rock climbing courses

Technique Training

Poor technique is more often than not, the main reason why we fail on routes. With a little work on proper technique you will be able to cruise routes effortlessly with no waste of energy. All the games below are easy to fit into your normal climbing sessions. I have split the games into three types, as most will help either your endurance, anaerobic endurance or your strength.

Even if you are planning a normal climbing session with no training aims, remember to warm up with your technique at the front of your mind. This will get your body prepared for the harder climbs later on. You will never be able to climb hard routes well if you warm up with scrappy climbing at the start of your session.

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Warm up and Aerobic based games

These are great as a warm up or as the main body of your climbing session.

Quiet feet

This is a simple game and is great as a warm up. Climb your normal warm up route with one rule in mind. You are not allowed to make any noise with your feet. Sometimes people will take their eyes off their feet just before the foot is placed into the foothold. This results in the foot been slammed onto the foot hold and making a lot of noise. This is a problem as small footholds require you to keep your eyes on your feet for a precise placement. If climbing with a partner, get them to judge how noisy you are as feedback from each other is an extremely valuable tool.


Speed climbing

This is also a good warm up game as you are generally working with large holds. Pick a route that is way below your onsight limit. It does not matter how long the route is but bear in mind that the longer your route the harder this will be. Spend some time finding the best way of climbing the route, practice each move and experiment with lots of different way of completing that move(rock overs or back stepping etc). Once you have found the perfect way of climbing the route(this could take along time) try climbing it in one go. Time how long it takes, on your second go try climbing the route faster. If you find you are making mistakes, slow things down and then gradually bring the speed back up until you can climb the route quickly with no mistakes. Do not allow yourself to climb with sloppy technique.

This exercise will help you flow when you climb, each move will lead onto the next and the energy from the previous move will carry on through to the next move. This is an excellent way of conserving energy and can help you move past crux sections of climbs with minimal effort. Speed climbing will also help your red pointing skills and will help you learn which type of move to use and in which situation.

Beeeeeeep!

This is a game best suited for indoor bouldering with two or more people. Each person needs to set a long boulder problem (around 30- 50 moves), the problem should be extremely easy with lots of jugs but with no hands off rests. The completed problem should be shown once to your partner. Then your partner should try to climb the route. Each time the climber uses a incorrect handhold you have to shout BEEEEP(or any other word of your choice). The climber then has to climb backwards for 3 hand holds, you can then tell the climber the correct handhold. This should be done until the route is completed or the climber falls off.

This is good for route memory and visualization skills.

One move wonder

Whilst climbing a easy route, limit yourself to one type of climbing move. This move could be inside flagging, outside flagging, rock overs, heel hooks or any other climbing move. Try to pick a move that is suitable to your climb, there is no point trying to do rock overs on a balancy slab. Climb the route using only the allowed move. Make mental notes on when the move worked and when it didn't.

Anaerobic games

All these games will help you build anaerobic endurance as well as have a good laugh with your mates

Add on

Indoor climbing courses

This is a favourite game of mine to play at a bouldering wall. Within a group of mates take turns in climbing a made up route. The first person should pick two starting holds and then climb using any two further hand holds of their choice. I would recommend using any foot holds as this makes it easier for people of different heights to climb the same route. The second person to climb the route has to use all the same hand holds set by the previous person, if the climber then reaches the end they get to add two more hand holds. The route will slowly get longer and longer until you get completely pumped and a good rest is needed.

Eradication

Climb a section of the wall, after the route has been climbed two holds are eliminated but the next person to climb the route gets to pick one of the eliminated holds and reinstate it. Your partner then has to climb the route without using the eradicated hand hold. If they complete the route they then get to remove a further two hand holds with the climber again reinstating one hold. Keep climbing the route in this manner until neither of you can complete the route. Try to remove sensible holds so the route has no massive gaps.

Pointy stick game

This is a bouldering game that can be used to train strength or anaerobic endurance depending on what type of holds are used. The climber can only use the hand holds that are pointed out by another person behind them. The use of a stick lets you point out holds that are out of reach. When pointing out hand holds try and have the next couple of holds in mind so the climber is not forced to hold on while you work out which hold to point out next.

This is good training for the pointer person as well as the climber at it forces them to to visualize moves. For anaerobic endurance training try to set holds that allow the climber to hold on for around 20-25 moves. For strength training set holds that allow the climber the hold on for only 8-12 moves.

Strength based games

Elimination

This is similar to the Eradication game above. Instead of two holds being removed only one hold is removed by the successful climber and therefore no holds can be reinstated by the next person to climb. This tends to give a harder problem hence the reason that elimination is a strength based game and not anaerobic training.

One handed climbing

This is simply the best technique training ever. Not only can it help build strength but will can also help with learning back stepping and flagging. Pick a route that is just off vertical and climb it using one hand only. The route should have large foot holds and handholds to start off with. You will find that you should naturally twist yourself round so you are side on to the rock (back stepping). This side on position reduces the strength needed to hold on and allows better balance. You will often find that only one foot is on a hold, use the other leg like a tail to help you keep your balance. As you get better at this style of climbing reduce the size of the hand holds to gain a greater strength training element. When you are forced to grab a hand hold quickly, the muscles are having to work faster. The speed of the contraction is defined by your power, the more powerful you are the quicker the muscles are able to contract. One handed climbing forces your muscles to contract quickly and will help increase your arm power.


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