How to ‘Climb like a Girl’ (The more Efficient Climbers)

Climbing begun as a pretty macho sport.

There are more and more Women Climbers in local gyms now and On the world cup circuit so I wanted to Illustrate how women are better climbers than men with this how to guide that we can all learn from!

  • Women are more flexible so cut loose less on climbs.
  • Women have better footwork and use there legs more to save strength.
  • Women climb with more Flow because of the flexibility and footwork, saving further energy.

Obviously these are massive generalisations but its what I have seen on the whole.

Now lets get into how we can learn from the women and all climb better.

Climber Girls are more Flexible

As kids I am sure we are all equally flexible but generally girls go into gymnastics and boys prefer football.

So women end up being much more flexible than men.

Its also influenced by men having more muscle mass restrincting there range of motion.

This extra flexibility allows women to keep lots of weight on there feet, and feel stable when the men mostly pull there way through the moves.

If Men were as flexible as the women there would be much less need for cutting loose, powering through moves and they would just become better climbers.

Since men generally have more muscle mass they can make do with less flexibility and climb in more front on styles.

But as you can see, to be the apsolute best like Adam and Alex there is no substitute for great flexibility.

The only two climbers to reach 9c… Adam Ondra and Alex Megos, both incredibly flexible I am sure your aware!

Why try get even stronger when you can get more flexibible and just move better!

Being flexible isnt a girls way out of being strong or doing hard moves, because thats not the point…

It simply makes them better climbers, more efficient climbers!

If you want to Improve your climbing there is probably a lot to be gained in your flexibility and mobility, especially in the hips!

I wrote this article and video on Hip mobility and strengthening to allow more flexibility.Opens in a new tab.

You might find it benecifial!

So thats the first thing we can learn from climbing like a girl, there is no substitute for flexibility, and simply pulling your way through moves with more muscle will only get you so far!

Women have better footwork

Because of our inherent physiological differences, women start out with much less upper body strength than men.

I work at a climbing gym 40 hours a week so I pretty quickly noticed the differences between how the women and men beginners move.

Men are immediately drawn into big juggy overhangs, are terrible at keeping there feet on and pretty quickly resort to just campusing v1s.

The women I noticed always move a bit slower to begin with and climb feet first.

(Which by the way, we should all be doing)

They spend longer on the same set of handholds moving there feet around looking for somewhere to place all there weight.

Maybe its because they have less upper body strength or perhaps there just more sensible and dont feel like doing pullups.

Iether way, women tend to immediately have better footwork and in the elite females you can see how much better they move!

So what can we learn from Climbing like a girl?

Climb Feet first!

Build your feet up to carry your weight then push yourself up the route

The flexibility we discussed in the first chapter works in harmony with this movement.

Instead of pulling yourself up the climb, look for all the high feet and hooks you can that will allow you to push yourself up the route.

This will make you much more efficient in your climbing, and youll go further!

Saving small amounts of energy on each move will mean you reach the crux with more strength and likelihood of success!

Heres my Article on improving your footwork, the techniques I used to reach 8a.Opens in a new tab.

You might find it beneficial (I am pretty sure :))

Women Climb with more ‘Grace’

Hopefully we have all experienced flow, that magical state where our projects became easy and we just witnessed ourselves float up the climb.

Well it looks to me like women can access this flow state much more often then men simply because of how they move.

if you watch that jain kim video you can see how controlled and flowy each move is.

There isnt much stopping and she seems to just float up the climb.

Firstly this helps her conserve energy as she moves in this consistent pace,

but secondly it also means she can keep breathing steadily and remain focused the whole way.

This is probably the number one requirement for flow.

Keeping your breathing steady and remaining present and relaxed will almost garuntee you will access flow.

This is the third thing we can learn from ‘Climbing Like a girl’

Climbing steadily and feet first allows you to fload up the wall, often in flow

All the most graceful and controlled climbers are surely women and I believe its because of this movement.

In addition, moving at a steady pace with continuous breathing helps keep a good supply of oxygen going to your musles.

This is vital for keeping pump at bay and like we mentioned previously, accessing flow.

If you want to read more about accessing flow, check my article on rituals here!Opens in a new tab.

Another reason women are more graceful and flowy is they arent relying on there upper body as much.

When men climb you can see it looks pretty hard sometimes as they catch gastons or jump for holds.

This scatters the mind and creates a less than relaxed mindset.

When were not relaxed its almost impossible to access flow.

Climbers also hold there breath for some moves, its called the valsalvur manouver offically and it created body tension.

But it also stops us breathing steadily and we can feel out of breath.

This has a negive effect on our efficiency and grace over the numerous moves of a route or boulder.


In conclusion, women are pretty much more efficient climbers, and arguably better.

If you want to learn to climb like a girl, focus on your flexibility and mobility in the hips, climb feet first and dont rely on your arms when things get tough.

This is sure to improve your climbing.

Well anyway, I hope you enjoyed this article, i know there were some massive generalisations but it had to be done for the articles simplicity.

Ses you in the next one 🙂

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