Bouldering

Home Forum Chat Forum Bouldering

Viewing 45 posts - 1 through 45 (of 73 total)
  • Bouldering
  • Gave bouldering a go for the first time yesterday at our local indoor centre. Did the induction course (only an hour) but really enjoyed it.

    One thing that was pointed out to me by the instructor was that I may be at a slight disadvantage as he noticed I had very long fingers (much like the rest of my gangly limbs) and that I would really need to work hard to improve the ligament strength or I would struggle. Although it was friendly constructive advice it was a little disheartening to be told from the off that you’re at a disadvantage.

    bencooper
    Member

    Never heard that one before – big hands can be very helpful for big rounded holds. Definitely take your time building up hand strength, though – popped finger tendons are not fun.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    My wife is 5ft tall.

    She went climbing and they were fairly clear that no amount of exercising was going to increase her reach 😉

    My wife is 5ft tall.

    She went climbing and they were fairly clear that no amount of exercising was going to increase her reach

    Not quite the same thing, nor the point he was making.

    Premier Icon stever
    Subscriber

    I wouldn’t worry about it, deeply talented climbers come in all different sizes.

    Premier Icon chrisdw
    Subscriber

    You’ll be fine. You will know when your pushing your limits. Just keep at it and the strength will build over time.
    You will naturally start off with the bigger jug holds, and as strength increases you will find you can progressively use smaller ones.

    I have pretty long fingers too and never had a problem. My arms go before my fingers.

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    Did he not point out that your gangly limbs and fingers would give you a massive advantage in many problems. Watching the lanky gits reach past stuff that I have to do an extra move for is disheartening.

    Generally, in my experience, while being long of finger/arm will be a disadvantage in some problems where you’re crimping hard on a tiny hold, or bunched up with handholds close to footholds, on the whole it will be a plus rather than a minus.

    As others have said, draping a big hand over a sloping hold can increase grip and traction, and long fingers/big hands can make pinch holds a heck of a lot easier.

    There is no way any new climber should be crimping on tiny holds too often, as it can do damage.

    peterfile
    Member

    bencooper +1

    don’t google “build finger strength” or anything similar, since much of it will point to strength boards and bonkers exercises which will lead to a world of pain and slow recovery unless you build up to them very very slowly.

    Low grade bouldering itself will be plenty exercise for now to build up strength in your fingers. You’ll have blisters and torn pads to worry about before your fingers get anywhere close to tired 🙂

    Cheers folks, good to hear. I could sort of see where he was coming from. Others who had more ‘normal’ sized hands/ fingers could get more or less half their finger inside the hold where as I was just about getting the tips of my fingers in. But clearly it can be used to my advantage too.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    Not quite the same thing, nor the point he was making.

    I recognised that hence the smiley. The point has been made elsewhere above – you have to work with what you’ve got, what is a disadvantage in some situations is an advantage elsewhere. You just have to play to your strengths and minimise the impact of your ‘weaknesses’ really. At least you are in a position to increase strength over time.

    I recognised that hence the smiley. The point has been made elsewhere above – you have to work with what you’ve got, what is a disadvantage in some situations is an advantage elsewhere. You just have to play to your strengths and minimise the impact of your ‘weaknesses’ really. At least you are in a position to increase strength over time.

    Genetics can be beaten though. I’m currently filing down my fingers.

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    At least you are in a position to increase strength over time.

    Yep. I’ll always be a shortarse, regardless of my finger strength.

    My tip for improving quickly is to work on your flexibility, not finger strength. The ability to put your foot next to your ear (or more realistically, at waist height), will always be more useful, particularly in the lower/middle grades.

    timb34
    Member

    Sorry to disagree Martin, but I think a complete beginner should be working on technique rather than flexibility – and by technique I mean footwork and body positionning.

    Being able to put your foot on something next to your armpit is no good unless you can actually apply some force through it, and teaching people to do massive high steps right from the start will mean that they miss out on learning how to use tiny edges and smears for the feet.

    Obviously this isn’t true at the top end, as the video of Mina on careless torque shows!

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Maybe they thought it was encouragement, “don’t worry mate, it’s not your fault” sort of thing. Seems somewhat ill-conceived though.

    what is a disadvantage in some situations is an advantage elsewhere.

    This.

    I know long and short, thick and thin climbers, and male and female ones come to that. And they all approach problems differently, but I’d struggle to say one is better. I’ve a mate who’s five foot not much but a stocky little sod, all upper body strength. He’ll power through a crux move whereas someone six foot plus might get away with skipping that tricky hold completely and reaching straight for the next one. And my OH is a bigger girl but ever so bendy, I’ve seen her hook a foothold at head height and manage to lever off if whilst all the lads went, “wait, what? How?” Different people have different strengths and what works for one isn’t necessarily optimal for another.

