If you’re into extreme sports, there are many different things you can do – off-trail and freestyle skiing or snowboarding during winter, waterskiing, diving, and many others during summer, but what about the rest of the time? Not every adrenaline junkie has a beach or a ski resort nearby, so it is good to have an option to exploit outside of your vacation time.
In this indoor rock climbing for beginners’ article, we’ll go through climbing techniques you could use, that will help you get the most out of your session and that will help you achieve your designated goal as fast as possible while staying safe along the way of achieving some of the great rock climbing health benefits.
1. Rock Climbing Types
There are many different rock climbing types, and we’ll go through some of the basic stuff that is typical for them:
This type of rock climbing is done without a rope or a harness because it is being done on the routes near the ground, so a thick crash pad is enough to protect you from injuries. It is a great way to begin exploring rock climbing because it will help you focus on your technique and getting the most out of your strength while you keep the balance.
Top-rope climbing is also great for beginners and it will teach you how to climb using a harness and a rope. You’ll require a belay-certified assistant for this type of climbing to hold the other end of the rope to prevent you from falling, or it can be done with an auto belay device.
When you master top-rope, it is time to switch to a bit more challenging type of climbing – lead climbing. This is done by tieing into one end of the rope, then clipping it into quickdraws installed on the wall. This is similar to outside sport climbing. You’ll also need a belayer because every time you miss a quickdraw or you slip, you’ll fall to the place of your previous clipping-in.
2. Rock Climbing For Beginners Tips
Here are some basic tips and tricks that will help you start things easier.
1. Set Your Goals
Before each session on the wall, set your goals. Don’t go straight to the top, but try to make it challenging so you can practice and enjoy your success along the way.
2. Work Your Legs
When it comes to strength, don’t forget that your legs are stronger than your arms, so learning how to place your legs properly and how to improve the friction will make things way easier.
3. Understanding The Actions
Every movement you make while on the wall has its purpose, so try to learn not only how to do it but why. Picking a good mentor or a partner will help, and it will also give you the chance to learn from their experience along the way.
4. Learn How To Fall
Sooner or later, it will happen and you’ll find yourself on the ground. To avoid possible or serious injuries, learning how to fall should be on the top of your priority list.
3. Proper Climbing Gear
When the time comes to begin your climbing adventure, you’ll need the proper equipment. Make a calculation and learn whether you’ll be climbing regularly or you tend to just try it out one-time. If you plan to get back to the wall, then buying is the way to go as it will save you money in the long-term. For the starters, you’ll need:
- Beginner climbing or bouldering shoes and pants
- Chalk bag
- Belay device
- Locking carabiner
- Climbing brush
There are also some additional pieces of equipment like a crash pad, rope, quickdraws, approach shoes, backpacks, etc, but you won’t be needing them until you master climbing techniques.
4. Learning The Ropes
Belaying is one of the essential parts of climbing, and once you enter your climbing location, ask some of the instructors to teach you how to do it. The key to belaying is not to let go of the rope and to hang on to it all the time. When it comes to technique, you’ll have to test it out on the spot. There are some general inputs, but reading about it can be confusing and it is quite simple to understand and do once you see it on the spot.
5. Choosing Your Route
As a beginner, you’ll most likely start with top-rope routes labeled with 5.5 or 5.6, which are values used to mark beginner routes, while if you decide to go with bouldering for starters, then V0 is the one to start with. Routes are marked with different colors, so once you choose one route, just follow that color until the end. As you gain experience, you’ll learn how to plan your climb which will also make things easier.
6. Building The Strength
Although it looks like most of the work will be done by using your hands, the truth is you’ll need core strength for wall climbing, so you could try improving it with yoga, pilates, or some similar activity. Also, during your climbs, you’ll be using mostly your fingers, hands, and upper body.
7. Wall Climbing Techniques
Here are some of the most important wall climbing techniques and tips:
- Keep your arms straight and keep your legs bent. Straight arms will make your climbing more efficient, while with your legs bent it will be easier to push yourself up with your lower body, and this way helping your upper body.
- Find the pace that works for you and keep it. The constant change of pace will exhaust you easily, so find the rhythm that works for you and do your best to keep it up as long as possible.
Feet Climbing Techniques
There are two basic techniques used to climb with your feet, and they are called edging and smearing.
