Improving climbing skills is hard, especially if you already have reached higher grades like V5 or V6 which are considered to be intermediate in terms of difficulty. Maybe you are tired of the climbing equipment, or simply want to try something else, but you need to know if it will improve your climbing skills, so the question that we will answer is “Does bouldering improve climbing?”. Climbing and bouldering are very similar but there are some big differences that you have to understand, and we will talk about them later in this article so stay with us.
The muscles that are used in the climbing sessions are also used in the bouldering sessions as well. The problem for you to solve during bouldering is a more compressed version of problems that you could see on climbing. There are some disadvantages that you should think of, but for now, we have to say that bouldering does improve your climbing skills.
Differences between bouldering and climbing
Climbing and bouldering are almost exactly the same with only a few exceptions:
- Length of the problem/route – Climbers need to have way more stamina to clear the route, due to the length of it.
- Height of the problem/route – If you are someone who is afraid of heights then climbing can be very scary for you, bouldering problems are created only a few feet above the ground, and that can be a solution for people who are scared of climbing.
- Climbing needs gear – Climbers do need to prepare and check climbing gear before their climbing sessions to keep them safe, on the other hand, bouldering doesn’t need any additional gear except your climbing shoes and chalk, because in bouldering gyms there are mattresses called crash pads.
- Bouldering difficulty is more compressed – When you have for example V6 problem to solve then you can expect the whole route to be hard without any moments to catch your breath, on the other hand, climbers do have a lot of moments to take a break and rest a bit before the harder parts.
Those are the main differences between bouldering and climbing, but the overall idea of pulling yourself up to the top is still there in both cases.
Why bouldering is bad for climbers?
Bouldering and climbing have many similarities but, there is something important that your body can struggle with, and this is called the “Curve of fatigue” that is directly correlated with your stamina. What is that “Curve of fatigue“? This is your stamina level used over time, and to make it simple let’s take an example.
So when you are doing bouldering then even when your current condition isn’t great you should be able to finish the whole problem without any breaks, due to how short are those routes, so you can start with the maximum of your power from the start, but things look different when it comes to climbing.
During climbing sessions, you need to take breaks during climbing, like resting on stretched arms, and you should hold back a bit with the output of your power for some harder parts, that are located later on this route.
With all that knowledge we can clearly see the difference in the way you should approach climbing and bouldering problems, but what if you want to improve climbing by doing bouldering? You have to keep in mind that when you will get back to the climbing gym, you shouldn’t use your full power from the very start. It’s easy to forget that because your body quickly adjusts to the bouldering phase but the climbing phase is much more difficult to maintain because we have to remember to limit ourselves.
In conclusion – Does bouldering improve climbing?
Yes, it does, it does and it’s a perfect way to get a full-body workout when you don’t have enough time or a partner to climb with you, but the main issue sits in your mindset … bouldering will change the habits of your body to give it all from the very start, and you can prevent that by knowing that something like that exists, and when you will face similar issue on your climbing journey then maybe you will remember this article, so you will know what to change.