering, the better you will get. Keep in mind the following tips and you will be well on your way.
1. Best Bouldering Tip for Beginners – Use Your Legs!
This may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when starting out bouldering. You grab on to the wall with your hands and pull yourself up. Nevertheless, you get tired quickly and your arms are pumped. There is a reason for this! You aren’t using your legs as much as you should be.
Your legs are a massive muscle group and can generate some serious power. As you reach for a new hold higher up, make sure you are in a position to generate force from your lower region. This pushing from your legs is essential to mastering the art of bouldering. Watch an experienced climber next time you go and see how they can generate momentum from their legs.
2. Stand on the Holds With Your Toes
We see this one a lot. People will try and put their whole foot onto a hold. Or turn their foot sideways stand with their arch on the hold. Although you feel this could make you safer, it severely restricts your bouldering ability!
The best way to address this is to consciously stand with the front end of your foot, where your big to is, on the hold. If you do this, you can then use your foot as a pivot. You can turn your hips easier, and as a result, reach the next hold easier. It takes time to get used to but is a good habit to get into.
Next time you are bouldering, we advise you to try the two different stances out. You will instantly see the benefits of placing your toe first.
3. Don’t Grab the Holds With all Your Might
Another one of the best bouldering tips for beginners is that you don’t have to grab the holds with all your power. All that extra clenching will zap your energy very quickly. Of course, sometimes you will need to, but you should practice careful placement of your hands.
There are many different types of holds, some of which we have detailed in our bouldering terms post. You will need to use different techniques depending on which hold it is, however, a good rule of thumb is to slow down your movement. Pretend the holds are sharp edges, and you need perfect placement so you won’t get cut.
This will sharply improve your bouldering style, and you will certainly look more graceful on the wall.
4. Shake those Hips Baby – Ok Don’t But Get Close to the Wall!
Another one of the top bouldering tips for beginners is to focus on staying close to the wall with your hips. You don’t want your but sticking out the other end of the gym, you will be off-balance and you will fall off the wall easier.
This is because your centre of gravity is far away from the wall. It will impede your ability to use you legs for power, and you’ll end up over gripping. Try and focus on staying close to the wall. It will be difficult at first, but soon it will become second nature to you!
5. Try All Styles
It is all too easy to get trapped in your comfort zone. You find a particular style of problem you know you are good at and stick with it. This is a dangerous trap to fall into and one that boulderers of all levels fall into.
Go outside of your comfort zone, you will be a better climber for it. Your body needs to understand different movements and your muscles need other kinds of pressures to grow. You will notice rapid improvement the more varied problems you attempt.
6. Don’t Look Like a T-Rex – Straight Arms!
Another big mistake that boulderers at the beginning make is clutching to the wall with bent arms. This will severely limit your time on the wall. This is because it restricts blood flow to your forearms and you will get pumped quickly.
A good tip to counteract this is to keep your arms straight as you climb. Obviously, you can’t always do this, but it is good practice to keep this in mind when you are on the wall. Instead of using your arms to pull yourself up, turn your hips so you can reach higher. Try it and see how it goes.
7. Falling is Ok
Getting over your fear of falling when bouldering is not an easy task. Even so, there are several things you can employ to make sure you safely land and don’t injure yourself.
We have created a separate list on how to fall bouldering. Simply put, practice falling over and over, and you will get better at it, to the point you will no longer think about it as you climb.
8. Get the Right Shoes
Don’t do this before you even climb, but once you are bouldering more often it is a good idea to buy your own bouldering shoes that fit your needs.
There are several things to look out for, such as fit, style, price, and if you will use them indoors or outdoors. It’s best to try a few on before you buy them, but once you have a good pair, you will notice the difference in your bouldering.
9. Don’t Train Too Hard Too Soon
This is another essential bouldering tip for beginners. Simply put, your muscles need to time grow, especially your fingers. At first, bouldering alone is enough to build this base strength. You will get better by simply climbing more often.
You may see other climbers training on fingerboards or campus boarding, but if you start doing this too soon with bad technique, you could do more harm than good. It is important to progress safely, and once you are ready to go further ask for advice and help on how to use specialised devices.
There are many things you can do to get better at bouldering, and simply going to the gym often will help you improve. Like anything the more you do it, the better you become.
Overall Bouldering Tips for Beginners Are Easy to Follow
Overall, if you employ these bouldering tips for beginners, you will become a better climber! The sport of bouldering is a wonderful and personal one. You can see improvements and measure gains easily.
When you first start your journey, you will see how quickly you can progress and this is an empowering feeling. Good luck and have fun!