So you’ve recently tried climbing for the first time and you’re looking to build up technique and skill.
In the early stages it’s hugely important you do what you can to improve your technique as it’s all too easy to pick up bad habits that you’ll carry through to your later years of climbing.
Ultimately, building a good foundation on sound technique will allow you to progress further as a climber and bring you closer to your long-term goals.
Without further ado, let’s jump into our 4 on-the-wall training drills to help improve your technique.
1/ No-Hands Climbing
To begin with, select a climb on a vertical wall or slab that you know you can easily complete.
Then do your best to climb the route without using your hands to pull you up at any point.
You’ll quickly notice how you have to use creative foot and body positioning to make the moves work.
Along the way, it’s super likely you’ll learn how much you can trust your feet on a particular hold as well as the kind of positioning required to get past certain moves.
This is all helpful in learning more about what is and what isn’t possible. The more you learn about this, the more confident you’ll be on the wall and the more problems you’ll be able to complete.
2/ One-Handed Climbing
A variation to the above which will work on a totally different aspect of your technique.
One-handed climbing will get you used to moving more dynamically on the wall and teach you to trust your feet even more.
What’s more, you’ll find you need to move your feet around and play with body positioning to make the one-handed move to the next hold that little bit easier.
This will force you to use body positioning and footwork to find creative ways of completing each route.
3/ Silent Climbing
Practicing climbing in complete silence will teach you to be more controlled and efficient on the wall.
To be able to climb in silence you’ll need to execute each move as slowly as possible so you don’t bang a hand or foot on a hold and make a noise.
Climbing in a controlled manner will save energy when on the wall and teach you that there’s no need to rush.
It’s far more important you climb an easier problem correctly and with good beta rather than a harder one with poor technique and bad control.
The more controlled you climb the lower graded blocs, the easier you’ll find tougher stuff when you get to it.
4/ Straight Arms
Straight armed climbing is a hugely useful drill to practice when trying to maximize efficiency on the wall.
Instead of pulling your way through each move to reach the next hold, try keeping your arms straight and adjusting the positioning of your body and feet.
You may find you can rotate your hips to bring yourself as close to hold as you can.
Or you may even find that there are more creative foot positions you can use to reduce the load on your arms.
Good climbing technique is represented by someone who maximizes the use of their legs on the wall, rather than their arms.
After all, your legs are much stronger than your arms as they carry around the weight of your entire body the whole time.
Thus, teaching yourself to utilize this strength to the max is a fantastic way to improve your climbing ability.
5/ Climbing Limbo (BONUS)
We thought we’d finish up with a fun on-the-wall game you can play with friends.
For this game a stick or pole is required (consider using a larger climbing brush found in most commercial gyms).
This engaging and fun game will really get you to be creative on the wall.
The idea is you choose two holds, a start and an end point.
Then you hold the stick directly in the way of the path you’d expect to take to go from the start to the finish.
The stick acts as an obstacle in your way and you have to find a creative way to get to the end hold by climbing underneath the stick.
Whilst this is great fun, it also helps you to think outside the box and gets you comfortable being in peculiar or unfamiliar positions on the wall.
Try it for yourself and let us know how you get on!
This brings to an end our beginners guide to improve your climbing ability.
We hope you find some of these drills useful, as well as having a load of fun while doing them!
Who knew exercise could be such fun, eh?