When you’re engaging in rock climbing, you’re not just playing along with earth’s gravity, but you’re also conquering yourself. Rock climbing is all about movement in the vertical world. Though indoor climbing is an excellent place to learn the basics and develop from there, one cannot call it already a “rock climbing for it is merely training for the real thing.
If you are beginning to learn climbing in an indoor gym, here are a few tips that can help you prepare yourself when you finally transition to outdoor rock climbing.
Look, Think, Then Move
People often saturate the nature of rock climbing as something that only dwells on the physical when in fact, it is also mental. Before you proceed to climb, you should first study the cliff face and rock surface; and mentally calculate your footholds and handholds, and places to rest. Ideally, before you start climbing, you should strategize your way up first. If your initial plan or route fails to work, then think of another plan while staying calm and relaxed as you work your way in solving the problem.
Don’t Hug the Rock
One of the most common mistakes that beginners do is they get extremely close to the rock. When you lean so close into the rock surface, chances are you take the weight off your feet, making you feel imbalanced. This can be a problem for you as a climber since rock climbing is all about being in balance. Keep your body perpendicular to the rock, and maintain your hips centered over your feet for you to have more stability.
Though upper-body strength is vital in rock climbing, balance and finding equilibrium is more important. A good climber has nothing to do with how muscular you are, but it has something to do with how you use your body to bring yourself up – how you use your legs and feet in pushing yourself up without losing balance, how you use your upper-body strength to maintain your balance, and keeping your lower and upper-body find harmony with each other.
Use Basic Foot Positions
Practice using the three basic foot positions in rock climbing – edging, smearing, and toeing. In toeing, you use the toe of your shoe to maintain position on a foothold. Edging is when you use both the inner and outer edges of your shoe to stand on footholds. Smearing is placing as much of your foot and shoe rubber on the rock, and rely on friction to keep your foot in position. On smearing, you use both the toe and the balls of your feet to support your body weight.
Use Your Arms and Hands
In rock climbing, you mostly make use of your lower-body to push and propel and use your upper body to pull. Use your hands to do different grips, and hold on handholds. As you climb, assess the rock surface for you to find the perfect handholds. Grab and grip onto the hold that you can find, and push yourself upwards. Don’t exert too much strength on your grip because you might come out of balance and fall off.
Flow With the Rock
Rock climbing is about movement and flow. With that being said, climb with a manner of gracefulness and precision but also be fluid. In climbing, you have to be able to always be in balance even when you’re moving. To do this, you have to be physically and mentally calm. Don’t overthink your way up. Shake out your hands to relieve stress and increase blood flow. Be one with the rock.