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Body by Bruno Part 2: Big Arms, Big Brain

Welcome back, crushers! Bruno here with part two of my series, Body by Bruno, where I reveal my top climbing tips and climbing workouts so that you can send your proj.

Last time we talked about campusing, climbing with no legs. While campusing is an important part of getting big arms, this time we are going to talk about getting a big brain to match! It may look like my head is hollow, but I can assure you that you can’t get gains like me without a strong mind.

Whether you have a fear of falling or forget your beta, there will come a time in your climbing career when you are physically strong enough to complete the climb but need to overcome a mental barrier. In these situations, it’s important that your mind is up to the task.

But don’t worry! Bruno is here with some tips to get that big brain, kind of like mind pull-ups or mental crunches. If you stick with me, I’ll impart my wisdom to you so that you can get a body (and brain) like Bruno’s.

Beta Dance

Before you hop on any climb, be sure to map out the entire route in your head. Don’t be afraid to get your body involved and do what’s called a Beta Dance! You don’t have to get as crazy as Adam Ondra, but try moving your arms and legs how you imagine you will have to on the wall. I even practice my power-screams and cutting my feet when I Beta Dance.

Once you’ve gone through it a few times, try closing your eyes and repeating it. Be sure to match the angles of holds while you mime. If you think you are going to turn your wrist inward, or gaston, for one move, mime the gaston! Visualizing yourself in the body positions before you even reach them can reduce the time spent on the wall trying to figure out the beta and save you a ton of energy.





We all know that we are supposed to breathe when we get into stressful situations, but it can be easy to forget on the wall. Letting out a big sigh or even a powerful gust can help to recenter yourself on the wall.

I see climbers forget to breathe all the time! Sometimes they are just incredibly focused on a bouldering move. In this case, the breath will help to alleviate tension in their body and promote better, more fluid movements on the wall. I’ve also seen climbers who are afraid to fall taking short, uneven breaths. In this case, the breath will help to recenter them and give them a moment to reassure themselves.

Think positively! Your belayer has got you, your knot is tied correctly— now jump to that next hold and don’t let go! Bruno believes in you and you should too.

You Are in Charge

Finally, try to think about your mental state as something you can control! Fear and self-doubt can creep in unwelcomed but you have the ability to give them the boot. I’ve also heard that climbers can get confused when they get tired. I wouldn’t know, myself. I haven’t been tired in years.

Regardless, you may not be able to control when your muscles give up, but you sure can control when your brain does! Think of fear, self-doubt, and confusion on a dial. As you get tired and lose focus, the dial spins to the left letting these things in. Crank that dial to the right, letting in confidence and clarity, and then send!

Just like that, you are ready to start training for a brain as big as Bruno’s. Next time you arrive at a crux move, remember your training!

Please note that while this blog is written in the playful and sarcastic voice of Bruno, this advice is real and will help to improve your climbing.