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Bouldering Climbing

How to Avoid these 7 Typical Climbing and Bouldering Training Mistakes

Sure, you learn from your mistakes. But sometimes that takes too long, and it’s too late! You don’t have to make every mistake yourself. I will explain some of the most serious climbing and bouldering training mistakes

In bouldering and climbing training, there is no one recipe for success that works equally well for everyone. Depending on experience level, climbing level, strengths, and weaknesses as well as individual factors, a certain approach can be very helpful or rather harmful. However, there are some things that are wrong for all climbers – or at least can be so unfavorable that we categorize them as mistakes here in general. These seven climbing and bouldering training mistakes can be avoided, and I will tell you how.

Climbing and Bouldering Training Mistake No. 1: Too much too early

Instead of doing the beginner’s training program directly, the advanced one. And instead of pull-ups with support directly to the campus board and try out what works. Instead of starting with the simplest exercise, do the more challenging version directly.

What is the problem?

Training must be tailored to the individual. What is good for Alex Megos does not necessarily fit you. On the contrary, those who work with advanced training approaches too early (i.e., before it is necessary to improve further) rob themselves of the chance to achieve something with them later. Do we have to mention that overstraining is not a training stimulus per se and multiplies the risk of injury?

How to avoid this climbing training mistake:

Start from where you are. If you are a year old climber or have little training experience, an advanced campus board workout from Youtube will not be appropriate for you. You might get a little stronger when trying to copy it. Or maybe not. You will risk hurting yourself, and at best, you will be frustrated because it is too hard.

Even if it seems boring, try to find the option that is appropriate for you, and that challenges you but does not overwhelm you. Then you will make fast progress, and soon the advanced training approaches will be suitable for you. As long as you are still improving, there is no need for revolutionary training, on the contrary, then simply climbing and bouldering is beneficial. Only when you are no longer improving and stagnating, you have to think about how to sensibly set a new training stimulus. There are some good tips here, and in my other article.

Climbing and Bouldering Training Mistake no. 2: Making meters useless

A lot of climbing in boulders or routes that you can do easily and for which you don’t have to exert yourself. Spend the whole climbing session in difficulty levels where there is zero risk of falling. Mainly climbing in grades that are not challenging.

What is the problem?

The moves may not be particularly difficult, but for joints and tendons, the climbing distance covered still means stress. Because of the lack of intensity, there is hardly any training stimulus for the muscles, so you don’t get stronger from it. Climbing is a skill-oriented sport, which means that the technical component is just as important as the strength component. But both are hardly demanded when climbing in well-controlled terrain, so there is no reason for the body to get better. This makes these meters more or less “useless” from a training point of view, even for endurance training they are too light.

How to avoid this climbing training mistake:

Warm-up thoroughly and use this phase to stay relaxed within your comfort zone. Then look for specific challenges where you have to make an effort and where you have trouble mastering the difficulties. Only then is further development possible. As soon as your strength and aggressiveness diminish, or when a regenerative session is due, make sure that the intensity is low enough so that the stress on the musculoskeletal system remains manageable.

Units that aim to improve blood circulation in the forearms at light to medium intensity should be so light that little or no pumping occurs. Conversation should be possible.

Climbing and Bouldering Training Mistake no. 3: Maximum load at the end of the unit

Three hours of hard bouldering, and then go to the hangboard. After the climbing session, try some hard moves on the boulder wall. Generally, maximum strength training of any kind (campus board, fingerboard) at the end of a session if you are already tired.

What is the problem?

At the end of the session, the body is exhausted; the maximum strength is already “used up.” Accordingly, it is hardly possible to set a meaningful training stimulus anymore. On the other hand, the risk of injury increases. The same applies to coordinatively demanding movements: At the end of the session, the body is too tired to perform motor challenging moves cleanly. Learning new movements is hardly possible when the body is tired.

