Climbing is an extremely versatile sport that also offers a total body workout. It can help you to burn between 500 and 900 calories an hour and can be enjoyed socially among friends, or as part of a climbing group.
We’ve put together some more advanced climbing tips, including intense endurance training, campusing and perfecting the basics. It’s also important to remember to make sure you’re properly warmed up, as it increases flexibility and decreases the risk of injury.
Advanced Climbing Tips
Although you may feel like you’ve mastered the art of indoor climbing, we’ve created a list of pointers to help refresh the minds of even the more advanced climbers amongst us.
1. Warming up for more Advanced Climbing
Building on what we learnt in the first part, we start with the traverse wall, which is a great place to warm up our hands. Keep your movements nice and smooth, all the while choosing easy holds.
Next, aim for three simple climbs. The first one should be a normal climb, the second and third can be one arm only climbs, alternating between your left and right arm. This ensures you develop a good technique and use your legs more effectively.
Climb down to extend your warm up and further work your antagonistic muscles. Make sure that your belay can pay out correctly.
2. Endurance Training
Climbing fitness and agility are both essential. It’s therefore vital you improve your endurance levels to get closer to reaching your long-term climbing goals.
We explore low-intensity, high-volume training. This means you’re not working yourself too hard, but are still doing lots of climbing to help develop your fitness levels.
A classic form of endurance training is a 4 x 4, where you find a route and climb it four times in a row. You can use the same or different routes. Ideally you need to be doing it once or twice a week for eight weeks in order for it to be effective.
3. Advanced Climbing Tips: Using a Campus Board
Campus boards are a fantastic way for helping you to build explosive strength and power. Before you start your climbing session make sure you’re properly warmed up as you’ll be pushing yourself to increase your limits.
Campusing is characterised by using fast, powerful, but controlled movements up the board with no feet. Aim to perform each exercise symmetrically to avoid developing any imbalances. To make things harder for yourself, you can also move to the smaller rungs.
To minimise the risk of injury, be aware that campus boards should only be used by strong more experienced climbers who already have the appropriate level of power.
4. Ground Anchor
As a belay partner to your climber, you may occasionally need to make use of the ground anchor points, especially if you are significantly lighter than your partner. A ground anchor will increase your resistance and help you keep control of your climber.
5. Dynamic Movements Part Two
Dynamic moves, or ‘Dynos’ are explosive movements where you let go of all points of contact with the wall, using an explosive jumping movement.
The first thing you must do when you realise a Dyno is required is to read the situation, i.e. where you are and where you’re heading for.
Ensure you’ve got a firm grip on the hand hold and you can push firmly with your hands and feet. You should never take your eye off your objective and your hips and your torso must also be aligned in order to reach your target.
6. Footwork Part Two
Footwork is a necessary part of any successful climb. Here, we look at incorporating what we learnt in the first footwork video into a sequence of climbing moves.
The key to all climbing footwork is to place your foot on the hold so you can pivot on your toe. This allows you to put your body in the most efficient position possible. Although speed is beneficial, it’s better to take things easy at the start to ensure precision.
Have a go at ‘smearing’ – using the face of the wall or a volume to climb with your feet. For maximum contact with the wall, remember your foot placement and keep your heels dropped.
7. Falling on Lead
If your lead belay partner slams you against the wall when catching you, they may want to learn how to catch you more softly. This will help improve their advanced climbing technique and give them more control and reducing how hard you hit the wall.
When high enough, you can slow your climber down by carefully paying out rope as you make the catch. Although the fall is longer, the impact into the wall is significantly reduced.
8. One Hand Clove Hitch
When climbing, it’s important to know how to tie and secure certain knots properly. The clove hitch is one of the most frequently-used knots in outdoor climbing. It’s both secure and easy to release at the same time.
You’ll learn how to safely tie this knot with just one hand, leaving the other hand free to keep holding on to the wall.
9. Belay Lock Off
While you may look the part with your climbing gear, locking off your belay plate is a brilliant skill to learn. It gives you the chance to keep your climber safe and secure, while freeing your hands to do something else. The application of which is mostly used outdoors, but knowing more will always help.
10. Using a Prusik
For good climbers, learning how to use a Prusik is a really worthwhile skill. This is especially true for the outdoors, where getting off the ground or abseiling can be difficult. It’s hard work ascending a rope using a Prusik, but sometimes it’s the only option.
We show you how to set Prusiks up safely and how best to use them. To get started you’ll need carabiners, locks, rope, prusiks and slings.