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Bouldering: 10 good reasons to start with the trend sport now

LISTICLE | 03/16/2022

Bouldering is a trend sport that attracts more and more athletes. Therefore, in this article we give six tips for beginners that help to start bouldering. ISPO.com has asked around in the scene and researched what makes the hype. Want a little foretaste? Bouldering is considered the ultimate full-body workout that combines communication with aesthetics and mental work. In addition, the city sport is super individual and solo experience without losing community.

Before we provide solid reasons that speak for the sport, we explain, as a small warm-up, so to speak, what is hidden behind the term and what makes the difference to sport climbing. After that, it goes with maximum power, well warmed up and with appropriate prior knowledge in six moves to the wall ...

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What is bouldering?

Boulder comes from the English and means boulder - so the sport is already as good as explained. Because: Bouldering means climbing on boulders or artificial walls at jumping height - which is why you don't need a rope, a harness or a partner. By the way, bouldering has been going on for a long time, at the latest in the 1950s the sport made a huge push forward. Because at that time, the US-American John Gill revolutionized climbing. He is considered the father of today's bouldering.

 

In the 1970s, bouldering has become its own discipline of sport climbing. Since the 1990s, the number of boulderers has been growing and the sport has experienced a real hype since the 2000s, especially in cities and metropolises. In the summer of 2021, the Boulder starslike Adam Ondra, Alex Megos and Co for the first time at the Tokyo Olympics as part of the Olympic Combine, the Olympic climbing triathlon consisting of lead climbing, speed climbing and bouldering.

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A symbiosis of power, aesthetics and dynamics

While in the gym weights stemmt, is worked in the bouldering hall exclusively with the self-weight of the boulderer, in combination with tactical considerations. It is a matter of using finger, arm and leg strength to hold holds, kick kicks and follow a line, a route, with logical tricks and tricks. Depending on the difficulty, the visual pre-planning as well as technique and trick or ingenuity is strongly required.

For bouldering, it needs a mobile, supple body, coupled with a good maximum strength, which can be retrieved in a few powerful grip sequences. Well? That's right. We've arrived at the trend and the addictive potential: bouldering beautiful, intelligently bolted routes is challenging, and when the first small or big successes come, it makes you hungry. Hungry for more, for more difficult, for more difficult. And already, as if by magic, a few yoga units are inserted into the workout to make the body more supple and the fingers are suddenly trained in the office with the help of a tennis ball.

All with the aim of this unique symbiosis of aesthetics, power and dynamics even more intense to experience. Who has ever seen boulderers in a competition, as they jump on there almost effortlessly the handles and bend their bodies like artists of the Chinese State Circus, who knows what we're talking about here.

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Junger Mann an einer Kletterwand
Bouldern ist nicht nur dynamisch, sondern sieht bei erfahrenen Sportlern auch ästhetisch aus
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Bouldering as a communication oasis for boulderers

What the dog owner his dog, is the boulderer his project on the wall. So less, "Have you seen my dog?" and more, "How do you do the move? How do you climb? How do you hold that? Are you jumping on the next hold, or what?" Bouldering is interactive, making it the location to meet new, like-minded people. The holds replace the dog as a communication anchor or source, so to speak. Especially in big cities with their anonymity, bouldering is ideal for a nice conversation and for an uncomplicated get-to-know.

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Eine Gruppe Menschen vor einer Kletterwand
Beim Bouldern kommt man mit Gleichgesinnten ins Gespräch
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Boulderers do not need to register

Bouldering indoors does not require a partner, nor do you have to sign up in advance for a time, or reserve a court. Thick, soft mats replace the spotters, meaning partners, who are irreplaceable on the boulder outside. The walls are all at jump height, from one meter to 4.5 meters. Those who do not dare, look for another route, close to the ground. A session can be perfectly integrated into everyday life. From the office to the gym, or from the gym to the office, without having to coordinate time with a sports partner. Individuality in its purest form.

Even boulderers who are just getting started can easily go to the bouldering hall, pay admission, organize rental shoes and get started. Because grabbing is stored in the head as a natural reflex. The colors show the way, the rest arises by itself and of course with the help of communication with like-minded people.

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Boulderers need almost no equipment

The sport, practiced indoors, requires equipment only climbing shoes and a chalk bag with magnesia. With the climbing shoes you should pay attention to a good fit when buying. The shoes should fit compactly, both at the heel and in the toe area, in order to have a good feeling when stepping on.  When trying them on, you should take plenty of time and try them out on the climbing wall, which good sports retailers provide for testing. Climbing shoes you wear without socks, so as to allow a perfect power transmission.

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Tip: If the rental shoes from the hall fit well, immediately ask for this model in the store specifically, this facilitates the search immensely. The chalk bag with Magnesia is indispensable when bouldering. Sweaty hands make gripping difficult, the white magnesia powder absorbs the sweat - for perfect grip on the holds. When it comes to clothing, comfortable sports pants or tights and a shirt that fits well, doesn't slip and follows all your movements are enough. A warming fleece jacket or hoodie helps to keep the muscles warm between the bouldering units.

