Bouldering Tips: Beginner To Advanced

In this post, Vertical Limit staff Isaac and Kieron demonstrate how to master some of our exciting bouldering routes from beginner level (V3) to advanced (V8).

Bouldering is a great way for beginners to get into climbing. Why? All you need is a set of climbing shoes and chalk, and you’re good to go! Don’t have these items? You can buy chalk and hire climbing shoes from the Vertical Limit shop.

How to warm up for bouldering

Bouldering can involve dynamic moves, jumps and long reaches. Make sure you warm up before bouldering to prevent injuries and to get the most out of your session.

A lot of our climbers warm up by traversing the bouldering wall. It’s also good to warm up with exercises such as jumping-jacks or jogging on the spot. Any exercise that raises heartrate and involves a series of dynamic movements that use similar muscle groups to climbing will help you warm up.

V3 Demonstration and Tips (Isaac and Kieron)

You don’t have to be an advanced climber to feel like Spiderman! Vertical Limit offers interesting, challenging routes from beginner level to advanced. This V3 is a good route for beginners, with some technical moves and a big overhang to beef up your biceps!

V Limit staff Isaac and Kieron climbing at Vertical Limit Indoor Climbing Centre, Worcester.

Tips from Isaac and Kieron:

Where people usually struggle with this route is grasping the big hold. The trick is to get your feet high, so you have enough reach to grasp it. A lot of climbers over-rely on their arms and use their arms to pull themselves up difficult moves when starting out. The best tip for beginners is to use your legs more; making greater use of your leg muscles and finding creative ways to complete dynamic moves instead of just hauling yourself up with your arms can also help you to develop better technique.

A misconception about climbing is that it’s all about arm strength and that you have to be a muscular man to be good at climbing. In reality, a lot of moves rely on the strength of your legs, having good flexibility and core strength and placing your feet right. Climbing is a sport for everyone. The routes you will see below (V5 and V8) involve high heel hooks which require good flexibility. Women may have a advantage, naturally being more flexible than men.

V5 Demonstration and Tips (Isaac)

This is an exciting V5 with a jump move that requires precision and good timing.

Isaac bouldering a super V5 route at Vertical Limit Indoor Climbing Centre, Worcester.

Tips from Isaac:

To successfully complete the jump move, letting the heel go at the right time - transferring your weight off of the previous hold - is crucial. Jump moves are often a mind-game - you have to commit to the move. As soon as your hand touches the hold after the jump, you need to wrap your fingers around the hold to latch on.

V8 Demonstration and Tips (Isaac)

One of the most challenging routes currently on our bouldering wall, this V8 really tests your technique. This route involves three heel hooks and a toe-hook start.

Isaac smashing a V8 at Vertical Limit Indoor Climbing Centre, Worcester.

Tips from Isaac:

This route requires a lot of core strength - you’ll need to keep your core muscles tense to keep your feet solid. It’s easier if you keep your hips close to the wall.

To prepare for routes like the one above, work on your flexibility, core strength and practice getting solid heel hooks.

Heel Hook Tips

Isaac demonstrating a heel hook. Image credit: G. Bull

Isaac demonstrating a heel hook. Image credit: G. Bull

The trick to a solid heel hook is putting your weight in the right place. You should push down on the ball of your heel (not Achilles tendon) and try to point your toes at the same time as you pull on your leg. Pointing your toes engages your calf muscle as you pull, which improves power. Pointing your toes also helps to keep your foot in place on the hold.

Have you completed one of our challenging bouldering routes and have a cool video to share with the community, or tips for other climbers? Share your videos and tips in the comments below or with our climbing community on Facebook - @VerticalLimitIndoorRockClimbing