How to avoid this climbing training mistake:

Intensive and maximum loads, as they occur on the fingerboard, campus board, or during hard bouldering moves, belong at the beginning of the training session. After a thorough warm-up, when you are fresh and aggressive, you perform at your best. First of all, the chances of success are better. Secondly, you set a sensible training stimulus and thirdly the body is still fit and can better withstand the high loads. This also applies to coordinatively demanding movements and learning new moves.

Climbing and Bouldering Training Mistake no. 4: Too little rest

During the session without interruption and only with a few seconds of breaks, try out difficult moves again and again. During the week, full-throttle on more than three days or train for weeks without intermission, always hard and until exhausted.

What is the problem?

It is not during training that the body becomes strong, but during the recovery phase after training. After a training stimulus, the body needs time to adapt and regenerate in such a way that sufficient capacity is available for the next intensive exercise. Therefore, it is important to provide the training stimuli with sufficient rest afterward.

How to avoid this climbing training mistake:

During a bouldering session, you should take a few minutes’ break between attempts at intensive loads, and a few more for routes. Otherwise, it is difficult to mobilize your reserves; it is not possible to work with optimal power input. Every few weeks, ideally one training day per week and one week per month, a phase of less scope and intensity should allow the body to take a break so that it can recover for the next intensive cycle. If the training was appropriate before, you will become even stronger in this ‘light’ phase.

Climbing and Bouldering Training Mistake no. 5: Climbing in a similar style

Avoid overhangs consistently, only climb in straight terrain. Or mainly head for strongly overhanging climbs with large holds, but avoid slabs. Exclude certain requirements or wall inclinations as a matter of principle.

What is the problem?

It is quite natural that we have a preferred type of climbing in which we are particularly good and which we enjoy most. Who would not want to be successful? Often we also choose the wall slope rather unconsciously, and preferences creep in unnoticed, which we hardly notice. The danger: If I only climb overhangs, my competence in slabbing naturally does not increase – and vice versa.

How to avoid this problem:

If you want to improve yourself, you have to make sure that you are basically able to climb in all wall inclinations and climbing styles. The good thing is: As soon as you become aware of your preferences, you can approach the less loved inclinations or styles with much more humor – and will be rewarded with significant performance improvements if you try regularly.

Climbing and Bouldering Training Mistake no. 6: Exclusively training strength

Put most energy into working on the different boards and into strength training, spend little time on the wall, rarely or not at all climb routes, rarely go to the rock.

What is the problem?

Climbing is a skill-based sport, which means it consists of different skills. These include physical strength, of course, but also technique and mental skills. The latter is not so easy to train in repetitions and sets, but that doesn’t mean that they are not as crucial as strength. After all, what good is power if the fear of falling prevents us from making a move? Or we simply do not know how to move in a difficult climbing spot? Or we simply cannot get our foot over the edge of the roof?

How to avoid this climbing training mistake:

Strength training should only be done by those who also lack strength. If technique, flexibility, or mental skills are lacking, they should be trained. As with strength training, we have to provide stimuli and enable adaptation. Depending on the requirements, the training of climbing relevant soft skills looks different from blocking strength training, of course, but that doesn’t mean that they are less important.

Climbing and Bouldering Training Mistake no. 7: Always going full throttle

Always wanting to climb hard, demanding consistently high performance from yourself. Be disappointed when the performance curve drops.

What is the problem?

Even if we train strategically and sustainably, it is not realistic that the performance curve is constantly pointing upwards. In other sports, it is common differentiate between different phases such as build-up, maximum strength, and endurance training, the training plan then provides for a peak in the competition phase. This so-called linear periodization is based on the fact that it is not possible for the body to achieve peak performance around the clock all year round, and that it is generally effective to build different training phases on top of each other. Non-linear periodization can also be used in climbing training, but the body still needs recovery phases. Occasional basic and advanced training is also useful for athletes with training experience. However, these are usually accompanied by a short-term drop in performance.

How to avoid this climbing training mistake:

After stress-intensive phases, the body should be given the opportunity to regenerate. At the beginning of the next training cycle, basic and endurance training can be quite useful.