Sometimes the solution is somehow the opposite of what you thought. You go to the gym listlessly to get fitter, but don’t really feel like lifting weights? Then lift yourself. Yes, exactly: Use your muscles to lift yourself. On a climbing wall. It’s called bouldering – and it really hits the spot. Let us explain.
What is bouldering anyway?
Bouldering is the US -Name for climbing on rock faces or in climbing halls without Kurt or safety rope (from English “boulder” = large boulder). But don’t worry: When bouldering in a climbing hall you are at the height of your jump and in case of a fall you land softly on thick mats. The trend sport is booming – for good reasons: We have put together 7 for you here!
1. bouldering can be learned by everyone
Your friends want to go bouldering tonight and ask you to come? Agree – even if you have never been involved in the sport before. Because you don’t need any previous climbing experience (although this is of course an advantage), exceptional fitness, or other prerequisites to go bouldering. Also size, age or weight do not matter, because everybody can learn bouldering.
If you are a beginner, you can have experienced friends or the staff in the climbing gym give you a briefing (taster course) and start climbing. There are boulders (routes) for every level.
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And so goes’s: The starting handle(s) are usually marked with coloured snippets. The respective colour stands for the degree of difficulty of the so-called “problem” (route). You have to start at these handles – whether you want to or not. The goal is to somehow reach the last boulder – which is also marked by a colored snippet – and hold on to it with both hands for about 3 seconds. Then the “boulder problem” is solved and you can climb or jump down.
Often there is not the “one” solution how to create a route, but different possibilities.
2. you need (almost) no equipment for bouldering
If you go bouldering for the first time, all you need is comfortable sportswear. And it doesn’t have to be particularly chic or expensive, because the climbing community is styling-wise rather casual to eco-friendly. In the bouldering hall you can simply rent some climbing shoes (for 4 Euro). If you like bouldering then you should quickly invest in your own pair (from 80 Euros upwards). Because to be honest: Nobody likes rental shoes – neither for bowling nor for bouldering.
You can rent the appropriate footwear in the climbing hall. © santypan / Shutterstock.com Challenge: “I want to learn to climb”
Not a must for beginners, but indispensable for hobby boulderers: a chalk bag with magnesia. The magnesium carbonate keeps the hands dry by absorbing moisture. So you have a more secure grip. By the way, you don’t strap the Chalk Bag on, but leave it on the ground. This way you avoid a “chalk explosion” when falling.
3. you don’t need a partner for bouldering
Unlike climbing, you don’t need a partner for bouldering, because you are not secured to the wall by a rope. Sounds dangerous? No problem, because bouldering is basically nothing else than climbing at jump height. In other words, the walls you climb are only 2 to 4 meters high and not 15. The only “safety” is the soft matting on the ground. But you can go climbing alone at any time, as you are not dependent on anyone else.
4. bouldering is a great way to meet people
Although an advantage of bouldering is the just mentioned “independence”, you are never alone in the bouldering hall. Not only because the sport is becoming more and more popular and the halls are getting fuller, but also because bouldering is a very communicative sport. You will quickly get into conversation with other climbers, observe others and pick up tricks, get advice and tips on how to best solve your bouldering problem. Sounds intrusive?
Nope, quite the opposite: The atmosphere in the bouldering hall is mega-relaxed and friendly, because although everybody climbs on their own, the team spirit is a central theme in bouldering.
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5. bouldering is the perfect whole body training
Sport climbing with rope is about endurance, whereas bouldering is pure maximum power. But boulderers are not typical musclemen (they would only be a nuisance anyway), like you often run around in the gym. Nevertheless they are in top shape, because bouldering trains almost all muscle groups. This makes bouldering the ideal strength training for the whole body – for men as well as for women. It not only builds sexy muscles, but also improves balance, coordination and body awareness.
Besides, climbing also burns a lot of calories: You can easily count on around 350 kcal per hour.
Bouldering tips by Roxana Strasser (Roxis corner)
By the way: With bouldering, grip strength, as well as shoulder and arm muscles are optimally trained, but most of the movements in bouldering do not come from the arms – but from the whole body. You don’t just pull yourself up by the grip and cling to it. They mainly use the legs and feet (“standing up” instead of “pulling up”), turn in and climb on the “long arm”.
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6. bouldering you can always and everywhere
Bouldering is possible all year round – regardless of the weather inside the hall or outside directly on the rock. Since in nature there are of course no soft mats on the ground to cushion your fall, you should carry a so-called crash pad with you. Sounds annoying at first, but the foldable mats are now easy to transport and offer the best possible protection for outdoor bouldering.
7. in bouldering you will quickly achieve success
There are sports that are simply frustrating at the beginning. Think about surfing: The pros’ moves look so easy, but when you’re on the board yourself, nothing works. You need a lot of practice and a lot of stamina to get better (at some point) and master the sport. Sure, also in bouldering these two factors are needed to perform really well on the wall. But there is a difference: As a beginner, you don’t have to do any tiresome dry runs or sit out theory lessons, but climb straight up.
Of course you don’t try the tricky pro-routes first, but the easy beginner-boulders. You will see: You’ll get there. And with every route you master, your motivation and ambition will increase. If you stay on and go bouldering regularly, you will quickly achieve small successes and soon venture on the more difficult routes.
You see: There are many reasons why you should rush to the nearest bouldering hall tonight. Bouldering is simply a lot of fun from the first moment on. Even if the sore muscles will be enormous after the first climbing session: Many come back and want to get better. You too? Then go for it!