As you can probably tell, being able to climb is pretty important. You don’t want to be too bad of a climber that people avoid you because you scare them.
On the other hand, you also don’t want to be so good of a climber that you feel like you are always contending with your own limits. This article will talk about how to improve your climbing skills by exploring different types of routes, terrain, and moves.
There are three main categories when it comes to improving your rock climbing ability-route setting, movement, and technique. By doing these things, you will find yourself moving up the ladder in terms of overall skill level.
Route setting refers to where you decide to go for help or rest during a climb. For example, if you are trying to climb a wall, then deciding whether to use hands or feet as a foothold is dependent upon what type of hold exists there.
Moving while climbing is something we all do at some point. Sometimes, however, it goes beyond just shifting our weight from one foot to the next. There are several specific movements used for advanced climbs.
Technique is an internal process that involves thinking through each move before executing it. This way, your mind does not have to work extra hard to make sure everything else is handled properly!
This article will discuss all three of those concepts in depth, along with some tips and tricks for practicing effectively.
Pay attention to your form
The first thing you need to do when practicing your climb techniques is pay close attention to your overall body position and how your muscles are working together. There are three main positions that most climbers use while climbing.
The shoulder position or bracing position is used when starting an easier climb. You will lower yourself down onto one hand, then push up with your other arm until your elbow is almost fully extended. Then you will pull back on the hands so your arms are parallel to the ground, and lift yourself up using your legs. This is the start position for many routes.
For more advanced climbs, the under-braced position is better. Here, you will keep both elbows slightly bent as you lower yourself down on one knee, and then push up with your arms. Once again, you will use your leg strength to help you climb.
The over-braced position is very similar to the bracing position, but instead of keeping your knees strong, you will lean forward at the hips as you climb. This helps you gain momentum as you climb!
Whatever position you choose to practice in, make sure to focus on keeping your feet, ankles, knees, and thighs engaged and tight.
Do not rely on your muscles
As you know, muscle tissue is strong when it contracts or tightens. When we climb, however, our muscles are constantly contracting and relaxing.
When we relax our muscles they get weaker and less powerful. This happens because the body does not actively use them. For example, if you have ever tried to swim before then try doing so now!
By this time, your muscles have wasted away due to lack of use.
This is why people who suffer from muscular dystrophy can still do some simple things like riding a bike or using their hands for very short amounts of time – their muscles have adapted by staying inactive.
However, climbing is more than just moving your feet up and down or grabbing onto something with your hand and arm muscles. It also requires you to use your chest, back, shoulder and grip strength muscles.
Always try to progress your skill level
As mentioned before, rock climbing is an ever-evolving sport that requires you to constantly strive to improve your skills. What kind of climb you are trying to do will determine how advanced you have to be!
If you are just starting out, then practicing your footwork every time you climb is important. This includes walking up stairs on a wall, stepping diagonally across a surface, or even taking short walks down the mountain!
Practicing with your hands is also very important since most people start by holding onto certain holds with only their thumb and first two fingers. It’s good to know what types of grips there are so you can use more than your index finger and middle finger.
Lastly, if you are having trouble keeping your feet off of the ground, then practice lifting them off of the floor! This is called traversing and it helps you gain access to higher walls easier.
Practice climbing on different surfaces
While practicing your foot placement and finger moves, there is no wrong place to practice! You do not have to be in a park or on a cliff to get good at rock climbing.
Any surface can become a training ground for climbers. Grasses, dirt, gravel, and even water bowls are all great ways to test out your skills on.
By trying new surfaces, you will learn how to adjust your technique as the terrain changes. This way, you will never feel that you are limited to certain types of climbs due to weather or safety concerns.
Grass is one of the most common surfaces used to practice on. Many people gain valuable experience by moving their feet and fingers through techniques on grassy fields or indoor gyms.
Water also presents its own set of challenges when practicing your climbing skills.
Find a mentor
As mentioned before, having more experience is always better than less, so seeking out someone with higher levels of climbing is a great way to learn new techniques or improve your current ones.
There are many ways to find such a person, whether it’s through organized clubs or simply talking to experienced climbers in areas around you.
By interacting with others, you will naturally pick up some tips here and there as well!
Another way to gain insights from more skilled people is by reading their blogs or listening to their online lectures. Some very famous rock-climbers have made lots of helpful content available for free if you want to watch or listen to them while you practice or exercise.
But beyond just learning how to climb, most experienced climbers also share their routines and secrets for staying motivated while they’re working on their craft.
Find a group of friends to climb with
Finding a climbing partner is a great way to start exploring mountains! Most outdoor facilities offer some kind of classes or groups that meet up every few days for beginners as well as more experienced climbers.
Many organizations have separate beginner courses where you can learn basic rope skills, gear manipulation, and positionings of your body while climbing. These are very helpful since everyone in the class is usually there to help each other take their first steps or give advice if someone is struggling.
There may also be an older group that willing to put in time to teach newer people the basics, which is even better! Both of these are good ways to get comfortable with rocks.
Another option is to simply go outside with a friend who already has some climbing experience and see how they manage their climbs. This is a great way to assess whether this activity is right for you before investing too much money or time into it.
Do not get too confident
As we have discussed before, your climbing skills are very closely related to how you perceive yourself as a climber. If you feel like you are always having to work harder to achieve your next goal, then you will never really improve your climb.
You must believe that you are capable of doing anything!
Every time you start trying to scale something, say “I know I can do this” or even better, “I’ll prove you wrong!”
By saying this out loud, you are creating mental momentum in the right direction. You are investing in yourself by believing in yourself. This is what it takes to develop your self-confidence as a beginner.
Your confidence does not come from outside sources such as if you could pose for a picture with your hands on a ledge or whether someone else certified you as a beginner, but instead from within you.
Be aware of your limits
As mentioned before, every person is different in their fitness levels and skills. Some people may have better rock climbing skills than you, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily more talented or gifted.
Everyone has a limit beyond which they cannot go physically, so trying to push yourself past yours could hurt you!
If you feel like you can keep going up a cliff face then great! But if you start feeling tired or dizzy, stop immediately and try another climb later when you feel stronger.
You should also be conscious about how much time you invest into practicing your climbs. Just because someone else who trained for half an hour one day was able to climb a route does not mean you must do the same thing as them.
Investing too much effort into your practice will only result in wasted energy and feelings of frustration.