Bouldering is an exciting activity that can provide a good mental and physical workout. It’s a great way to get climbing practice in while being free of most gear and harnesses. However, the lack of equipment and regulation could lead to disastrous injuries. Although bouldering is often done lower to the ground, a fall can still twist ankles and sprain wrists. Without the proper safety techniques, your day, week, or even month of climbing could be in jeopardy. If you’re going bouldering, be sure to follow these safety tips.

Use Bouldering Mats

Bouldering mats are one of the best ways to help keep you protected while climbing. The mats are designed to help lessen the impact of a fall, keeping you and your joints safe from harm. It can be useful to utilize multiple bouldering mats on courses that are wide or tall. However, always keep an eye on how your mats are arranged. Two mats that are placed side by side can create a sort of pitfall in the center. Mats that are piled on top of one another can provide more cushioning but can also lead to major injuries if you land on the edge and fall or slide off.

Have a Good Spotter

Having a friend or fellow climber along to help spot you is crucial. Not only will a spotter be able to provide climbing tips and ideas, but they can also help you if you fall. Spotters can help direct your body as you’re falling so that you’ll land in a safe location and position. Spotters should try to slow the climber down and face them forward by grabbing their armpits or bottom. For boulderers who are closer to the ground, spotters can simply grab their backs and help push them back to the climb.

Fall Properly

Learning how to fall is good practice, especially in bouldering. Bouldering courses are designed to be challenging. It can take many tries to get through one, and you’re likely to fall a few times along the way. Making sure you fall properly can help avoid injuries.

Your body’s knees and hips act as natural shock absorbers, and it’s always best to try and land on your feet when possible. Your body is also a forward faller, meaning you’ll have an easier time maintaining balance and avoiding harm if you’re facing forward where you land. Mainly, you’ll want to try and turn as you fall, if possible, so you’re facing the way your momentum is carrying you. If you feel yourself starting to slip, turn and make a conscious fall to avoid injury.

Bouldering is a fun and exciting activity that can be best enjoyed when practiced safely. If you’re looking for a bouldering gym where you can safely practice your climbing skills and meet new friends, then come down to Blocworks or give us a call at 405.225.6090. Our warm and friendly community of climbers is ready to welcome you and help get your bouldering experience off to a great start.