Basic Climbing Techniques

Learn basic techniques to ascend the wall.

Learn basic techniques to ascend the wall.

Indoor or outdoor rock climbing is an empowering sport. When you reach the top of the route, you feel you can do anything. However, even with tremendous strength and flexibility, you need solid climbing technique to ascend the rock. Proper hand and foot placement -- plus the ability to "read" the wall -- will aid you in your climbing attempts. Put on your climbing shoes and harness, grab your belay partner and prepare for an amazing climb.

Warm up with five to 10 minutes of movement. Jog in place, walk around the gym or rocks, or pedal a stationary bicycle. Traverse, move sideways, horizontal, across the rock wall using large hand and foot holds to prepare your muscles. Stretch your arms and legs.

Pick an easy, vertical, route -- one that you can ascend within one or two minutes. Select a boulder if an easy route is not available. Climb up and down the boulder route for one to three minutes to warm your hands and muscles.

Select a route based on your ability. Stand at the bottom of the route and visualize your hand and foot placement. Locate the most difficult portion of the route and identify which hand or foot you need to push past that point. For example, if you need your right hand to reach for a high hold, you need your left hand on a solid hold and your feet close together. Mentally work your way down the wall to determine with which foot to begin the route.

Begin with both hands and feet on the wall. Remove one foot or hand at a time as you climb so you keep three points in contact with the wall. Keep your hips pulled in toward the wall as you ascend.

Use the smallest amount of grip required to keep you on the wall. Save your strength for smaller holds or difficult portions of the route.

Take small steps to keep your center of balance. Move your feet quietly as you ascend instead of banging against the wall or rock.

Use smooth movement and a steady pace. Take rests when you need to.

Practice falling so when it happens you will not be scared. Trust your partner to tighten the rope and catch you. Stick out your feet to push off the wall while swinging from the rope.

Rest for 10 to 15 minutes between climbs to get adequate muscle recovery. Watch other climbers during this time to learn from their technique.

Tip

  • The more you climb, the better you climb. Begin with one or two routes, and increase your time on the rock as your strength and endurance improve.

Warning

  • Always use proper safety equipment. Climb with a belay partner who is confident and has experience. Your life is in his hands.
 

References

About the Author

A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.

Photo Credits

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