A Girl Who Climbs

A blog of bouldering



All The Training, All The Gains

Ignore what I said last week, I’m all about the training now.

I re-joined the gym at the start of January (with the rest of the world) and I’m happy to report I’m still going twice a week and surprisingly really enjoying it. Why did I join the gym after giving it up for bouldering? In all honesty it’s to help me improve at roller derby, and subsequently bouldering. Plus I’ve discovered that I’m the type of person that needs to be in the right environment to be productive, whether that’s in an office to do work or in the gym to work out. I can do it if I have a reason and I’m in the right place.


Having a goal to aim towards also helps to keep me focused, so when I saw this video for a beginner oriented campusboard drill, I knew this is what I needed in my climbing life. This is perfect to help with dynamic power and contact strength, and I really like how informative the video is, plus it’s genuinely one of the best campusboard training videos for beginners that I’ve watched.–a-beginner-oriented-campusboard-drill/605684

Naturally there will be pictures and videos over on my Twitter, Facebook & Instagram account to do with all of the above, because if you don’t document it for the world to see did it even happen?

I would love to know  your training goals for the year, leave them in the comment!


FlexEX | Review

I’m sure you’ve been told a million times before that you should always stretch before climbing, which is sound advice, and this also includes stretching your fingers. After a light brush with golfer’s elbow a month ago which I posted about here, I took some advice and bought the FlexEx. I’m not going to lie, I was slightly dubious about parting with money for what are essentially coloured, latex loops. However, I was not disappointed and now I always use them before climbing. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen a few pictures/videos of me messing around with these bands.

The colour depicts the difficulty. Yellow = Easy, Red = Medium and Blue = Hard. You can double up or mix and match the colours for more of a challenge.

First impressions, I thought the exercises and stretches would be far too easy for my seasoned climbing mitts. How wrong I was as the FlexEx are small yet mighty. I was genuinely surprised by how difficult the basic stretch was, and it was in that moment I realised two things:

  1. My finger strength is awful
  2. These bands are awesome

In terms of using them to help with golfer’s elbow I would highly recommend them. I mostly used the yellow band with the basic stretch once a day, which was enough to feel some good aches without bring on a flare up. There are so many different exercises you can do with these little guys, I’ll link the site with videos here. They’re really easy to get hold of in the UK too, I ordered mine from Amazon.

I’ve had a bunch of friends and climbers try them out and they went through the same emotional process of doubt, surprise and joy. I think these are an extremely useful tool for any climber, no matter their current grip strength. I like how small they are, which makes it easy to take them to the gym or crag without taking up any extra space or weight.

 So overall a big, stretchy thumbs up for FlexEx.


Finding The Balance

Things on the blog have slowed down a little because I’ve not really been climbing, which has made it hard to write posts. In fact I feel pretty guilty as the reason for climbing less is because roller derby has started to take over my spare time. It’s hard trying to find a balance between the two sports, especially when skating comes more naturally than climbing. However I’m starting to even out my time, and I have seen some unexpected improvments.

I got back on the wall at the start of the week and it felt awesome, I realised how much I had missed it. It also made me think that climbing has given me some good foundations to build on for skating, and now I can see how roller derby has started to help my climbing. I’ve gained better core strength, I’m more confident with footwork since I figure, if I can do it on wheels I can definitely do it off wheels. I don’t feel as scared as I did when climbing up high, and generally moving around the wall feels more natural.

Even though it didn’t feel like at the time, the inadvertent bouldering break has actually been a good thing. So it’s okay for things to change on the priority list, and taking some time once in a while is okay too, especially if it helps you appreciate some improvements.


Slopers | How To Climb Them


Notoriously slippery, rounded and very tricky, slopers are something I’ve been working on for a couple of weeks now. There was a problem in the gym that was full of them which inspired the training, as the route quickly became a project. I made it through in the end, and so here we are with very sore fingertips and some pointers to share!

So, how do you climb slopers?


What I’ve found to be the most important element of climbing on slopers is body position. E.g If you can hang directly under a sloper with your arm relaxed, you can suddenly find some friction. It’s all about learning where you need your body/weight to be, in order to create the most positive hand hold, which will all depend on the problem flow/direction.

Secondly, how you hold the sloper is also important. This will differ from hold to hold, plus route and wall angle, but looking for the part with the most texture isn’t a bad idea. I also found that half crimping the hold helped me out too.BM

Lastly, it’s commonly known that slopers can sense fear. If you don’t fully commit to holding that hold whilst trying hard, it will reject you and make you slip off!

If you follow me on social media you might have seen a video of me having a crack at the Beastmaker 1000 slopers. As frustrating as it was repeatedly falling off these holds, it was equally amazing when I got a little further and held them a little longer.

You can always do more than you think you can! I would love to hear your tips for holding slopers, leave them in the comments 🙂


Learning and Improving | Every Little Helps

I’m not what you could call a ‘natural climber’. I’ve never been particularly outdoorsy, I didn’t start climbing from a young age, or have the built-in bouldering knack at my first session.  In fact, it was pretty much the opposite. I was scared of being up high, terrified of falling, and struggled to get my limbs to co-operate (the latter is still an issue). Yet there was something about bouldering which had me hooked, most probably the challenge.

A couple of years down the line and I’m still working away at bettering my climbing-self, which in a very long-winded way brings me round to the point of this blog post.

There is always time to learn and improve.



One of my draw backs at the moment is flexibility, which is arguably the easiest thing to improve. I’ve been extremely lax with yoga, so I’m here to make a compromise in the form of weekly stretches tailored to climbing. I’ve said it before, but the hardest thing about yoga is actually rolling out the mat to do it. Stretching however somehow seems more accessible, and Netflix friendly. This small exercise will hopefully morph into a full yoga session at some point.

