Great climbers don’t just try powering their way up walls; instead they “technique” their way up to the top by utilizing a set of moves that have been designed to assist them with attacking particular problems. If you would like to become a better climber, then focus on your movement and technique. The best way to do that is to climb every time you have the chance to do so.
Improving your climbing technique involves learning more about the principles of balance and movement. Then you can focus on perfecting the nuances of various individual movements.
It would be difficult to overstate just how important proper technique is. Whenever you start focusing on technique, your moves will begin to click into place, and you will start to float routines that were too difficult for you in the past. In this section we will be covering the following key concepts:
- Ways of being more efficient
- Ways of maintaining your balance
- Techniques for using your feet
Climbing Techniques: Ways To Use Your Feet
Your feet are the very foundation of climbing. Many beginners attempt to pull themselves up a wall and end up tiring out very quickly. Imagine yourself climbing up a ladder – you use your hands and arms for balance and don’t pull yourself up one step at a time. It is the same thing with climbing.
Basic techniques to use your feet for smearing and edging. Edging is just what it sounds like it is: You step onto a hold with the rubber being on the edge of your shoes. The inside edge can be used, where on smaller holds your big toe provides stability, or the outside edge can be used. Your choice will depend on which direction you need to move to get off or on the hold.
Smearing occurs whenever you do not have a foothold. Therefore you rely on the rubber on your shoe to provide friction against a rock. In slab, climbing smearing can be useful, when you are on a low-angel rock and don’t have a lot of defied footholds available.
When you smear, search for protrusions or small depressions that will provide you with some added friction. For some slightly better purchase, you may also want to flatten the angle out.
When climbing, keep in mind these footwork tactics:
Try keeping your feet directly under you. Watch for footholds that are in good positions, to help you maintain your balance better.
Search for foot placement even more so than handholds.
After you have your foot set, keep it still. That will give you a better chance of being able to stay on the hold while you are making your next move.
Your heel should be kept low in order to have sufficient contact with the wall. Less rubber will be on the rock with a high heel, which will reduce friction and increase the chances that you will lever your foot from the wall when making the next move you need to make.
Climbing Technique: How To Maintain Your Balance
When you are fortunate enough to have a line of jugs that lead straight up to the wall, then climbing is fairly intuitive. Whenever you are on a route where you need to pull and move in different direction, you will need to use your body for maintaining balance.
Whenever you need to use a hold that is out and to the side, you will not be able to pull it straight down. So you will need to find a way of countering the force from that side pull so that you don’t end up losing your balance and barn-dooring off of the wall.
To create counter pressure press your foot in the direction that is opposite of the pull.
With your hooked foot or other hand pull in the other direction.
Use your body weight for counter balance and lean over hard.
Climbing Techniques: Efficient Climbing
Give your muscles a well-deserved break as you are climbing by learning how to use less energy.
You arms are happier when they are straight. When you straighten your arms, it will let your skeleton take on a majority of your weight, instead of your muscles. Even slightly bent elbows will mean that your muscles are the ones that are working to hold them there.
Focus on our hips. Quite often beginners will keep their hips square towards the wall. This can feel quite stable; however, your weight is pushed away from the wall when you do that, and it places stress on your muscles as well.
Try keeping one hip pushed against the wall. That will help to keep your weight above your feet and allow you to lean back while having straight arms.
When your hip is close to the wall, it results in your shoulder being brought closer, and your weight will be over your feet, which lowers the chances of you peeling off. When you have a close shoulder, it changes the angle as well of the pull on the handholds, which makes it easier to grip.
A good climber with climb with his or her eyes. Make sure your eyes are kept on the wall so that you can be on the look out for holds that will allow you to take a brief rest. You don’t want to only focus on chalk marks.
Be sure to use a good rest when you find one. Let your pulse slow down and also shake your arms out, so they don’t end up getting pumped later on.