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Zwei Frauen im lässigen Outfit vor der Boulderwand
Beim Bouldern ist kaum Equipment nötig. Kletterschuhe und Magnesia sind alles, was man braucht.
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The cool full body sport

Good bouldering facilities employ route builders who understand their craft and ensure that even beginners have fun without being overwhelmed. The boulder are sorted by color and correspond to different difficulties that go from easy to very difficult. Everyone can try everything. However, a slow increase in the difficulties is recommended, because with each time bouldering the muscles are trained and strengthened - important if you want to get into more difficult routes. The technique as well as the necessary dynamics and the use of the body can be learned playfully. But also while watching and active questions.

The training effect when bouldering is outstanding. Already after a few weeks you can feel a different body feeling: the body becomes firmer and muscles are built. If you feel like doing more, you will automatically go to the Campusboard and include sit-ups for a strong torso in your training. Also automatically, by the way, you can focus better, a consequence of memorizing grip sequences and recalling climbing techniques to the point. Bouldering goes only when body and mind harmonize and act in the here and now with each other.

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Kletterer trainiert am Campusboard
Nichts für schwache Finger: Das Training am Campusboard trainiert die Fingerkraft sowie die Bauch- und Schultermuskulatur. Fortgeschrittene springen gerne die nächste oder übernächste Holzleiste dynamisch an.  
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Bouldering is city sport

Mostly in big cities and metropolitan areas there are great climbing and bouldering facilities. Either these are operated by private individuals or they are so-called DAV climbing facilities. At both, everyone has access, though Alpine Club members get discounted admission at DAV climbing/bouldering facilities. Prices are usually between 10 to 15 euros. Who often visits such a facility, benefits from monthly or annual stamps, which all halls offer.

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A price check on the respective homepage in advance is worthwhile in any case, not least because some operators offer, for example, a happy hour rate. Otherwise, the bouldering facilities are built according to the latest guidelines and equipped with ergonomic grips and steps. Recently, more and more facilities also offer a training area in which the athletes can prepare specifically with the help of climbing-specific training equipment.

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Athletin beim Klettern vor einer Menschenmenge
Bouldering is all about maximum strength paired with agility. Route reading also requires a lot of brains and imagination.
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Almost like climbing - but with calculable risk

Although bouldering does not involve the use of ropes or harnesses and can be climbed in high difficulties, the risk of injury to the athlete is kept within limits. The most important reason is the maximum climbing height of approximately four meters. In the bouldering hall, a thick floor mat also protects against injuries if a fall should occur.

This also makes bouldering the perfect introduction to the sport for kids. Here they can let off steam. Bouldering is considered family-friendly, precisely because even the youngest can get on the wall. The operators of the halls are geared towards children and often offer special event packages.

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Reward through many small successes

Each boulder consists of a defined number of holds and kicks, with the start and finish marked. Most so-called boulder problems consist of four to eight holds, more than twelve are not even allowed in competitions. The distance on the wall can therefore be overcome relatively quickly, if successful.

So there are always successes and thus the necessary motivational boost to tackle the next problem with concentration.

Mann bouldert in der Halle an einer Boulderwand
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Weather? Season? Doesn't matter for bouldering!

Bouldering is, at least in the big cities, now possible all year round and regardless of the weather. This development is mainly due to the enormous popularity of this climbing sport. It is worthwhile for climbing hall operators to offer separate bouldering areas where new routes are constantly being marked out. For example, boulderers can pursue their sport indoors in winter or when it rains, but can also climb outdoors when conditions are better.

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Bouldering: The perfect introduction

Many outdoor sports are linked to a minimum age or cannot be performed without significant pre-training. Bouldering is different - regardless of age, gender and previous training, anyone can try their hand on the wall. Bouldering is available in all levels of difficulty, and color coding helps to classify them in advance. In addition, short introductory courses are offered in all halls, in which the correct technique is explained. Since newcomers can watch the experienced climbers bouldering, some finesses can be seen.

Gruppe beim Bouldern an einem Felsen im Wald

Climbing vs. bouldering: What's the difference?

Bouldern can anyone! The rules are simple, you learn the technique by trying. In addition, no specific safety instruction or know-how is necessary to practice this sport. The only equipment needed is a pair of climbing shoes, which are available for rent at any gym, and some magnesia for the hands. A special and possibly expensive outfit is also not necessary, it is enough the good old gym shorts including T-shirt.

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Anders the classic sport climbing: Here, athletes need a climbing or rope partner who A) has experience and sufficient belay and rope technique and B) has time. In addition, the equipment required for sport climbing is more extensive: in addition to climbing shoes, you also need a climbing harness, belay device and rope. And very importantly, you have to master the handling of the belay device and rope, that is, get a solid briefing from an experienced boulderer or better yet, participate in a training course, otherwise the risk of accident increases exponentially.

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Also get the urge? - Discover the best bouldering and climbing gyms for boulderers in major German cities:

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