Specific areas for me to work on for climbing are shoulders, hips and legs.

So here’s the plan at a minimum:

-Low intensity jog on the spot to warm everything up

-Cow pose for shoulders

-Frog pose for hips

-Seated forward fold for legs

Hopefully stretching like this at home at least once a week will help me out on the walls, as I know I can definitely fit this into my week somewhere. It’s always a good pre-climb warm up if you throw in some dynamic stretches too.

As the title says, every little helps.


Climbing For Yourself

A few things have changed this month. I’ve got a new job to pay the climbing bills, and with that comes different time schedules and general re-adjustment. This means I’ve not been able to climb with the people I usually would, but instead of popping down for a solo climb, I’ve waited until the timings aligned so I could go with them. There is nothing wrong with this, but since I really want to up my climbing game, hitting the gym once a week just isn’t going to cut it! Realistically I’ve got the time to fit in a quick session, so after putting it off I finally just went down and climbed on my own.

It was pretty cool as the gym was quite, so I happily worked a couple of problems and moved on to things I wouldn’t normally try. Surprisingly I  found climbing solo made me work harder, I took fewer breaks and just tried to get stuff done. There was no-one there to see me succeed or fail, and it really didn’t matter because I was enjoying myself and making some progress. Also, it wasn’t half as scary as I thought it was going to be!


Bouldering with others is awesome, I really enjoy the social aspect of the climbing community, plus sometimes having someone there watching can give you that extra little push to finish a move or problem. However, depending on how I’m feeling that day, having a bunch of people watch me can also work the opposite way. I guess it’s all very personal, and getting the right balance can be tricky. Sometimes it’s good having people around who inspire you to try hard, but equally it can be nice to solo climb and face your own battles to achieve your own goals for yourself!

‘6 Ninja Tricks to Becoming a Better Climber’ | Athlete By Choice

I’ve just read ‘6 Ninja Tricks to Becoming a Better Climber’ from Athlete By Choice, and I’m feeling psyched to get a training scheduled sorted. Despite its size, this little guide is packed with great training regimes to help you reach your climbing potential.

I like that each strategy is logical, and yet they are not things I would think to do! It’s a very well informed book, put together in handy size so you can take it with you to the gym. In a nutshell, ‘6 Ninja Tricks to Becoming a Better Climber’ is easy to understand and to the point, providing you with adaptable training programmes for any climbing type and level.

Since I only boulder I’m intrigued to try out the ‘Hangboard Endurance Training’, as I have never climbed a long, forearm killing route. Without giving too much away, it works by doing hand squeezes and using a chair/box to prop your feet up on whilst you hang. Duncan also touches on ways to improve your technique, pull ups, and how to help prevent injuries. Plus there’s even a section in the back for you to write your notes/progress down.

Definitely try and get your hands on this little book of ninja tricks! You can find it over at HoldBreaker free with any order, and go check out Athlete By Choice on Facebook and Instagram too.

Happy training! 

Grade Yourself | Part 2

Let’s face it, being up high with odd-shaped holds to cling onto is a little crazy, even more so when it’s by choice. Countless times I’ve written about how it’s okay to be scared when you’re bouldering, and I still belive that it is. However, the fear shouldn’t stop you from trying hard, it should push you. This is something I’ve known for a long time but only just started acting upon. A couple of months ago I wrote about ‘Grading Yourself’ which you can find here, and after a quick review it now looks something like this:

Confidence : V1 V2

Grip : V4+

Footwork: V3

Movement: V3

Dynamic: V2 V2+

Eight weeks down the line and a bunch of climbing session later, I feel like I’m making some progress and starting to level out the factors. Obviously the main thing here for me is still confidence, which I have found is getting better as I try to be a little braver each time I climb a problem. Also the fact that I can do a pull up now has helped so much on the metal side. Being more dynamic has been easier as my confidence in myself has grown too, it’s good to see how one thing can have a positive impact on another.

So now it’s all about keeping the ball rolling and staying onboard with the progress, plus listening to people when they tell you that you can do it! I’m starting to make a conscious effort to climb on holds and angles I would normal avoid, because ignoring them won’t help me improve in the long run 🙂



How To Tape Your Finger For Climbing

You’ve probably seen climbers in the gym with their fingers battered and covered in tape. Taping your fingers can help you to still climb even when they’re a bit achy, or prevent a tweak from becoming an injury. Taping holds the tendon against the bone, and stops the already sore pulley from being over stressed. Learning how to tape is a useful skill, so I figured it would be good to write a post on it. I’ve only taped my finger a few times when I had a small pulley injury, which you can read about here. I used the technique shown below, which is variation of the figure of 8 method. I found this the easiest and most supportive taping method, as it’s fairly easy to do yourself.



tape 2
A Boy Who Climbs kindly demonstrating the taping method.



1. Relax the finger that needs taping and make a fist to tuck the other digits out of the way.
Starting at the bottom pad of finger/proximal phalanx, wrap the tape around 3 times towards yourself, keeping the finger relaxed.
2. After 3 turns, cross the tape diagonally along the side of the knuckle ensuring knuckle is not covered.
3. Wrap the tape 3 times around the middle pad of finger/middle phalanx, and diagonally along the other side of the knuckle, ending back where the tape started.



I really like the Psychi finger tape as it’s really hard-wearing and sticky, which stops it from peeling off.



Hopefully that makes sense, and the pictures are helpful! Ultimately if your tendons or pulleys are hurting you probably shouldn’t climb, as sad as that seems, but I hope this helps you prevent an injury.
Please feel free to leave any thoughts or tips in the comments on taping fingers 🙂



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