As someone who writes about fitness for a living, I spend a Very time for work. That said, I’ve always been hesitant to try bouldering for beginners. Maybe it was the image of people outside in their gorpcore gear, critiquing my form and “beta” (a technical term for the best way to climb a wall), but something clicked. It has stopped me from spending my Saturday mornings drinking flat whites on the local climbs. place.
But if there is one man who Dog Influence me to step out of my comfort zone, that’s Harry Styles. daylight The singer was photographed with a chalk bag in hand at a climbing center in London in 2019, and is rumored to still be a big fan of the sport. And he’s not alone – the hashtag #bouldering has racked up an impressive 21 million views on TikTok, with everyone from Florence Pugh to Jared Leto expressing their love for the workout.
Curious about the possibility of seeing Harry Styles in the wild, it’s time to get my hands on some chalk and try it out. So, in the name of journalism, I went eustonwallTo learn more about Mr Styles’ favorite choice of workout, a climbing facility in central London. Here’s what emerged. Are you interested in trying other popular workouts? Click through to read the ones health editors actually recommend.
I tried bouldering for beginners – how I succeeded
First of all, what is bouldering?
Unlike rock climbing, which involves ropes and harnesses, bouldering is done close to the ground with crash matting to protect against any slips or falls. Fun Fact: Although it started as a way to train for outdoor rope climbing, it has now evolved into a full-fledged sport in its own right.
This style of climbing is based entirely on nailing techniques, performing difficult moves on small sections of artificial wall usually no more than about fifteen feet above the ground.
While classic rock climbing is a test of endurance, bouldering is all about strength, technique and problem-solving skills. The routes feature color-coordinated “holds” that range from easy to surprisingly difficult, meaning there’s always something you can climb, no matter your fitness level. And since it comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures, climbers need to use a variety of techniques to successfully twist and turn their way to the end of the route.
According to British Climbing Walls AssociationThere are now one million regular climbers in Britain. Interestingly, bouldering is also more inclusive than I initially thought, with women now getting involved 35% gender split Among regular, independent climbers in the UK.
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What does a beginner bouldering session involve?
I’m taking 1:1 bouldering classes with instructor Shiggy Pactor of Eustonwall, who has been climbing for seven years. After a quick safety briefing and some mobility exercises, I put on my climbing shoes and nervously begin climbing the green “V0” route – the easiest level. It’s equipped with easy grip, a fairly straight path to the top, and large “jug” holds for simple movements that don’t require a lot of lunging. Easy, right? I climb to the top as fast and unhurriedly as possible, touching the grip at the summit with both hands (the official “I did it” signal).
As I reach the bottom, my arms are already burning with fatigue. “Bouldering is all about being smart and involving the legs, where you have the most strength. If you’re relying on arm strength alone, you’ll tank out quickly,” Pactor advises, demonstrating how to squat into a hold to transfer the weight to my lower body.
We move up to the tougher routes, tackling slopers (smooth, rounded holds that require clever use of friction) and underclings – demanding pulls uphill with an underhand grip. Each hold type requires different grip, strength, and strategies, so I find myself moving each arm and leg tentatively like a game of Twister to see where I should strike next.
From below, Pakter shouts guidance on footwork, handholds and body position, helping me cross the wall without hitting my face on the crash mat. Even with decent levels of fitness, it’s more challenging than anticipated, pushing my strength and flexibility to the max and activating muscles in my hands and forearms I didn’t even know existed. She said, I can Completely See why Harry loves it – it’s equal parts challenging and fun.
What are the fitness benefits of bouldering?
If you’ve ever watched a climber like Olympian Shauna Coxey work out, you’ll know that climbing is a serious workout. “It’s cardio, mobility, and strength training all rolled into one,” explains Pector. “You’re working on your flexibility, moving legs and arms to grab the next hold, which is serious. Tests your core. The angle of the wall dictates which muscles get the most action, but it’s always a whole-body workout – the arms, legs, glutes, core, hands and fingers all work hard.’
And it’s not just material benefits. Studies show that bouldering does wonders for problem-solving, communication, and mental health. I can totally see the appeal – I leave the session feeling happier and more energetic. While I personally find your typical basement HIIT workout to be punishing and monotonous, bouldering doesn’t feel like that at all. It’s all about pure entertainment and thrill.
“Even though bouldering can be done alone, it’s a real community sport,” says Pachter. “We have social events for women, meetups for non-binary, trans and LGBTQ+ climbers, and kilter board sessions specifically for women. This is a place where women can conquer overhang boards in a highly welcoming environment You can practice doing – it can be intimidating otherwise. We also run sessions ClimbMuzespecially for Muslim climbers, and climb xr, catering to BIPOC climbers. We’re all about making climbing as inclusive as possible.”
According to recent Sport Active statistics, there has also been an increase in women taking up bouldering recently. “Sports are slowly becoming more gender-neutral, although there is still a lot of work to be done,” agrees Pachter. “Shauna Coxey was a game-changer at the 2020 Olympics, showing that women can be bad at climbing.”
Where can I try bouldering?
With climbing walls popping up all over the UK, it’s never been easier to find an indoor gym with walls you can climb. Check out sites like uk climbing Or British Mountaineering Council To find nearby places, and look for walls with starting routes. Instagram can also be a great place to find women’s climbing communities, such as Pinnacle Club (@pinnacleclubuk,
Top bouldering tips for beginners?
1. Proceed with a can-do attitude
“My advice for first-timers? Go in with a ‘can do’ attitude, start somewhere that feels comfortable and just try it,” advises Pachter.
2. Book an induction session
This may seem obvious, but booking a session where you learn the ropes before diving into the deep end will likely provide a more enjoyable experience.
“I recommend holding an induction session to understand bouldering, learn the basics, and start building skills and confidence on the wall,” the instructor advises.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help from employees, she adds. “Even the most experienced climbers get stuck on the wall – we’re here to help you figure it out as you move forward.”
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Do you get fit by bouldering?
Yes you do. As bouldering instructor Shiggy Pactor explains, it’s a full-body workout that promises to work all of your major muscle groups, from your legs and glutes to your shoulders and arms.
A 2018 study further found that bouldering improves muscular endurance as well as flexibility. Not only that, but the challenges you face throughout the workout can also boost your brain health, improving your problem-solving and communication skills.
In terms of mental health, because it’s an incredibly social sport, it offers the opportunity to work up a sweat in a relaxed and fun environment, meaning you’re more likely to go regularly and, in turn, work out more. .