Progress in climbing


How can you help me with my climbing?

Our coaching focuses on developing the skill aspects of climbing:

    • Technique & movement
    • Problem solving & route reading
    • Risk & fear management
    • Strategy, mental preparation & tactics

In our experience, it is improvements in these areas that lead to the most significant and lasting changes in one’s climbing ability. 

Each person is unique, yet the principles of climbing apply to all. We are here to share what we know about climbing, as well as help you to better understand yourself and your body. This is how we will support you to find your way to progress. 

We are excited to have a comprehensive service in-house. We provide climbing-specific Performance, and Rehab coaching. They are a separate service as we have different coaches with different specialisms. These are available separately or as an add-on to Climbing coaching.

How is this different from safety instruction?

Climbing instruction is about teaching you the safety systems of climbing (e.g. how to fall, belaying, gear checks). Climbing coaching is about you and your aspirations. We are here to support you to become the climber that you want to be.

Will I get a training plan?

We do not prescribe training plans as such. However, you should come away from each session with an action plan and a clear idea of how to practise the skills we went through.

What does the coaching process look like?

The first session is about consultation and assessment. This always starts with a conversation – we want to get to know you and your aspirations. We will then do a climbing assessment – looking at how you move, make decisions and risk manage on the wall. 

From here, we will identify opportunities for growth, allocate priorities strategically, and work through them systematically over a series of coaching sessions. Every step of the way, we discuss and decide together the what, how and why.

We have options for regular and ad-hoc sessions to suit different needs. Based on the assessment, we will discuss what would be a good fit for you.

How much does it cost?

The first session is £110 and will be about 2 hours. After this, we have options and packages to suit different people’s needs. 

If you are interested in coaching but are limited by budget, please get in touch as we may be able to find an alternative for you. 

What level of climbers do you work with?

We work with people of all levels and abilities. We are especially experienced in helping people who climb in the 5s, 6s and 7s (sport) and V2 to V8 (bouldering).

I’m new to climbing, can you help me?

Yes, we love working with people who are new to climbing! We know that climbing can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. Developing good habits early on can go a long way to helping you better manage the line between exciting and too exciting. These habits will also lay the foundation for long term progress.

I climb in the 8s, V9+ and/or do competitions, can you help me? 

As you reach a higher level in climbing, your path to progress becomes more specific and individualised. Get in touch to arrange a free consultation. Let’s get to know each other and decide together if our coaching will be a good fit for you.

Do you work with adults or youths?

We work primarily with adults. We will coach youths as well, however you may prefer to find a coach who has more expertise in this area.

What makes you great at climbing coaching? 

We’ve learnt about coaching through multiple channels:

Coaching experience A lot of what we do is informed by experience. We have learnt a lot by responding to our clients’ individual and diverse needs. Xian has been coaching informally since 2006 (at school and university), and formally since 2014. She has worked with many climbers with different interests, backgrounds and abilities, and continues to learn everyday from her clients.

A wall designed for skill learning The aps wall is no regular splatter board! The physical environment has a huge impact on movement learning. We have carefully considered the wall angles, hold selection and placement to create numerous technique stations for deliberate practice. We have lines for assessment, simple practice, variable practice, circuits, benchmarks and more! We can scale for difficulty, complexity, and adjust for differences in body shapes and sizes, so we can work at the right level for you wherever you are at on your climbing journey. 

Professional qualifications have informed our bigger picture understanding of how the body moves. Our biggest influence here is Alan Herdman Pilates. We also have the necessary MTA instructor qualifications.

Self study and keeping up with the current literature across multiple disciplines. We are relentless in learning through observation, analysis and engaging with our local community of climbers and coaches.

Personal experience In the personal pursuit of progress, we have stumbled on many surprising lessons. These lessons inspire us to explore and learn more about climbing. Xian has been climbing for more than 16 years. She is competent across various disciplines (boulder, sport, trad) and has competed internationally as part of Team Singapore. Notable achievements include 8A boulder, British Bouldering Championships 2014 Finalist, and Asian Youth 2007 Speed Climbing Champion

I would like to get stronger for my climbing.

Strength & Conditioning off the wall can be a very effective means of improving your energy, stamina, movement options and body confidence for climbing. We are excited to combine our experience in S&C and climbing to offer a considered approach to training for climbers. 

