Out of all the fitness regimes I’ve chosen to pursue, I think I’m enjoying rock climbing the most. It is fun, I feel as though I can change it according to my mood on the day (feeling lazy, start off easy), it challenges me (at the level I want/need) and I feel exhilarated once I’ve done. I also love the slack lining as I can see progress every time I do it, but I think rock climbing takes the pinch.
My husband and I decided to try out a different rock climbing venue but it turned out a bit of a bust. I enjoyed learning a new method for belaying, but found that the roping was too thick so I got more of a workout belaying than I did climbing (which was not fun) and they didn’t have any ‘easy’ walls and not a great variety of hold either (except on the bouldering wall). I do, however, think it may be better when we improve our skills a bit more.
What I like most about our usual place, is the variety. They have really easy climbs with easy holds, easy climbs with difficult holds, difficult climbs with easy holds and difficult climbs with difficult holds and everything in between. They don’t have as many walls, and they’re not as tall as the other place, but I feel there is much more variety.
Tomorrow we’re going to try out yet another venue, so I’ll let you know how that turns out. Their bouldering wall looks awesome!
Anyhow, as part of trying to improve our climbing skills, hubby and I have been reading a lot about it and found this good article on it. A lot of it I already knew, but seeing pictures helps me visualise it more. I did find the arm positioning interesting – straight arms rather than bent – like a monkey. So I’ll be trying that in today’s session (yes I am going rock climbing twice this week – I love it that much!).
Reblogged from: 10 Techniques To Improve Your Rock Climbing.
I am often asked how to be a better rock climber. While becoming a better rock climber is a combination of skill, strength, and mental fortitude, I have noticed that there are a few basic techniques that if employed, are sure to improve anyone’s rock climbing ability.
1. Use Your Legs
Many people see rock climbers hauling themselves up steep walls and immediately assume that the main muscle that you use is your arms. While you certainly do need to use your arms to hold on, in many cases your legs are the work horses of the climb. Allow your weight to sit on your feet, and push with your legs, rather than pulling with your arms whenever possible.
2. Plan Your Route
While it can seem like experienced rock climbers naturally flow up a face of rock, this is a learned skill that takes time to develop. Even the most experienced rock climbers plan what they are going to do before they do it. Take time, look past the first couple of feet of the climb. Many people make the mistake of only planning the first few movements, if they plan at all.
3. Rest Where You Can
This is much easier if you are using point 1 well. Not every part of the rock climb is going to really hard, so if you can find a spot where you do not need to hang on your arms, you can give them a bit of a rest. This could be a ledge, a crack that you’ve jammed your body into, or even some people hang by their toes in order to get a much needed rest.
4. Hips In
Your center of gravity is largely dictated by where your hip are. If you find that your butt is hanging out in the middle of nowhere, bring it home! The closer you can get your hips into the wall, the easier it will be to get your weight off your arms and onto your feet.
5. Loosen Up
This goes without saying for any physical sport, you need to warm up! Don’t jump onto the hard stuff right away, or you will experience the ominous ‘flash pump’. Your arms will turn to rocks, and you won’t be able to grip even the best holds. Do some easy routes first, get the blood flowing in your muscles, and stretch. This is critical not only for climbing on harder grades, but also for preventing injuries.
6. Don’t Over Grip
This one pretty much says it all. Many of us don’t know what we can hold ourselves on, so we grip the holds as hard as we possibly can. While this keeps us from falling, it also uses up our energy way faster than we should be. Be efficient with your strength, and try using only as much grip as you need to stay on the wall. If you feel yourself sliding off, that’s ok! Tighten up a little, or if you fall, that’s ok too.
7. Take a Fall or Two
There is a lot to be said for the mental aspect of climbing. If we are afraid to fall, we will not put ourselves in a position where we may fall. This means you will never be able to climb as hard as you would like. While falling can be hazardous in some situations, there are benefits of learning how to fall when it is safe to do so. Take some time on top rope, or even a sport route to get comfortable with falling. This will allow you to make bolder moves, and not be held back.
8. If It Hurts, Ease Up
While pain is a normal part of rock climbing, i.e. the burn, pain is also your body’s way of telling you that something might not be right. If you start to feel pain in your joints, or deep muscle pain, ease up. Often if I start to feel uncomfortable pulling in my shoulders I will back off and finish for the day. The last thing you want is to get an injury that keeps you out of the game for a couple of weeks.
9. Climb with Better Climbers Than You
Often we have no idea how to rock climb better, and we need to see what other people are doing. If you only climb with those who are your skill level or less, you will likely miss out on a lot of learning that can happen just by watching how rock climbers move. You will miss attitudes, movements, and even technical skills that can all make you a better climber.
10. Climb Consistently
When it really comes down to it, there is no better way to learn how to rock climb better than by doing it. The more you climb, the better you will be. Rock climbing is a skill that needs time to master, and you can only get better through practice. So get out there and climb!
Last year I was introduced to rock climbing, and from then on I was hooked. At that time, I was not much into keeping fit at all, so it was a surprise to find something that I enjoyed doing; especially as it was something that took effort too! I was so hooked, that when scoopon had a deal at my local rock climbing place, I snapped it up and bought a few lots of the deal. I intended on going every second weekend. But, alas, being the lazy person I was, it wasn’t hard to find other things that took priority over exercise (no matter how much I enjoyed it), and the tickets were almost completely wasted, if it weren’t for a friend’s son wanting to do rock climbing for his birthday and her buying them all off me for what I paid for them – a week before they expired.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, and I was thinking about how much I enjoyed rock climbing and wanted to go again. I suggested to my husband that we should go again, and he jumped at the thought (he is a bit of a health nut and loved the idea – also remembering how much fun it was). This time we decided to bring our children (son aged 6 and daughter aged 4 and a half).
It was super fun, and while my son loved it, my daughter hated it (too hard and boring for her). I was a little bored, as either my husband or I had to always belay, so I spent a lot of time watching others climb before it was my turn. I felt like I didn’t really get to have a good go at it, so suggested we go again the next weekend, leaving my daughter at her grandparents.
So the weekend rocks up again, and we ask my son if he wants to come with us and surprisingly, he didn’t, leaving my husband and I with a full two hours of rock climbing to ourselves. I pushed myself harder than any other time I’d been climbing and absolutely loved it. With my appetite whet, we went again the following weekend (which happened to be yesterday).
After smashing myself on Thursday with cross-fit, I was already feeling it in my muscles, but still gave it my all. By the end, I could barely hold my arms in the air, let alone hold myself from them, but still went one more. While we were recuperating, we were listening to another group discuss one of the ‘number 8’ routes. “I think it’s been numbered wrong, it’s too hard to be an eight. The thirteen next to it was easier!” Well, I had already done the thirteen next to it, so I was up for the challenge – despite having already fatigued my arms for the day. After they finished trying to get to the top, we asked if we could have a go and started the ascent to the top of the wall.
I will have to say, I agree – it did feel a bit harder than what I expected an ‘8’ to feel like, but I think that was just because it depended a lot on technique (they were not very big finger holds), so it was different. I almost got to the top before falling off the wall, but managed to get back on and finish the route.
I’ll be back either next week, or the week after (depends on when Parkour is meeting up), to conquer it properly again!
- Rock Climbing (acrobaticthoughts.wordpress.com)