I am very curious what you would suggest I do to improve. I started rock climbing when I was around 6 years old ( I am 18 now) but for the past 3 years I had to stop because of personal issues. I have finally been getting back into rock climbing but keep getting frustrated that I cant do what I used to be able to do. I do outdoor top rope every now and then but I mainly do indoor bouldering and top rope I'm climbing around 5.8 maybe 5.9 depending on what gym and around a V1+. I have found a great climbing partner that I climb with around twice a week we have been for around 2 months now. Do you have any advice to improve my overall health and climbing ability? Or any tips in general about climbing?I'm pretty average right now. Its daunting have many experienced climbers around me when I dont understand many things.
Hey @22amanda22 thanks for reaching out!
It's great that you're able to get back involved in a sport you used to be involved in! It's very difficult to provide you specific advice to help you advance your climbing skill given that I can't actually watch you climb or work through a difficult set of moves with you. However, there are some general guidelines I can provide that should help you identify what areas are important for you to work on to get the most out of your climbing sessions.
Basically, there are two ways to improve your climbing: Improving technique and improving your strength. Here are a couple of articles that dive deeper into those two topics (Technique here and strength here). Both of those things are important to work on, but you can think about your climbing abilities and determine which would be a better thing to invest some more time on. When you find yourself stymied by a climb is it because you get hung up on a particular move? Or is it because you find yourself too pumped to be able to finish? Are your arms getting too tired because you are relying on them too much or because you aren't resting and shaking them out periodically?
There is an additional element to consider and that is the mental side of things. As you approach climbs above 5.9 you are facing a lot more exposure (particularly climbing outdoors) and it can be a mental game to push your climbing skills to the limit while facing potentially longer falls.
I encourage you to keep trying! Once you have identified what you need to work on you could get a coach or ask your partner for some tips. As with many things (skiing and mountain biking come to mind) climbing with people who are a little bit better than you is also a good way to grow your skill set. Additionally I would encourage you to talk to your climbing partner and perhaps carve out some time while you're climbing in the gym to focus on a particular part of a climb that has challenged you. Hang dogging to work through the moves of a climb is totally normal!
I hope this helps get you started and gives you some ideas on where to focus some energy. I wish you best of luck in your climbing!
In addition to what John and Taggart have said, I want to add a few practices that helped me improve when my climbing progress plateaued. First I'd recommend "time on the wall" to build endurance and find more efficient ways to move between holds. Setting a timer for 5 minutes, find and easy route to do laps on, climbing to the top, then downclimbing, then upclimbing, etc. You can go as fast or as slow as you want. The goal is to stay on the wall the entire time and use more efficient body positions as you move through the route. When that gets easy you can bump it to 10 minutes as you swap laps with your partner.
Another technique builder is climbing with "quiet feet". Using static and controlled movements and placing your feet silently with each movement. Doing this on easier routes is a good foundation builder for more difficult climbs.
Finally, some sort of training outside of climbing will always have a positive impact. I stumbled into yoga at my local climbing gym and the balance I developed bumped my bouldering up by 2 grades after 9 months.
Hope some of these tips help! At the end of the day I hope you're having fun climbing regardless of grades and other climbers. It's all about enjoying your time climbing!!
Hey @22amanda22 ,
So glad to hear you are getting back into Climbing!
This is a great question and I think one that any climber asks themselves after taking any time off of climbing. When you can't make time to get to the climbing gym super consistently, it's easy to lose a bit of technique or endurance. Some of the things that I have found that work for me are hand strength exercisors and a hangboard (or anything you can hang on safely will work). I always find that taking time off I lose grip strength first. Here are 2 of my favorites: https://www.rei.com/product/890385/dfx-sports-fitness-platinum-powerball-hand-and-wrist-strengthener and https://www.rei.com/product/877233/metolius-grip-saver-plus-hand-exercisers-package-of-3. The other thing I make sure I do is warm up and stay on climbs way below my current climbing level. Sometimes I make full days of the "easier" routes. This is a great way to build stamina and practice technique. If a local gym offers climbing classes, that might be a great way to find some climbing freinds to keep each other motivated and of course having fun.
I hope this helps!