We will support you to discover your strength, train intelligently, and develop the skills to better manage your training.

We know that being stronger can help climbing performance. A common mistake is to be overly focused on training and lose focus on overall climbing progress. We always consider the bigger picture, such as how strength training interacts with movement skill, as well as overall load and recovery. We are looking for the best ratio of training to climbing, so that everything we do is helping you become a better climber.

Strength & Conditioning is available as part of Performance coaching. Click here to find out more about how we can help you improve athletic performance.

I don’t feel I can climb to the same extent as before my injury. Can you help?

We’re sorry to hear that you’re struggling to get back to where you want to be. Injury rehab can be a draining process, physically, mentally and emotionally. 

We always ask ourselves:

    • How can we get you to where you want to be?
    • What are some factors and behaviours that may have contributed to the initial injury?

To put your injury in the past and lay the foundations for long term progress, we need to address both questions. We consider all aspects of your climbing, movement and lifestyle when considering where the best place is to begin. 

In our experience, effective rehab evolves over time. It often starts with treatment and exercises, progresses onto the wall with adjustments to climbing technique and can extend to modifications to lifestyle habits and training practices. We’re big believers in the body’s ability to bounce back. With a holistic and adaptive approach, there’s a good chance you’ll get there. Who knows, maybe you can come back even better than before!

Get in touch for a free consultation so that we can learn more and find the best coach for where you are at right now.

I feel like climbing is beating me up. I frequently have pain that limits my performance. 

Feeling a bit beaten up by climbing is a common and normal feeling. Climbing is an intense sport, it’s likely we’ll feel a bit sore every now and then.

However, when it feels like a constant battle to be pain free, this could be the sign that there’s room for improvement. An obvious place to start is to check that your body is capable of coping with the demands of climbing. In other words, is your technique, strength, fitness at the requisite level for your ambitions? 

Another approach is to look at the bigger picture. Sleep, nutrition and self-care can have a huge influence on how our body recovers. Load management and mindset can radically change how we approach our climbing and training. We can support you to explore these areas and how to blend it together in a way that best suits you.

Get in touch for a free consultation so that we can learn more and find the best coach for you where you are right now.

I feel like I have plateaued and I’m struggling to progress.

Progress isn’t always easy. If you have been feeling frustrated for a while, then it may be time for an injection of perspective and new ideas. That’s exactly what we are here for.

My goals are outdoor climbing focused but most of the time I climb indoors.

As longtime non-locals to the crag, we certainly understand the difficulties of transitioning indoor form to outdoor performance! Climbing well outdoors is so much about adjusting to the new style of climbing on rock, dealing with risk and fear, managing time, energy, weather and social dynamics within the context of a trip. We will account for all of these in our coaching so that you can get more out of every trip outdoors.

I experience a lot of fear and apprehension when I’m climbing. I feel like this is limiting my performance. 

We believe that the first step to climbing well is knowing how to manage safety. We will support you to overcome fear by looking clearly at risk and understanding what it means. 

Our approach to risk and fear management involves developing the skills to

    • Accurately and objectively assess risk and understand how this changes in different circumstances
    • Proactively reduce risk either by directly modifying the safety systems, or indirectly by improving adaptability, reactivity, physical resilience and stress management
    • Be clear about what your personal boundaries of risk are and stay firm about it under external pressures
    • Have tools and strategies for managing emotions under stress

For bouldering, we can provide both safety instruction and risk management coaching. For rope climbing, we will work together with an experienced instructor to improve your technical safety knowledge where needed.

I’m really psyched to progress but I have very limited time and/or I can’t get to climbing wall consistently. 

We know that it can be a struggle to find time and regular access to a climbing wall. We are all about finding ways to keep climbing and progressing without sacrificing the other important aspects of life!

There are several ways we could “hack” the time & resource conundrum:

    • Individualisation – By focusing on the areas most relevant to you, you might be surprised at how little you need to do to feel improvements!
    • Intelligent selection – We are very good at picking out the most ‘bang for your buck’ actions.
    • Strategic programme design – We can create high and low phases within your climbing year so that you can reduce the time spent climbing for specific periods without compromising on long term progress.
    • Fast track to tips and tricks – The simple act of coming to a coach gives you access to more and different insights. Experience is irreplaceable, but perhaps it is available for hire 😉

There are loads of ways to progress with limited time and resources. We are here to help.

