Getting to grips with the latest fitness trend.
Here is a beginners guide to bouldering.
There is a new, colourful craze popular amongst fitness fanatics. A full body, endurance workout guaranteed to get you reaching your fitness limits. In the heart of Hackney Wick, located by the famous olympic park, is East London’s hottest workout destination. Hackney Wick Boulder Projects: playing funky tunes and serving quality coffee. The boulder project is about to boom in popularity. Here’s our top 10 tips for beginners to ensure you make the most of your first boulding experience.
- If the shoe fits. Bouldering shoes are renowned for being uncomfortable. The toe on a Rock climbing shoe is slightly narrower than your average gym trainers. This slender fit helps you get a better foothold on those trickier positions. We recommend going 1 or 2 sizes bigger than your usual gym trainer size.
- Start small. It can be tempting to head straight to the dizzy heights at the beginning or your climb. But just like any workout, warming up the muscles with gentle cardio will help avoid unwanted accidents.
- Hydration always helps. Remember the first time you hit it hard at a yoga or pilates class but forgot your water bottle? So do we! Dehydration on the climbing wall is incredibly dangerous; keep guzzling down that water for a safer, more energized climb.
- It doesn’t hurt to stretch. Unless you are already lucky enough to have lovely long limbs, reaching those higher holds can be quite a challenge. A handy tip I gained from a more experienced climber was to stretch out before and after the climbing. I recommend perfecting the side plank. It is great way to engage the core, the hips and stretch all the way through to your fingertips. Try to do this 3 times, 30 seconds each side, before and after your climb.
- Twist it! Once you start advancing on to the more difficult climbs you’ll notice you’ll require your body to be much more flexible- not a problem if you are a keen Yogi! But we recommend dusting up on your core strength with some ab exercises. Bringing your body closer to wall will stop your arms fatiguing and help you balance as you twist your body into more awkward positions. We recommend the russian twist, try 30 twists each side and repeat this 3 or 4 times a week . If you want to make this even harder than grab a 5kg kettle and keep those feet off the floor
- Don’t be intimidated. Just like every yoga class you attend where there is always one yogi seemingly more flexible, more toned and more confident than you. The same applies to bouldering: I can guarantee that there will be an epic spider man of a climber- probably upside down, ripped abs and not even breaking sweat! But do not be distracted. The only person you need to be in competition with here is yourself. Much like the Yoga community the Rock Climbers are their to help you on your own climbing journey. So instead of being frustrated that you’re still hanging onto the “easiest” holds ask for support and guidance off fellow climbers. Having a good relationship with experience climbers will help build your skills and your confidence!
- Stepping up. A common mistake amongst newbies approaching the wall is to just use their arms to pull themselves up. While your upper body strength plays a vital role in your success on the wall, you will get jelly arms for the next following day if you don’t engage all your body. I advise focusing on utilising your lower body strength. By driving your energy through your ankles and engaging stronger muscles, such as your quads, you’ll save more energy in your arms and make the most of your time on the wall.
- Be creative. The colourful holds available indicate a variety of designed climbs, of varying degrees of difficulty. However these are not set in stone (pun not intended!). Invent your own challenges for you and your friends to keep things fresh and fun! Hackney Wick Boulder Project also have their own ongoing competition. Ask one of the members of staff for more details!
- Why not try Ginger orange’s boulder challenge? Take a climb that you personally find easy. (It’s crucial you pick a climb where you can comfortably make it to the top and back, as this is an endurance test!) To begin with climb to the top come back down at your own pace. When you reach the bottom, ensure there is enough space between you and other climbers, do 10 squats and 10 push ups. Repeat this 10 times for the ultimate endurance challenge. Ensure you rest and drink water when necessary. Listen to your body and as with any challenging workout be aware of the health and safety risks.
- Finally…enjoy it! Bouldering is a social, fun and rewarding sport. Take your friends, family, stay safe- Happy Climbing!
Visit Hackney Wick Boulder Project today for only £10!