How to improve your indoor climbing technique

Nov 8 2022

a group learning to climb on an indoor wall

Whether you’re new to climbing or a seasoned pro, there are always ways to improve your climbing technique to become a more efficient climber. The Wall at Calshot is a great place to practice climbing technique and focus on holds and moves that you might find tricky.

Climbing can rely on muscle memory and sometimes you can develop bad habits if you repeat the same moves using the wrong approach. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses when climbing can help improve your technique to suit your climbing goals. We’ve put together some handy tips on ways to improve your climbing technique. We recommend focusing on one area at a time and then try and incorporate these into your usual training regime.

1. Focus on your footwork

Climbing is all about footwork for one simple reason: your legs are stronger than your arms. Learn where to place your feet to hold your weight and reduce the strain on your upper body. Why not try some different movements such as the heel hook? This involves hooking your heel over a hold and using your hamstring and calf muscles to pull yourself into a position. Slow down so you can think about the positioning of your footwork, maximise your efficiency of movement and energy spent.

group watching a climber on a wall

2. Knowing the right body position

Knowing how and where to position your body on the climbing wall has a huge impact on how efficiently you’re climbing. By positioning your body in line with the steepness of the wall, you can engage your muscles to pull yourself into stronger and more secure positions. Moving your body and hips closer to the wall can also help relax your hands and not over-grip.

Before you start your climb, assess the steepness of the wall. For slab and vertical walls, you may want to position your hips parallel to the wall like you’re climbing a ladder. For steeper walls, twist into the wall with your hips and straighten your arms. When you’re climbing the wall, take a second to think about your body positioning and if you can adjust the angle of your body to have a better advantage.

two women climbing

3. Generate momentum

It’s tricky to generate and maintain momentum while climbing if you get stuck in a tricky position or the crux of the climb. Speed and timing are important to propel your body up the wall; the faster you pull up, the more momentum you can generate. Although this is easier said than done, coordination is key – synchronise each upward reach from your hands and feet with the best body position. This can help to thrust upwards using your legs and hips, rather than just pulling up with your arms, generating more power and momentum.

a man scaling a climbing wall

4. Concentrate on your breathing

Focusing on your breathing is important to supply oxygen to your muscles for continuous energy when climbing. Maintaining a breathing pattern also has other benefits, as it can keep you steady and motivated on your climb.

A constant, even breath can also help to keep you calm and prepare your mind for the climb ahead. Keeping calm is important for any climber, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, as it can help you to focus on your technique. You can also use breathing as a way to coordinate your movements. Inhale as you reach up to grasp a hold and exhale as you move up the wall. Breath can even be used as a cue for movement to maintain a flow.

5. Practice makes perfect

You’ve all heard of the saying ‘practice makes perfect’. This is important for any sport, including climbing. Climbing relies on muscle memory and skilled technique which can only improve with practice. Being consistent with your training can help to progress your climbing technique quicker.

Why not focus on a different climbing technique each session? Breaking down your sessions in this way can help to focus on the areas you want to improve on. Although consistent practice can take time, it will help you to be a more efficient climber in the future.

If this has inspired you to give climbing a go, why not try out one of our climbing sessions at Calshot for beginners? Learn how to boulder and use the auto belays with our bouldering induction and auto belay induction or test out one of our climbing with ropes experiences – there’s something for everyone! If you’re an experienced climber, The Wall is open daily for experienced climbers to practice and climb recreationally. If you’re a little rusty, why not join our climbing refresher course first.