    One thing I’ve learned over the years introducing friends to climbing is that you can never tell what they’re going to be like until you get them to the wall. I’ve taken people I thought would struggle and they’ve turned out to be naturals; I’ve taken others that I thought would be really good and they’ve not got off the ground. Quite interesting, I think.

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    Sorry to disagree Martin, but I think a complete beginner should be working on technique rather than flexibility – and by technique I mean footwork and body positionning.

    Wasn’t quite what I meant – I would hope that he’d be working on technique through climbing. But rather than train specifically for finger strength gains, working separately on flexibility can compensate for lack of finger strength on vertical or near vertical climbing. It also aids good technique and balance to be able to put more weight through high feet without leaning out to place them.

    I’m not really talking about trying to rock onto a very high foot – just make use of all the footholds that are available, rather than having to smear or use tiny edges when it’s not necessary. Certainly if he’s indoors a lot, they don’t tend to provide much for your feet.

    Premier Icon stavromuller
    Subscriber

    I seem to remember my brother telling me when I was a kid (he was a pretty good climber)”you don’t go up stairs on your hands, so make sure you maintain most of your weight on your feet”. Wise words.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Yep.

    Common mistake is to try and power through with your arms. Unless you’re my mate Steve, that’s not sustainable; legs are for power, arms are for balance. Mostly.

    bencooper
    Member

    Until it gets overhanging 😉

    olddog
    Member

    I wouldn’t worry too much, as others have said, it’s a real full body thing climbing. For bouldering, technique is hugely important, and footwork being the important part of that,

    Btw I have double jointed fingers and if I crimp really hard for too long the middle joint sort of goes backwards and locks out, doesn’t hurt but looks a bit weird. Hasn’t stopped me working my way through the grades though, you will be fine.

    ianv
    Member

    Longer fingers will definitely make the use of small holds harder but I don’t think this will become an issue in the short to med term. If you intend to take climbing seriously though, working on finger strength will be very beneficial. Second joint hangs should not be too dangerous and will be a good place to start.

    I have got back into climbing quite recently and despite having good technique, having pretty good upper body strength and being fairly light, the limiting factor is the ability to hang small holds on overhanging boards. At the wall over the weekend I was trying a problem and despite every bit of foot trickery known to man, I was being shut down by my inability to hang a small crimp.

    Don’t be discouraged, just take the advice as pointing out you area for some extra effort in terms of training. Everyone has an area of weakness they need to concentrate on.

    donks
    Member

    Be mindful of the strain on tendons especially when bouldering
    I popped the anular pully tendons on a finger a year ago and it took 9 months to get back to the wall and I’m careful to climb on crimpy overhanging routes now. I would say that weight has a huge baring on the tendons also. Proper warming up and knowing when to ease off are good practices

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    fervouredimage – the main thing is you enjoyed it!!

    Do it a few times and I can assure you it can become addictive very quickly.

    Ignore the instructor and carry on regardless. Where I climb there are loads of different people of all shapes and sizes and they all do just fine. Some routes favour little guys and others favour lanky buggers, horses for courses.

    Flexibility and movement would be the first thing to work on but for now forget that and just have fun.

    I think he speaks B0110cks, you dont use fingers extended [at 90 degrees to hand] so the length is not an important factor. The extra reach will be beneficial.
    My extra limb length and hand size was always an asset,
    Just enjoy your climbing and do go outdoors, climbing walls are not bouldering.

    Premier Icon Cheezpleez
    Subscriber

    To climb, you must first believe.

    Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    ianv
    Member

    I think he speaks B0110cks,

    I dont, I just think he introduced it as an issue a bit early.

    geetee1972
    Member

    In reference to the OP’s original question about the advice he was given, good lord there is a lot shite talked in the climbing fraternity these days. When did climbers and climbing get so up their own arse? Try striking up a conversation with any of the fashionistas hanging around the stanage plantation these days and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled across a meeting of the next master race. They’re almost as bad a triathletes.

    Bouldering used to be about fun and practise after a day on the crags. I get that its become a pursuit in its own right but I’m sorry to see it seems to be replacing the sense of adventure that was the original pioneering spirit in climbing.

    elliptic
    Member

    Ooooh, get you missus 😕 well that’s the Peak (and the plantation especially) for you…

    On the other hand I’ve been climbing thirty years (nearly) and the atmosphere at my local wall (UCR in Bristol) is great these days…loads of shared enthusiasm and supportiveness, much of that down to the influx of keen beginners of all ages shapes and talents.

    ..most of whom look a bit gobsmacked when they ask how long I’ve been doing it..!