I’m in my 40s/50s/60s. I’m psyched to progress but I’m not getting any younger!

There are many different paths to progress. Age is not relevant for many growth areas, to name a few: technique & movement, route reading, problem solving, mental preparation & tactics. In fact, being older and wiser is often an advantage! 

From a physiological point of view, your body is super capable for years to come. We will account for your age and adjust how you train, especially with regards to managing loads and keeping fit. Being aware and motivated to find a cleverer way to train is always an advantage in our books!


" the best thing I've ever done for my climbing improvement"
Highly recommended! I've done loads of climbing coaching and technique classes with Xian over nearly two years I think and learned so much from her. My technique improved a lot. When I followed her training plan, I saw great improvement in my climbing overall and started getting harder projects. We covered loads of different techniques and aspects of climbing, from footwork, balanced body position and movement principles to route reading and projecting. Rock-overs, heel-hooks, toe-hooks, dynos... she's an expert in everything! Sessions with Xian were the best thing I've ever done for my climbing improvement.
Jana + Xian
"pain free for the first time in over 15 years!!!"
I’ve suffered with back problems and pains for 15 years… I’d started to believe that this was going to be my lot. 6 months ago it got a lot worse. I was in huge amounts of pain and could barely get out of bed… From the very start my rehab exercises were tailored towards my injury and my goals… The exercises felt practical, relevant and pain free, giving me the motivation I needed… Ross’s holistic approach made me reassess and improve other aspects too, like food, sleep and rest, which really made a difference…Within weeks I felt the benefits, I was healing physically faster, and could handle more challenging training… I was also surprised at the improvement in my emotional state which really helped me with the recovery. In just a few months with Ross’ help and guidance I have overcome not only my acute injury but also feel stronger and completely pain free for the first time in over 15 years!!! Not to mention I completed my studies and am back climbing now stronger than ever!
Hannah + Ross
“I’ve never climbed so strong!”
I came to Ross 6 weeks before a climbing trip to Kalymnos, with a shoulder that hurt and pinched when I lifted my arm above 30 degrees, often called a shoulder impingement and was ready to give up on climbing at all during the trip. Thanks to Ross’s positive attitude, holistic approach and a movement training programme designed specifically for me, I was climbing again within 5 weeks, had an epic trip, and was able to push my onsight grade. He analyses your movement, finds the source of injuries and creates a programme that focusses on weaknesses to align and strengthen the whole body, to solve the injury and make it less likely to reoccur. Even if you’re not currently injured, pay him a visit before an imbalance turns into an injury, I’ve never climbed so strong!”
Selina + Ross
"I now actually enjoy overhangs"
I've been having sessions with Xian for most of this year and it's been the best decision I've made for my climbing. Xian is a great instructor who's helped me greatly with technique (I now actually enjoy overhangs), my confidence with dynos, some prehab and rehab for some small injuries collected this year and getting into the zone before a hard move. I've read a lot of random climbing books but training with Xian has actually translated the theory into practice and also highlighted ways to be more efficient which I would not have been able to spot myself. Looking forward to preparing for more projects/trips!
Sonia + Xian
"I ticked my first and second f7A plus a handful of 6Cs”
My time climbing was characterised by sore shoulders and a recurrent shoulder impingement type niggle.  This meant weeks off climbing at times and certain moves I would totally avoid due to pain… When I went to see Ross, we looked deeper into my injuries and tested my whole body to discover patterns of weakness and strength. The initial phases were about building solid foundations. The exercises were fun and for the most part could be done at home or down the wall with minimal kit. I could finally train well, we added a tonne of strength, like going from 0 pull ups to doing 4 solid, and as a result, during a recent bouldering trip to Switzerland, I ticked my first and second f7A plus a handful of 6Cs, the hardest grade boulders I’ve ever sent so far.
Gabby + Ross
"without doubt is one of the best"
I took my first lesson with Xian in January, over the past five months I’ve seen my climbing massively improve. She’s really attentive and structures the session to my needs. Her attention to detail and the way she breaks down the moves and body positions is very affective and has help me a lot. At the end of each lesson we reflect on what we’ve been over. Xian without doubt is one of the best instructor I’ve ever met.
Ina + Xian
"my very first v3 roof route!"
