Diverse movement, mental work and social aspects: Bouldering attracts more and more people. Michael Ullrich from Memmingen explains how he discovered his passion for it.
04/06/2022 | Status: 15:00
Sport can have many facets. To portray parts of this broad spectrum – that’s the principle of the ‘Fit to 2022’ series. In addition to individual sports in summer and winter, the emphasis is also on health topics, fitness sports and trends, tips for running and exploring the ski slopes, as well as tips on equipment and nutrition. Various life situations are also taken into account. Experts from all over the world come in the series Allgäu word.
His gaze is on the wall; A smile flashes across his face: Michael Ullrich is the manager of the bouldering hall in memmingen. A certified industrial engineer began bouldering in the youth group 18 years ago.
Today, the 26-year-old has already achieved a number of successes: in 2015 and 2020 he was the vice-champion of Bavaria in bouldering; in 2021 he won the titles of vice-champion of Germany in rope climbing and the titles of the champion of Bavaria and southern Germany in rope climbing.
What is his passion for bouldering? “The movement itself and its great variety,” he says and explains, “Bouldering is about being well prepared for as many moves as possible and then using them over different terrain to solve problems.”
It has some tips ready for anyone looking to aim high in 2022.
Up high: how high is bouldering?
- Michael Ullrich: Maximum 4.5 meters. In the Memmingen boulder hall, the range ranges from two meters for a children’s wall to the highest one, 4.5 meters high. The so-called The gable wall from which you can get to the gallery is four meters high.
What shoes do you need? What clothes?
- Ullrich: You can just come in sports clothes and as a novice you can also borrow your climbing shoes. These shoes have no profile. The sole is made of rubber, which ensures good friction. In addition, the climbing shoes have a hard edge, so you have a good grip on small steps.
What else do I need to take with me for bouldering?
- Ulrich: friends. It’s a very social sport. It’s not that you are standing alone against a boulder, but that you think about solutions together and chill together. It doesn’t even have to be someone you know. Sometimes it turns out that you start a conversation because you are interested in the same boulder, and then you manage it together. Bouldering is open to everyone and everyone can try it. Everyone will find a place where they will feel comfortable.
What about body size? Does she matter?
- Ullrich: Of course there are body compositions that make it easy for you. As a rule of thumb: the more power with less weight, the better you do. Sometimes it will be easier for a smaller person, for example at a nest, then there are certainly passages in which taller people have an advantage. But everyone should be able to find a solution. It’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses and adjust your climbing style accordingly.
Who is allowed / should boulder and who is not? Are there any recommendations, for example for people with a new joint?
- Ullrich: It is obvious that a soft floor mat only absorbs a certain amount of the fall energy. So if I have a personal limitation, I should adjust my actions so that, for example, the distance from which I can fall is potentially less. However, everyone should see where and how they feel safe and act with a sense of proportion.
Soft floor mat: a good keyword. What’s the difference between bouldering and rock climbing?
- Ullrich: You climb a maximum of 4.5 meters in bouldering – and you have the mat at the bottom. There is talk of climbing when it comes to the rope. Then we have a harness, a rope and a belay partner. The rope catches the fall. There is no mat.
Before you really start, should you warm up?
- Ullrich: Yes, a warm-up is strongly recommended. The fingers and shoulders are very important as this is where most injuries occur.
So what are the first steps?
- Ullrich: First look at what you want to boulder at, ie at what level. There are specific scales in each hall and then color coding is used for orientation. Then you look at the wall where the boulder begins. The beginning is defined. It starts, and when I got the last grip I made it.
And how to climb a really high wall?
- Ullrich: Very important: step on the step with your fingers. Of course, there are ways to navigate the wall efficiently. The more you boulder you learn the technical subtleties.
How often is bouldering allowed?
- Ullrich: As a beginner, usually once a week, then the fingers are ready, so to speak. After that, you can also boulder four times a week. It is important that you avoid overtraining because your body ultimately needs regeneration.
You loved bouldering from the very beginning. How would you lure you to this sport?
- Ullrich: Bouldering is a fitness studio, only in brilliant form. Movement is diverse, you try, mobilize and strengthen. The move itself is much more exciting as there are DIY aspects as well. I also have to do some mental work, be creative, find solutions, deal with and create a boulder. There is also a social aspect. This whole package makes bouldering so exciting and is currently causing a real boom in the sport.
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