Hands for climbers are very important things and they are taking much care of them even more than many women out there because they are the main tools in climbing. If your hands are not well maintained you won’t be able to climb at your best, and in this article, we will tell you more about them, “How to take care of my hands as a climber?”, “Is bouldering bad for my hands?”, “How to become better at climbing quickly?” Those and many more we will answer in this article so stay with us.
Let’s talk about “Is bouldering bad for my hands”, is it really? And unfortunately, climbers need to keep their hands dry, to get better friction while climbing, also long nails are the problem here. Overall bouldering can lead to some hand injuries, but eventually, you will gain much more strength in them. Most of them can be avoided with simple tricks.
Similar to any activities, let’s take for example normal jogging. If you jog daily then it can be bad for your feet something like chafing from shoes or an ankle sprain and even joint pain. Sports are good but you need to be cautious while doing them, proper warmup and knowing your limits can be much help.
How to take care of my hands as a climber?
Climber’s hands need some special treatment to let you as a climber reach your maximal potential. Like runners needs to take care of their legs and feet to be in the best possible shape for the next marathon.
First, let’s talk about your skin on the hands. The skin on your hands has a wavey pattern that lets you get more friction while you are holding anything. When you are doing normal daily activities then your skin won’t wear out, but during bouldering, you need to hold the handholds that have a rough surface, and because of that your skin will quickly wear out.
Even to this point, you won’t be able to unlock your phone with the fingerprint scanner, cause it will simply not recognize your finger. So it’s good to take breaks between every session of bouldering to let your skin heal. Note that your skin won’t be able to regrown until you wash your chalk off, so wash your hands right after every climbing session.
Skin can stretch a bit similar to rubber and that can give you additional friction on the hold or the wall. Also, skin can be wet due to our sweat, and that is undesirable for climbers, that’s why we use chalk to keep our hands dry during climbing.
For some people using liquid chalk can be very bad, because it can cause skin irritation. Liquid chalk can make your skin too dry, and when you feel pain while using liquid chalk you should try the regular chalk.
The next important thing is to take care of your fingernails because long nails won’t let you get a good grip on the handholds. After all, they will block your finger from reaching further into the hold. Women tend to use nails for everything but in climbing, it’s a bad idea because grabbing a handhold with fingernails won’t hold much of your weight, that’s why you should use only your fingers.
Let’s sum this up, and say what should we do to take care of our hands:
- Washing hands right after climbing session
- Cutting off your nails to keep them short
- Taking breaks between every climbing session, about 2 days should be enough
- Don’t use liquid chalk if that hurts your skin
How to become better at climbing quickly?
So if you do want to become better quickly then there is a solution, because many beginner climbers don’t know that when your skin is too dry it can generate way more friction. So if you somehow make your hands dry you will become instantly a better climber, every handhold will be easier for you to grab.
But how can we make our hands drier? You can simply use chalk that will absorb the sweat out of your skin, and if you want to go even further you can use liquid chalk, which is known to give even better results than regular chalk in terms of drying your skin.
After a few climbing sessions, your hands will get drier over time, but many people tend to have something called “sweaty hands” and that can be very hard for many climbers to overcome because you will simply have to use chalk more often, and while you are climbing a tall wall it can be very irritating, but if you are doing bouldering then using chalk between every approach to a boulder shouldn’t be hard for you.
Also, you should think about losing some additional body fat, that will make you way better at climbing, but it’s not a quick process, if you want to learn more then check out this article “How much weight should I lose to be a better climber?“
In conclusion – Is bouldering bad for my hands?
In general, bouldering can be bad for your hands, due to the need of drying your skin while climbing, but to be fair if you think about anything in the world, you can expect that thing to have some drawbacks. For example, gymnastics can lead to joint pain or even broken bones.
And here is the question that only you can answer… is bouldering worth those drawbacks? Because they are not huge and the benefits of climbing are great, and you can check them here in this article “Why rock climb? – 8 reasons why you should try climbing“, that should motivate you to try it out!