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Rock Climbing Tips: Becoming The Next Alex Honnold (or at least a little better)

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The magical supplement that turns us into the next Alex Honnold or Chris Sharma hasn’t hit the market yet so in the meantime here’s some of the best tips on how to improve your rock climbing abilities both indoors and outdoors.

Rock Climbing Tip #1: Frequency!


Climb a lot! It’s makes sense. If you want to get good at something just do it all the time! Although it sounds obvious there are many a climber who doesn’t realize the importance of climbing often. A weekend climber climbing about once a week will progress at a much slower rate than will someone who climbs two or three times per week. Don’t have the time to drive out to the cliffs multiple times per week? Try joining a climbing gym!

Rock Climbing Tip #2: Increase the Intensity of your Session


Try hard! The more intense that each of your sessions are, the more that you will get from them (just don’t hurt yourself). This is doubly true if you allow yourself proper rest time between each days climbing. What is the proper rest time? Check out THIS LINK for more information.


Rock Climbing Tip #3: Improve your resistance


In addition to increasing the intensity of your sessions, sometimes you may want to work on your “climbing resistance”, basically your ability to keep climbing without letting go of the wall or total rest. In order to increase your resistance try practicing on easier climbs but for longer durations with little rest. Other than that, you could also perform resistance exercises geared toward climbing at the end of your climbing session! When you feel like you want to go home, get on the wall and climb until you are pumped out of your mind. Then go home, and enjoy a nutritious snack. 

Another great way to improve your climbing ability is to make sure you down climb every route that you do. More time on the wall equals faster improvement and reaching your goals that much sooner! Down-climbing is also an often overlooked skill that may prove very useful in your climbing career.


Rock Climbing Tip #4: Your technique


Proper technique will take you a lot further than pure strength. It is not until elite levels that specific strength training is required. Up until about mid 5.12, technique should be your only focus. The necessary strength will be developed just by climbing a lot. There are different techniques for climbing different routes (the beta) and without proper knowledge of the technique to climb that route, no matter how strong you are you may still have difficulty sending the climb. An example of this is the technique needed for a crack climb versus that of a face climb as well as the particular ways you should position your body ascending the wall.


Rock Climbing Tip #5: Knowing the Route


In addition to different technique overall, each channel requires different individual moves to send to the top. The better you observe what moves you want to make before you attempt them, the less energy you will waste on your climb. For example, at very difficult holds one should move quickly whereas when you have a good grip and comfortable position you can take a break and rest while looking ahead at your next path will be. Although it may seem laborious, in the end, it will become second nature and make you a much more successful climber and allow you to easily excel with the pace needed.


Rock Climbing Tip #6: Don’t be afraid to climb difficult routes


From time to time, climbing at levels above what you may think you can send will allow you to improve much quicker. Only climbing difficulties where you think you could easily send on the first or second time will not truly improve your abilities. In order to improve you need to attempt climbs that are slightly out of your reach (no pun intended) so that your body has a chance to get used to the increased effort and learn the techniques that are inherent to your progression as a climber. It is important to not waste time on routes way out of your league or too within you abilities. Find that balance.


Rock Climbing Tip #7: Choose the right Climbing Partner


Much of success in climbing comes from overcoming the mind as opposed to improving the body. Having a good friend who is able to motivate you and push you to pull yourself up that last hold is also very important in pushing forward your climbing ability. Each and every time you’re pushed to do something you thought you couldn’t before, your mind gets a little bit tougher. In addition to climbing with people who motivate you, keep a good mix of people in your climbing squad. You want climbers better than you in order to push you to new heights as well as people around your level in order to give you a little competition and not get discouraged.


Rock Climbing Tip #8. Enjoy Yourself!


Although it is helpful to improve your abilities rock climbing so that you can venture more places and experience more of the world, try to ensure that you are enjoying yourself along the way. Rock climbing can be taken as a very individualized sport, focussing on personal development and enjoyment, or it can be taken as more of a competitive sport against other climbers. This measuring of one’s abilities can sometimes cause unhealthy discontent but at other times can push you forward to new heights. Make sure that whatever improvements you are striving for is not at the expense of your long-term enjoyment of the sport and your happiness as a person.

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One thought on “Rock Climbing Tips: Becoming The Next Alex Honnold (or at least a little better)

  1. Rafael M says
    November 30, 2015 at 5:18 am

    I have always wanted SU to construct a climbing wall, I am sure people would use it a ton!

    -Rafael M

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