If you Google "tips for climbing harder", chances are that you'll get article after article offering up extensive training plans. But what if you’re not ready to jump into a complicated training plan?
Perhaps you see other climbers sticking on impossible holds, utilizing crazy-looking techniques, and easily climbing routes and problems you could only dream about. ‘One day,' you think, 'but surely there are some quick and easy adjustments I can do now to climb a little better and a little smoother....’
You're in luck! Check out these quick tips:
SEQUENCE YOUR ROUTE
Before you touch the route or problem, you should take a look at it, identify the holds and start mentally deciding how you’ll move up.
Sequencing a route is beneficial for climbers in a few ways. Most importantly, it prevents you from getting burned out halfway up the wall because you’ve been fumbling around for the next hold or trying to figure out how to do the next move on the fly. It also helps you plot out potential spots to hang, shake out, and rest.
True sequencing, with in-depth planning, can take years of practice to perfect, but it is never too early to start. Here how to sequence a climb:
Handholds vs Footholds. Differentiate the handholds from the footholds. This will prevent you from accidentally grabbing a teeny, slopey foothold, causing you to fall.
Locate the Handholds. Locate all the holds on your climb before you touch the climb. Check around corners, arêtes, below overhangs, underneath large holds and volumes, and in any other spot you will not be able to see once you are up on the wall.
Locate the Footholds. Identify the footholds you’ll use. It can be hard to judge your height and reach, but marking the footholds you want to use before you get on the wall will greatly improve your efficiency on the wall.
Start Plotting. Mentally plan out the body positioning for each move. Are you going to smear on that bit of slab to get to an undercling? Or are you going to use the outside edge of your right foot on a small nub, turn your hip into the wall, and reach up to the crimp with your right hand?
Pulling all of this information together before you even touch the wall will help you climb more efficiently.
If you climb consistently and often (but without overdoing it), you’ll see some gains in your climbing. Climbing is just like any other skill and physical activity, if you only climb three times a month you will improve slowly. However, if you climb two or three times per week, you’ll see more improvement much more quickly.
If you've caught the climbing bug, you know climbing can be addicting and amazing. While climbing consistently can help you improve quickly, be careful to get in the rest your body needs to stay healthy.
Climbers should rest in between attempts on an individual climb, and also in between days of climbing.
One of the biggest mistakes I see, especially in the bouldering area, is climbers getting on the same climb five times within two minutes. We all want to finish climbs, and often have limited time per session to spend climbing, but resting, even just five minutes in between attempts, can greatly improve your odds of getting the send. Often resting even longer is best.
And don’t forget to take full rest days off from climbing. Listen to your body—if you’re feeling fatigued during a particular climbing session, you may want to take a day or two off to fully rest.