Bouldering is hard, and it can often feel like your not making any progress for a long time. Dont worry, I have been there… so I am sharing my 5 tips to help you improve your bouldering.
How to improve bouldering? First you can try focusing on techniques and your movement patterns, like how close your hips stay to the wall, because this ensures your climbing better even if its not reflected in the grades your Climbing. Theres plenty of activities you can do to improve your bouldering but often the most dramatic change you can make is a mental one, and we will cover that in this post.
This isnt an extensive list, but my own personal experience Bouldering for 5 years and working in a Bouldering centre has allowed me to see some key factors in improving your Bouldering.
Resting more helps you boulder harder
Resting more?! Yes resting more will help you boulder harder.
If you take two minutes or less rest between your boulder attempts I would even say this is maybe the biggest factor holding your bouldering improvement back…
Bouldering often demands a lot of power from us, and resting two minutes between attempts is no where near enough to be able to recover and have another great attempt.
You can have 30 attempts in a hour period where the chances youll do the boulder are just getting slimmer and slimmer, or you could have say 6 attempts in that hour and each would have a really good chance of being the send go!
In the short term,
like in the Bouldering session taking little rest means your not fully recovering and each attempts is getting weaker and weaker.
Not just are you getting physically weaker but your quality of movement is likely declining as your getting more and more fatuiged.
This means your footworks getting worse, maybe your actually using your arms more and the likelihood you will be succesfull is getting pretty slim.
In the long term,
Your continual attempts in this fatuiged state engrainins bad movement habits into your climbing.
Even when your not fatuiged your going to climb like you are (Elbows out, Bad footwork ect.) because you have spent most of your climbing time in that fatuiged state, And your telling your body thats how to move essentially.
Remember: Every time you climb your Practicing, so some bad movement will have a negative effect on your overall climbing movement.
How much should I rest when bouldering?
Bouldering has a high demand on the ‘AT-P’ Energy system.
It is the energy system used for our highest intensity efforts or individual moves, its essentially our max power.
You have somewhere around 10 seconds worth of AT-P stored in your muscles… Thats it!
Then it needs to be re-made in the body through iether the aerobic or anarobic system.
This takes around 4 minutes depending on the method of recovery and your personal fitness… Can you see where this is going?
Resting two minutes is clearly not enough to recover your max power!
So whats the solution?
Rest 4 minutes between your intense bouldering efforts, use a stopwatch if you want!
Firstly you will see how much more power you have for the next attempt and secondly you will have 4 minutes free time to fill while your resting.
Instead of going on your phone you can spend the extra time ‘Feeling out’ the Boulder, and seeing if theres any way you can improve on your last attempt.
I am pretty sure you will see a improvement in your climbing!
Have a Technique session
If your getting shut down on a bouldering for a while, your going to end up doing not very many moves at all as you will have spent most of your time failing and resting.
Focussing on high QUALITY movement and techniques for a session, or in your warmups each session will have a dramatic impact on your climbing.
Even if it doesnt get immediately reflected in your grades, focusing on technique will improve your climbing!
Moving well is much more desireable than ticking a new hard grade if you climbed it badly because it will only reinforce bad movement habits.
So what should I do?
I Focus on a specific element of climbing movement like how much im holding on with my arms as i warmup or sometimes for a whole session.
Spending a good amount of time being really aware of how you move and refining it on easier climbs will improve your technique so when you get back on hard Boulders, they will be easier!
When your practicing technique you want to stay on easy climbing so you can fully concentrate on moving with high QUALITY.
I wrote a post on movement and technique development that goes into more depth… You can read it here!
Long story short,
Spend some time on EASY climbs just being present in your body, focusing on moving well and it will become engrained in your movement patterns.
When you return to your hard bouldering you will be climbing much more fluidly and efficiently making your chances of success much higher!
I wrote a Article on technique development just a few days ago, you can read more on developing technique Here!
Climb with new People
Theres lots of benefit to climbing in different groups, especially if you feel like you have hit a plateau.
Firstly you might be the type of person that tries harder infront of certain people or just generally around other climbers.
I noticed a got much more competitive climbing with people I am comfortable around and you may see the same in your climbing, it really can make you climb better as your more focused and driven.
Even if this isnt the case, observing different climbers can give you a lot of inspiration and you might learn a lot from the new people your climbing with!
You can be inspired by other good climbers habits and movements or mentality and begin using what you learn in your own climbing for a postive impact.