Climb grade 5 outdoor sport routes, but want to progress? Getting solid and comfortable climbing 6a will open up a lot of crags to you. But how do you start pushing your comfort zone, and what should you focus on?
1 Footwork focus
Footwork is key to climbing hard and pushing your grade. Being able to reduce the weight on your arms will not only make you a more efficient climber but will also improve your confidence and technique.
2 Indoors vs outdoors
Climbing indoors is great for developing your skills and getting strong, but getting outside is a different game: the only way to develop your confidence and push onto the harder grades on real rock, is to climb more on real rock.
How many times have you climbed a route without even looking at it? Try visualising the moves before you start, and see if you can work out where the crux sections are. On longer routes you may want to break it down into sections and then try to figure out how to put it all together. It's a great memory game!
Flexibility is often overlooked in favour of strength but a good yoga session can do wonders for your climbing. Try including some stretching into your daily routine and you will soon find that those high rock-overs become possible.
Climb with people who are better than you. While this may give your ego a bashing, it's a great way to learn and develop as a climber.
WATCH: How to thread a sport route on BMC TV
6 Route choice
Everyone has different strengths, and routes at the same grade can vary widely. Pick the right route for you: slab, overhanging, short and powerful, reachy, covered in crimps, long stamina or jug-fest!
7 Resting on route
Learn when to move and when to rest. It's tempting to hang around on a crux if the holds are small and you're feeling gripped, but you'll get pumped! Likewise if you find yourself in a comfortable spot, consider taking a few moments to shake out.
8 Drill the basics
Practice clipping smoothly and from the right position — your arms should be straight and your fingers shouldn't be over-gripping, if possible. Check out our playlist of sport climbing tips and tricks on BMC YouTube: Sport Climbing playlist
9 Keep your head
Psychology is as important as strength. Do you trust your belayer, shoes and the rope? Top-rope harder routes so you know the 6a above you is well within your reach — then you'll feel more confident that you can lead it.
10 Go on holiday!
Climbing once a week is good, but climbing for the whole week will help your confidence, technique and the pyramid of your log book.
WATCH: How to use a clip-stick on BMC TV
WATCH: BMC Travel Cover built for the mountains
Rock Up Abroad with BMC Travel Cover
Wherever the hot rock calls, make sure that you go prepared with our travel cover before you head off.
You can get cover with a BMC Rock policy from just £52* for a week.
BMC Travel Cover comes in five policies: Travel, Trek, Rock, Alpine and Ski and High Altitude.
*Policy details: £51.46 for 7 days European Rock policy, price for up to age 69.
For full terms and conditions see our Evidence of Cover
Europe by Train
Seat61 has a plethora of information, ready-planned for you to make your train journeys to Europe plain sailing. We fully recommend checking out the routes available and booking in advance to get the best deals on cheaper tickets.
PLAN YOUR TRAVEL: Use public transport routes from Seat61 to help you plan your low-impact travels
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