- Edging is done by stepping on hold with the rubber edge of your shoe, and the direction is determined by the part of your shoe you use to step – inside edge or the outside edge.
- Smearing is done when there is no foothold and you have to use the rubber of your shoe to initiate friction.
As you climb, footwork is an integral part of success, and here is how to perform it:
- Keep your feet directly below you to keep a better balance.
- Try to find the best foot placement, even if it means a slightly worse position of handhold.
- Keep your foot still once you set it.
- Try to lower your heel as much as possible to use more rubber in contact with the wall.
Although it may sound complicated, maintaining balance comes naturally, and all you can do is to practice until you master it. This becomes useful when you have to move sideways during your climb. Here are some tactics to help you with this:
- Press the foot in the opposite direction of your pull so you get counter pressure.
- Pull in the opposite direction with your other hand or a hooked foot.
- Lean over as hard as possible and let your body weight serve as a counter-balance.
Efficient Climbing Technique
The best technique is the one that lets you climb with ease without much of an effort. Here is how to achieve it:
- Turn your focus to your hips. Holding one pushed against the wall and the other a bit away from it will give you a sense of stability while the weight will be over your feet and you’ll be able to lean back with your straight arms.
- Constantly keep your eye on the fall and look for holds so you can take a quick rest. Once you get to a position to rest, take it, and relax for a few moments.
Essential Climbing Moves
Some of the most important climbing moves are:
- Stemming is simply pushing against two opposing surfaces.
- Flagging means you’ll be using a limb to shift the weight to get counter-balance to prevent you from swinging away from the rock.
- Lay-backing means you’ll pull and lean off one side and push your feet against the other side.
- The mantle is a move in which you push down on the hold intending to bring your feet up to your hands. Great when you have to get onto something.
- Undercling means you’ll be ding the underside of a hold. It may take some time to learn it, you’ll get some additional elevation.
- Side pull is used to move sideways, while its opposite is known as gaston, and it is done by pushing out instead of pulling in.
- Palming is pushing against the rock with your open palm.
8. Warming Up
Before you start with your training, make sure you’re warmed up to get your muscles in a good position. Any basic warm-up will do:
- Jumping jacks
- Arm and wrist circles
- Simple climb for starters
If you have some routine that is different but it works for you, stick to it.
9. Make It Fun
Remember, the key to climbing is to have fun as you do it, so be creative and make some kind of competition to give yourself extra motive. There are many different things you can do, like racing or trying to do something as you climb – everything is permitted, as long as you don’t forget about safety.
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about indoor rock climbing techniques:
Q: What is a good rock climbing technique?
The answer to this question is simple – the one that suits you the best and that allows you to climb as easily as possible, without making you feel tired and exhausted along the way. You’ll discover your favorite technique as you practice and spend time on the wall, so don’t think about the best one, think about the one that suits you the best.
Q: Is rock climbing hard for beginners?
If you’re ready to admit that you’re a beginner that has a lot to learn, then no, it is not hard. It is actually quite easy. However, if you prefer to look at everything as a competition, then yes, rock climbing is hard because you’ll learn from someone more experienced than you, and reacting their movements can be exhausting for your both body and mind because you’ll have to learn how to handle constant falling.
Q: How can I improve my indoor climbing?
The answer to this question is quite simple – by practicing. The more you practice, the better you’ll become and easier it will be to conquer greater heights. Practice your footwork as much as possible, create challenges, don’t be afraid to try something new, and most importantly – be patient with yourself.
Q: What is backstepping climbing?
Backstep is a move where you use the outside edge of the foot and you step on the hold with your little-toe side of the shoe. This maneuver will make it easier to keep your arms straight and to rest. These are the best choice for more challenging routes. Drop knee is a bit more extreme version of a back step and you’ll learn it along the way.
Globo Surf Overview
Rock climbing is one of the most interesting, challenging, and fun extreme sports, while indoor rock climbing will allow you to feel the thrill with the safety at the maximum level. In this indoor rock climbing for beginners article, you’ve read about climbing techniques and other important information to get you started. From that point, it is completely up to you and your dedication how good you’ll become in this sport. In the meantime, you could check out some of the best rock climbing movies or read some of the best rock climbing books, just to get a better idea and motivation about it.