September 16, 2021

Falling Techniques in Bouldering: Safety Tips for Falling when Bouldering

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by Brad

Table of Contents

On a closer look, bouldering is risky and much different when compared to other types of climbing. There is no rope or harness to hold you when falling. 

So you have to prepare to hit the ground each time you fall. Generally, every climbing with no ropes is dangerous. 

However, on a different angle, missing ropes are the simplicity of bouldering, making it an excellent climbing sport. You typically won’t go to greater heights. 

But that doesn’t guarantee any injuries. Even when the fall distance is short, you can hit the pads badly and injure yourself.

Knowing the falling techniques in bouldering will help you avoid injuries. You also have to feel comfortable when falling on the pads. 

There are ways or techniques of mitigating the above risks that you should incorporate into your repertoire. Let’s see.

Step 1: Bouldering Falls the Basics 

How to Fall when Bouldering

1. Stay calm

Staying calm keeps your muscles flexible and helps avoid injuries in the case of a fall, which is easier to think off, but hard to execute. 

Having a calm mind will reduce the likelihood of positioning a hand or leg in a way that they can be broken.

2. Breathe slowly

Also, take deep breaths and remain focused on the moment.

Doing this will help you stay comfortable on the rock or in competition instead of thinking how the moves below excited you up or how tough the ones ahead are. 

Therefore, taking a softer, less-grip approach to climbing will make you less likely to cause stiff-limbed landings.

Step 2: Before Bouldering

Many factors contribute towards a successful fall before you touch the wall. If there is adequate padding at gyms that offer roped climbing, patrons may be allowed boulders up to a specific height on roped climbs.

If you aren’t sure about the bouldering height, you can consult a staff member in your gym. You should examine your bouldering problem’s path as well.

Falling the Right Way when Bouldering

What is its origin? How far does it go? Do climbs intersect it? Do you climb straight up, or do you traverse? How can you avoid falling during the tough sections?

Falling is a part of bouldering, thus you need to learn the falling techniques in bouldering. It is wise not to overlook this fact. It’s not just challenging moves on a climb that can cause you to fall. 

On a warm-up route, your foot could slip off hold, or you might lose your balance if the hold spins. Climbing should thus be done with extreme caution!

Step 3: Possible Risks and the Right Falling Technique 

Falls when several factors cause bouldering. Among them is height: a fall from a higher height is more dangerous. Whenever possible, downclimb to minimize risk. Wouldn’t it be safer to fall from 12 feet rather than 15 feet?

To determine the best landing zone, one must descend to a comfortable height. There could be clutter on your pad, such as chalk bags, bottles, and cell phones. 

In addition, your landing may be obstructed by an unattended person. Therefore, a safety inspection may prevent both of you from experiencing an unlucky accident. There is nothing such thing as a perfectly safe landing when it comes to bouldering. 

With bouldering’s gymnastic movements, our bodies are often in weird positions, so there is no single way of landing safely. If you go bouldering outside or inside the house, here are a few guidelines to consider.

Bouldering how to fall

1. Get rid of extra weight

Do not carry jewelry, belts, or anything sharp or heavy in your own pockets, as these items could potentially cause injuries.

Ensure your landing zone is free of debris before pulling onto the wall, from water bottles to chalk bags to climbing partners

It would help if you kept your arms and legs elevated when falling from a low roof, so it seems like you are still holding onto the wall. This way, your back can absorb the impact. Avoid whiplash by tucking your chin into your chest.

2. Don’t struggle to grab objects when falling

Never grasp hold of another object when you peel off. Just go with the fall and accept that you are falling. 

To keep your whole body engaged, you need to maintain a healthy balance between relaxing and slightly engaged.

To land safely, it is important to keep muscles active and soft during the same time.

3. Exercise calmness 

Getting too tense before impact is a recipe for injuries such as sprains, strains, and bone fractures. 

The powerful part of your body, your lower body, is made to absorb the most impact. So you should do your best if you land with a large stance and bent, soft knees.

Bouldering Falls Safety Tips

4. Do not land on your heels

Avoid landing on your heels, your feet, sides, or toes, but rather land straight on the pad. 

To prevent whiplash, a common injury for boulders, ensure your chin tucks in with your chest to engage well with your neck muscles. And, do this often when you fall from a leveled path.

4. Don’t resist the momentum

New boulders tend to fall into the trap of landing by their feet and then standing up at the top. 

Instead, it’s advisable to roll into your sides, backs, or shoulders. Allow yourself to fall, tuck and roll gently so that you do not resist motion.

5. On a dyno fall, make your neck more stable

Your body can be put into a frightening, face-down position when you fall from a Dyno.

In this case, turning your head one way to make the neck stable at the same time as keeping your hands and legs at an inclined position will prevent whiplash. Should it be a hard landing, you will have to involve your core.

Spotting Techniques for Bouldering

6. Engage your sides when landing 

Rather than twisting your hands up to your chest when landing on your back or even stomach, try slapping your pad to your sides when you land. 

This will assist you in offsetting the falling power by engaging your higher body parts to prevent them from flipping around and injuring yourself.

7. Do not engage your arms or hands when falling 

Be careful not to use your hands to stop yourself. Remember, Injury to the upper extremity can occur when one lands on an outstretched arm or hand. 

Keep your arms high and close to your chest as you fall. As such, you won’t bash them on obstacles on your way down if they are not in the way. 


Okay, ladies and gentlemen, in as much as bouldering seems risky and tough is an excellent climbing sport. However, the risks you may face are not to be overlooked.

It would be best if you were well prepped. And that starts by learning and practicing the falling techniques in bouldering mentioned above. For further knowledge, read our article on how to spot while bouldering.

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About the author 


Brad is a professional climber in the discipline of traditional climbing. He often jokes that he can get a book to read during the long climbs. Of course, it always goes well with a good cup of coffee. Drinking coffee is his safer hobby.

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