Xian is an encouraging and supportive coach and teacher. She got me through post-shoulder injury as a Pilates teacher, helping me recognise my weak areas and engage the right areas. Since recovering from my shoulder injury Xian has been coaching me in climbing and I've recently climbed my very first v3 roof route! She holds a wealth of knowledge on climbing technique and makes any problem achievable. I can't recommend her enough! My climbing has improved greatly, my shoulders are engaging in a way that they have never done before, and we have a great time!
Diane + Xian
"really well thought out explanations for climbing technique"
Xian is really positive and encouraging and sessions are always a lot of fun. You can tell she is very passionate about coaching and I feel like she’s really invested in my progress. Her feedback is invaluable and she has really well thought out explanations for climbing technique which are easy to follow. She’s also helped me loads with recovering from various injuries and preventing further ones. I recommend Xian 100% 👍🏻
Andy + Xian
“I’m now pushing through harder climbing moves without worrying”
“My shoulder had been bugging me for some time. It was getting progressively worse the more I was pulling on… It took a few months to really start being strong enough to take on the higher grades I had in mind, but incredibly I noticed improvements in my shoulder by the end of the first month, less pain and feeling way more solid! The added bonus was my achy back, which I had thought was just the way it is, was way less achy too! The best thing is I’m now pushing through harder climbing moves without worrying about my shoulder anymore.…I was blown away at how much variety and more enjoyable training can be.
Caroline + Ross
"injury-free within three months”
Xian is a very good climbing coach. She wrote me a training plan around four years ago when I was recovering from a finger injury. I had taken 18 months off climbing and still hadn't shaken the injury. The training plan led me to be injury-free within three months and I improved a lot as a climber after following Xian's plan. I think this was because: 1. Although Xian isn't a physio, she seemed to be very interested in reading about injuries, so she knew exactly how to rehab a persistent finger injury.
2. Xian watched me climbing for around an hour, and observed things about my climbing which no one had told me about before. She was clearly very analytical and observant. She then addressed my weaknesses in the training plan.
3. She is enthusiastic and friendly, which helps greatly when working with a coach. Overall, I could not recommend Xian more highly!
Patrick + Xian
“my climbing has improved so much”
Xian is an incredible coach! Under her guidance, my climbing has improved so much (from struggling on basic ladder style routes to doing more advanced incline routes). She spend the time initially to learn about my strength, weakness and understand my goals. She then set out a personalised training plan to help me achieve my goals in stages. Xian has taught me many climbing techniques, route reading and body positioning awareness. Furthermore she was able to give me various exercises and climbing games which helps me build strength and improve mobility. Finally Xian is able to support me and help me get over my fear of height during climbing. I thoroughly enjoy Xian’s lessons and I would highly recommend her!
Ellen + Xian
"my shoulders and elbows feel better than ever"
I've suffered with elbow tendinitis and shoulders issues for the past 2 years. Climbing and even everyday tasks like washing my face would be something I dreaded due to the constant fear of pain and not being able to push my grade. After working with Ross to address these issues, I am now climbing pain free! This is all down to Ross's holistic approach, targeting not just my injuries, but their actual root causes. Focusing now on general strength training, my shoulders and elbows feel better than ever. I can try stronger, bigger moves, try harder and not have to worry about the niggling voice in the back of my head holding me back. P.S. The unintended benefit of being able to carry my pad without breaking a sweat or even multiple pads, makes long walks in a breeze!
Justin + Ross
“my confidence as a climber has grown”
I've attended group and individual climbing sessions with Xian and can't recommend her services enough! She is a brilliant coach; her sessions are fun, informative, and focused on helping you achieve your goals. Since having regular lessons with her, I've seen massive improvements in my technique and my confidence as a climber has grown as a result. Xian is awesome!
Joseph + Xian
"my first 7a outdoors”
I was hesitating to take coaching lessons for a while when I saw that Xian was offering 1:1 lessons. I am so glad I decided to go for it. Immediately she was able to assess my strength and weakness and gave personalised advice to improve my technique. Soon enough, I have managed to climb my first 7a outdoors. Xian is amazing at making everything fun to try and has excellent comprehension of climbing movement. She also helped me to work on my head game and trying harder climbs. She is also full of good advice when it comes to injuries & niggles.
Louise + Xian