Be the #GIRLBOSS of Your Bouldering

I recently picked up a copy of Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS and read it all the way through in just over 48 hours while traveling across the country.  Bouldering Babes, I highly recommend reading it if you haven’t already, because the #GIRLBOSS vision for empowerment and autonomy is much like our own: bold, brazen, and badass:

A #GIRLBOSS is in charge of her own life.  She gets what she wants because she works for it.


Whether it’s our work or climbing goals, we all have a vision of where we’d like to be. Maybe it’s that promotion that’s 6 months away. Or climbing v6. Or learning how to climb outside.  Or learning how to fall.

Topping out always makes me feel #likeaboss

Topping out always makes me feel #likeaboss

Motivation and dedication are the keys to reaching any goal. Programs and plans may help you get there, but girl, let’s be honest here – you have to work for it. I love Climbing Magazine’s  brutally honest beta for taking your bouldering to the next level:

‘Trying hard’ is V15-climber Ian Dory crawling across the bouldering pads to get to his next problem, being determined to succeed and refusing to stop or give up. This is how you need to approach your training. Hard work beats talent when talent stops working hard, so bottom line is: Work hard!


Ready to work your butt off? Try these exercises on for size to be the #GIRLBOSS of your bouldering:

  • Stretch Like a Maniac: Shoulder opening stretches (e.g. shoulder rolls, door/wall stretches), finger stretches, and hip openers (e.g. pigeon pose) are your BFFs when it comes to climbing prep.
  • Warm-up: Do a dynamic warm-up for 15 minutes with jumping jacks, leg kicks, shoulder circles, push-ups, etc. Boulder on easy problems for 10 more minutes.
  • 4×4: Repeat 1 moderately difficult boulder problem 4 times, rest 4 minutes, then pick a new problem and repeat it 4 times, until you’ve done a total of 4 sets. By the fourth go on each problem, you should be trying hard to finish.
  • Core: Do any combination of core exercises, but rest a minute or two after each exercise, then repeat for a total of a 20- to 25-minute core session. Options: toes to bar, front levers (2 min.), planks (2 min.), V-ups, Russian twists (1 min.), sit-ups (2 min.)
  • Push-up until Failure: Do three sets of 30 second intervals where you push-up until failure.  Take a 10 second rest between intervals.
  • Speed Pull-up: Do a pull-up quickly, lower slowly, then go right back up. Do until failure for each set.
  • Weighted Pull-up: Add enough weight when doing pull-ups to ensure that your second to fourth pull-ups are hard. Two to four reps per set.

Push yourself and work hard, but don’t burn yourself out.  If you feel extremely tired during training, unmotivated, and/or not improving, then take a break.  If you feel pain in any of your joints, particularly in the fingers, then stop immediately.

Climbing progression is never linear, and the longer you climb, the smaller the gains will be.  The most important thing is to focus on feeling good (that’s the reason why we set goals to begin with!):

Focus on breathing, stretching, moving, and on the beauty of placing the tip of your shoe on a hold and the feeling of carefully grasping a hold with your hand.

-Steph Davis

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