Tobi Diedler: the impact of climbing on everyday life

WE TALK to Tobi Diedler about how he caught the climbing bug and how it has affected all areas of his life.

Tobias Diedler

Tobi Diedler is a climber who uses the sport to enhance his work and whole perspective on life.

TOBI DIEDLER wasn’t completely taken by climbing on his first visit to a wall. He’d been used to contact sports and felt it couldn’t offer him the release he craved.


However, when he found that through climbing he could immerse himself in nature he soon caught the bug and it wasn’t long before he was climbing at every chance he could get.


Today Tobi is the manager of a climbing gym in Germany and has found he can combine what he learns in the sport with his studies of medicine. Read on to find out how his hobby has affected nearly all areas of his life and hear about the exciting climbing projects he has lined up for the year ahead and beyond.


When did you start climbing and who inspired you to give the sport a go?


I was already obsessed with different kinds of sport disciplines before I got introduced to climbing. When a friend of mine asked me to visit a climbing gym with him in Hamburg (Germany) I was currently into boxing and martial arts and used to a pretty tough and physical training regime. When I didn’t´t feel that climbing allowed me to work my body in a holistic way during my first session – I merely got a forearm pump and wasn’t able to open my shoe laces any more – I was not that psyched. So this isn´t the love at the first sight story.


Climbing became a passion for me with the discovery that climbing wasn’t merely a sport but a lifestyle of which a big part was spending time outside in nature – a connection to the outdoors. This was nearly six years ago when I was currently studying medicine in Lisbon where the climbing community in and around the capital is very welcoming and friendly. When a couple of well-rounded climbers introduced me to lead climbing at the orange limestone cliffs on the Portuguese west coast it clicked. The crag was even right next to the Atlantic with an ocean view.


From that day on I could´t resist the natural and social experience that climbing offers any more. When an obsession kicked in I started to research and train for climbing as scientifically proven and structured as possible – so the physical challenge I enjoy in climbing followed pretty soon as well.



When Tobi found that he could combine his love of nature with climbing he couldn’t get enough of the sport.

What have been your biggest achievements in climbing to date?


I honestly don´t believe that numbers or comparing yourself to others in competitions come along with any long term satisfaction. So I would like to point out two aspects I might as well call achievements. The first one is, that I never met so many like-minded people as within the climbing community. When climbing becomes a lifestyle your close entourage shifts as well. And I am pretty happy and grateful about that fact and about leaving my own ‘chalk-marks’. 


Secondly, climbing allowed me to understand the physical and mental hardware of my body in a practical way. My initial motivation to study medicine was to understand how the physiology, anatomy and biochemistry of the human body work in symphony and found satisfaction in the theory. The question of how to become a complete climber involves many factors, e.g. how to improve the intramuscular coordination of your muscles, how to get and stay mobile in basically all of your joints, how to improve your moto-neuronal development of movement patterns, or how to level your agitation and breathing – just to name a few. Climbing invites you to research those skills in a very playful way. However, if you simply ask yourself, ‘How do I get up this rock and solve this problem with the possibilities my body has to offer right now?’ you´re nearly automatically getting directed to experience yourself as a physical being with advantages and disadvantages in moving efficiently. 


Besides that: Yes, I enjoy competing at national bouldering comps or setting them and I like to test myself outside at climbs that sometimes have quite high numbers. 


But the two biggest achievements that climbing offered me so far are the benefits of the social community and the understanding of a physical approach to move better in general. 


climbing wall

Tobi is currently the manager of a climbing gym in the town he lives in Germany.

Where do you live and what opportunities does it give you to climb on a daily basis?


I’ve lived in Hamburg (Germany) for quite a while now, and I am the manager of the bouldering and yoga / movement gym FLASHH which is one of the best in Germany I´d say. Besides FLASHH there are a lot other high quality climbing and bouldering gym´s in and around Hamburg so I have the opportunity to climb and train on plastic day in day out with the highest standards today. Rock climbing outside and living in Hamburg unfortunately means having to travel for at least a few hours before getting anywhere with a bit of rock. I try to do this as often as my busy schedule allows me to and I try to visit a at least one new climbing area every year.


How much are you currently climbing and what are you training for?


I ‘train’ nearly every day. On four days a week you´ll find me at the bouldering wall and training specifically to become a better climber. The other days include lighter training, especially some mobility work to become more flexible which doesn’t come easy for me as well as active regeneration. My training is normally pretty structured and thought through. Nevertheless, I´m always curious to learn new training methods and techniques and I use trial and error to find out what works best for me. Currently I am very much into watching the training approach of the Japan National Team and reading up on the teaching philosophy on functional anatomy of Dr. Andreo Spina.


My training goals these days are: Opening my shoulders to achieve proper alignment for handstands, a solid OAC on the small Beastmaker edge, becoming a better slab climber and to top a few inspiring outdoor projects that include a lot of finger strength next year. 


What is more, I always have to be in shape to set challenging boulders in different gyms for every skill level all the year round. 


Tobias Diedler


Where in the world has the sport taken you and what have been some of the highlights?


It has taken me to many beautiful places around Europe. One of my favourite places and best memories is one of the more hidden climbing sectors near Portinho da Arrábida. You have to rappel down a cliff around thirty five meters to access the huge, cubistic-like limestone cave right next to the ocean.


Oh, and I just got an invitation to set an IFSC event in Singapore next year!


What advice would you give to aspiring climbers who are inspired by your success and achievements?


The climbing or bouldering gym is a huge playground for grown ups. Make sure your joints, tendons and mindset are prepared before you enter it. Start researching how to become a better “mover” in general and try to practice movement patterns more instead of performing and chasing numbers, grades and tops. Enjoy the coolest and most versatile sport you can currently find and the beautiful places it will take you to!

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