How To Prevent Injuries When Indoor Bouldering
Understand the fundamentals of preventing injury when beginning an indoor bouldering journey.
If you’ve spent time bouldering indoors, you know that it can be rough on your body. The constant pressure from hand to hand, the sharp edges of the holds and the awkward positions your body is forced into take a toll.You might not come out with scraped palms or a broken finger like when outdoor climbing, but those sessions still leave you sore and strained. Fortunately, there are ways to make your indoor bouldering experience safer and less painful. Knowing how to prevent injuries when indoor bouldering will keep you coming back for more without feeling humiliated by your sore muscles and taped fingers every time you try again. In this article we’ll go over some prevention techniques and precautionary measures to stay safe while climbing hard on overhung walls.
Check Your Technique
When we’re in the middle of a route, it can be difficult to pause and analyze our movements from the ground up. In fact, when trying a tough new problem there's a good chance you’re so focused on the sequence and figuring out the sequence that you might not notice any discomfort or strain until after you’ve finished your session. By taking a step back and observing your positions as you climb, you’ll be able to identify any “bad” habits that are increasing your likelihood of an injury. You can also get feedback from your climbing buddies or a personal trainer to help identify and correct your poor climbing habits.
Use Good Holds
You’re far more likely to sustain an injury when the holds you’re grabbing are slippery or sharp. You can’t always control the condition of the holds, but you can choose to climb on the safer ones and avoid the palms and jagged edges. If you have no choice but to use an unsafe hold, try to avoid pressing your palm against it. Instead, grab it with the tips of your fingers.If you can’t do this, you should probably try a different problem.
Wear The Right Shoes
Climbing shoes are specially designed to help you toe-off, edge and fit comfortably on any type of wall. They’re also designed to protect your feet from injuries. If you wear the wrong type of shoes, you increase your risk of blisters, sprained ankles and knee injuries. If you’re just starting out, go with a pair of all-around shoes with a moderate amount of stiffness.While your shoes won’t protect you from every injury, they will drastically reduce the risk of foot and knee injuries that are common among boulderers. If you’re planning on going to an indoor climbing gym, wear shoes designed for bouldering.
Don’t Grip Too Hard
Holding on too tight will tire you out faster, build up lactic acid faster and put a ton of strain on your muscles. Hold on firmly but not to the point where you’re shaking and losing control of your fingers. Make sure that you have a good, solid grip on each hold but also don’t be afraid to let go if you need to. There’s plenty of time to try your hardest moves and pull off that epic sequence. If you’re too tired to hold on for the entire length of the route, it might be time to call it quits.
Stretch And Breathe
Climbing is an intense activity both physically and mentally. This can leave you wound up and tense. If you’re too tense, your muscles are more likely to spasm. This often happens in your hands, causing you to lose control and grip strength. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and make sure to take deep breaths as you relax.
The key to avoiding injuries when indoor bouldering is to be mindful of your technique, choose the right holds and wear the right shoes. Make sure to stretch and breathe while climbing to keep your muscles relaxed and your mind focused. If you follow these tips and stay mindful of your body you’ll have a much better chance of staying uninjured and coming back for more. You might not come out with scraped palms or a broken finger like when outdoor climbing, but those sessions still leave you sore and strained. Fortunately, there are ways to make your indoor bouldering experience safer and less painful. Knowing how to prevent injuries when indoor bouldering will keep you coming back for more without feeling humiliated by your sore muscles and taped fingers every time you try again.