    Pah 30 years, i started bouldering at Almscliffe some 40 years ago. We had one wall at Leeds Uni, long fingers and all I managed most stuff, still managing to do the odd new route on Grit and Limestone, although the lines I’ve eyed are looking ever increasingly impossible with the years 🙁

    For an instuctor to say you are never going to be good before you start, well just proove him wrong.

    Thanks all for the feedback, I don’t feel quite so concerned now about my spindly fingers. I guess it’s just learning to use what I have to my advantage. Clearly my lankyness will be advantageous.

    TBH the climbing wall is not somewhere I intend to spend too much of my time. I decided to give bouldering a go to go and explore the outdoors more than I do already on two wheels. Just picked up a great book ‘ Boulder Britain’. Really easy to use guide to finding some spots, particularly for a novice.

    elliptic
    Member

    @fervoured yep Boulder Britain is a really useful guidebook, my copy lives in the glove box in the car.

    @Dales_Rider you were on the Leeds scene in the seventies, Manson / JS era? I never got to experience the corridor, the first wall I trained on was the Bolton Tech gym – open two nights a week, holds chiselled out of the brickwork, those were the days, etc etc 8)

    Premier Icon cheese@4p
    Subscriber

    ianv – I am guessing that you are the ianv who I saw competing in the Leeds World Cup comp back in the day when Simon Nadin won?
    If so I want you to know that you were an inspiration.
    Cheers

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    another +1 for boulder britain, although I bought it over the winter and then it snowed, waiting for the rock to dry.

    ianv
    Member

    ianv – I am guessing that you are the ianv who I saw competing in the Leeds World Cup comp back in the day when Simon Nadin won?

    yep
    Jerry won, Simon was second.
    Cheers for that

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    If so I want you to know that you were an inspiration.

    An inspiration and a legend.

    Anyway, that reminds me, I really must get over to Boulder UK given I live about 10 minutes away.

    peterfile
    Member

    When did climbers and climbing get so up their own arse?

    I’m sorry to see it seems to be replacing the sense of adventure that was the original pioneering spirit in climbing.

    This made me chuckle 🙂

    Fimage, combining MTB and bouldering is a good choice. With friends I’ve stopped many a time middle of the moors to climb on isolated boulders.
    Elliptic yes there when Manson and syrett were around, bouldered with Manson and living in the same village as Fawcett got to see a bit of him, started avoiding being coaxed into bouldering by him after he had me soloing routes on the R wing, he had one thing that stops a lot of climbers becomeing good and thats a cool head.

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    Bouldering used to be about fun and practise after a day on the crags. I get that its become a pursuit in its own right but I’m sorry to see it seems to be replacing the sense of adventure that was the original pioneering spirit in climbing.

    Don’t get yer Ron Hills in a twist, old timer. We still accept you and all your clanking hexes.

    ianv
    Member

    Bouldering used to be about fun and practise after a day on the crags. I get that its become a pursuit in its own right but I’m sorry to see it seems to be replacing the sense of adventure that was the original pioneering spirit in climbing

    So what are your views on trail centres and bike parks? :?:.

    As an aside, assume its worth investing in a crash mat? My wife is joining me on this venture so will always be the two of us. I realise mats aren’t infallible but they must provide a certain level of confidence?

    Premier Icon stever
    Subscriber

    Crash mats – nothing that a small square of carpet and a beer mat won’t protect you from 🙂
    Seriously though, when I started climbing again I bought an Alpkit mat with my redundancy. Got me through a dark period nicely. I still struggle to instinctively trust the thing from higher up – I still boulder out stuff with the expectation of doing it, so don’t always commit to a high crux. I’ll get there though. I’m getting old too, I hesitate to jump off a high wall in the same way I would when younger. You might need a bigger car though 🙂

    I’m not sure about bouldering mats, do they give you the incentive to stay on the problem ?
    Sure we use to pad boulders with rucksacs but there was more of an incentive to stay on.

    elliptic
    Member

    Yes, get a mat. The Alpkit ones are good value like stever said.

    What they give is the confidence to try harder! Don’t trust it blindly, you can still hurt yourself but they do take the sting out of normal landings and give you something to aim for if you have to bale out from high up.

    Oh and they also make a very comfy portable sofa / mattress for chilling out and watching the scenery go by 🙂

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    To focus my mind and provide encouragement on tougher bouldering problems I always empty a bagful of broken bottles over my landing area.

    Get a crash mat if you’re playing out. Good grief.

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    +1 for crash mats – especially for beginners where you will fall off occasionally. Good rock shoes are the more important thing, initially ignore those that say you should get ones so small they hurt, get ones that are comfortably tight and get them from a rock shoe shop, tell them youre a beginner and they should help.

    Shoes and a mat, copy of boulder britain… your good to go!

Viewing 45 posts - 1 through 45 (of 73 total)

The topic ‘Bouldering’ is closed to new replies.