How to Make the Most of Your First Month Climbing
Let’s guess: your buddy dragged you to a climbing gym a few weeks ago so they could show you their new favorite hobby. It might have been your first time climbing since you were eight years old at a birthday party, but for some reason, you can’t stop thinking about that spark you felt between the skin on your palms and those chalky plastic jugs. So you bought a few more day passes, the addiction growing with every visit. Finally, your friends convinced you to stop wasting money on day passes, bite the bullet, and purchase that membership. Sound familiar? That is a typical narrative for the first-time adult climber. Maybe this hit close to home, and maybe not. Either way, you’re here to learn how to make the most of your first month as a climber.
Time on the Wall
The most significant way to positively impact your climbing within the first month is to climb—a lot. As a beginner climber, your body has no idea how to move on the wall. Proper foot and hip movement is foreign since climbing is unlike any other sport. The more time you spend on the wall, the quicker your body’s nervous system gains some on-the-wall proprioception. Proprioception is your body’s ability to sense its location in its space. For example, when you climb stairs, your body detects the distance from one stair to the next and coordinates the movement of your legs accordingly. If you’ve never consistently climbed up a wall, your nervous system will need time to adapt to the actions required to climb efficiently.
All Types of Climbing
Along with adapting to the movement, it’s essential to assimilate your body to climb on different walls. That means bouldering and roped climbing (getting your auto belay certification is usually pretty easy). It also means trying climbs on the overhanging walls, the vertical walls (we call that face), and the less than 90-degree walls (we call that slab). The more you climb on different terrains, the quicker you pick up on climbing movement patterns.
Consistency is going to be your best friend. Pick a day or two (or three) per week to climb, and make sure you go every week. Life happens, and sometimes that’s not realistic, but if you miss two weeks of climbing because you got busy and forgot, you will regress quickly as a beginner. Even if it’s just one day a week, staying consistent will go a long way in your climbing progression, especially in the first month!
If you genuinely want to invest entirely in climbing as a sport, learning as much as possible in that first month will make a massive difference in your climbing in the long run. Look into your gym’s climbing classes. Most gyms offer belay classes, opening up a new climbing dimension on a rope! Some offer movement classes and climbing-specific training classes. Any beginner-friendly information you can get through your gym is vital.
Another great way to learn is by searching for beginner tips, tricks, and need-to-knows in our trusty old search engine. It is all out there to learn how not to get injured, train, and make friends at the gym. Learning about different crimping positions can later save you from a nasty tendon injury. Knowing how to hang while engaging your shoulders can save you from a rotator cuff or labrum surgery in the future. There’s a lot of information about climbing out there just a few clicks away!
Last but not least, be social. Climbing is more fun with friends to share beta and snacks with. The climbing community is a special place, and the chances that you’ll meet someone willing to teach you climbing skills for gratis or take you climbing outside for the first time are high. The climbing opportunities are endless by being involved in the community. Your climbing gym is an excellent place to meet like-minded people because everyone has something in common you’re all addicted to rocks!