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Tuesday Night Bouldering

Pro Tips: Pointers from the World’s Top Comp Climbers

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Jakob Schubert of Austria during the bouldering portion of the men Combined competition at the 2018 IFSC Climbing World Championships, Innsbruck, Austria. Schubert went on to win the Combined. Photo: Johann Groder EXPA / Austrai Climbing Presse.

Focus on your technique during easier workouts and warm-ups. When you are climbing on something that isn’t too hard, you can focus better on things like perfect foot placements and muscle relaxation. Once you can do them perfectly on easier stuff, you will automatically do them better at your limit as well.

—Jakob Schubert, Austria, 2018 Combined World Champion

Don’t be afraid to try ridiculous things on modern boulder problems. Be innovative. Dare to try something that seems unreasonable, even if you think you’ll look silly. It’s the only way to find out what really does or doesn’t work.

—Staša Gejo, Serbia, 2017 Bouldering European Champion

Don’t compare yourself to others—just do your best, and make sure ot have fun!

—Jernej Kruder, Slovenia, 2018 Bouldering World cup Champion

If you want to get to the next level, but feel like you’re stuck on your current one, go to a gym and try to get out of your comfort zone by attempting routes that are about two grades harder than your maximum climbing level. Break the route into two halves: Concentrate on technique in the first half; climb it smart. After mastering it, get up to the second half using the easiest holds on the wall, and project the second half. Once you’ve figured it out, try putting the whole route together.

—Anak Verhoeven, Belgium, 3-time Lead World Cup Gold Medalist

Stretch! This is something that can really help most climbers. The most important places to look to improve flexibility are your hips, shoulders and back. Everyday for at least half an hour. But you need to stretch correctly: Learn from a physical therapist, a coach, a yoga-teacher, a friend—it doesn’t matter, as long as you stretch correctly. Otherwise you risk injury.

—Alexey Rubtsov, Russia, 3-time Bouldering World Cup Gold Medalist

Climb as quiet as possible. This one is simple enough. Don’t let your feet or hands make excess noise while climbing. It’s been said often, but I can’t stress enough how helpful this is for refining technique and accuracy while on the wall.

—Justin Salas, USA, 2018 Visual Impairment Paraclimbing World Champion

Train with training partners, climb with friends. I love climbing with my best friends, but every time I try to do a “train” with one of them it devolves into hanging out and just fun climbing, usually followed by a few beers. In order to keep my focus, I line up partners with similar training goals as mine, and make it clear that we’re here to train, not socialize.

—Maureen Beck, USA, 2014 and 2016 AU-2 (Forearm Amputee) Paraclimbing World Champion

This article appeared in Gym Climber No. 2.

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