The Active Guide for bouldering beginners

No matter the weather indoor bouldering is the perfect activity to stay active all year around. You’ve never done it before? No worries! To help you get ready for your first or next bouldering session here are the 6 must follow tips to boulder safe, have fun and achieve the best results.

1. It is not only about your arms

Use your legs. Most people tend to forget about those limbs below their waste but they can be really useful during bouldering. Simply pulling out of your arms will be exhausting and gets you tired really quickly. Therefore, remember to also push out of your legs.

Lindy about to do a legs power push. Photo: Pauline Klieber

2. Body tension

While bouldering, your whole body is working! Using the legs is crucial but also keep the rest of your body tight and strong. It’ll help you stay in balance. There is nothing more awkward than someone hanging on the wall like a sack of potatoes. So please, try and bring some tension in that body. So you won’t look silly at your next boulder session, remember this tip!

Lindy, keeping some tension. Photo: Pauline Klieber

3. Find the right level

Make sure you check the levels of difficulty and find the right one for your current level. First of all, the goal is not to simply make it to the top no matter what but rather finding the right technique to reach the sky. Just because you are as strong as Popeye and simply pull yourself up does not make you a good boulderer. It is about technique and the art of puzzles.

Lindy, from The Mountain Network, Amsterdam. Photo: Pauline Klieber

4. Warm up your muscles

Do not jump the gun and risk muscle injuries. We know this is an old one but make sure to either start with some easier routes or do some proper stretching to get your muscles warm and flexible. First of all you will achieve better results after warming up and secondly, you won’t be bothered with pain and the anger about your own stupidity.

Lindy has some serious skills. Photo: Pauline Klieber

5.  Dip not to slip

Dip your hands in some chalk. Everyone of us has problems with slipping of the grips especially the harder the routes get. And some of us have sweaty hands while doing the easier ones as well. Don’t worry and simply dip your fingers in some chalk. Caution: Don’t overdo it, you don’t want to make everyone in the room cough from that dust cloud!

Chalky hands with Lindy from The Mountain Network. Photo: Pauline Klieber

6. The right shoes

This goes out to all boulder newbies. Take the bit of money and rent or buy proper boulder shoes. Of course your sneakers would also do for the first time but you will notice the difference when climbing with proper shoes. The whole shoe is more narrow and has edges that will help you not to fall of the grips that easily.

So many different types of shoes. Photo: Pauline Klieber

Now that you know the basics, find the closest bouldergym and have fun! If you are having troubles with some routes, don’t hesitate to ask the other climbers, the atmosphere in the boulder gyms is usually really friendly, they’ll help you out!

Jessica Eibert
jessi@theactiveplace.com

Mountain-lover, paraglider and climber, optimist and globetrotter. Co-founder of The Active Place.