Improving Your Rock Climbing05.19.15

While in reality “perfect economy” will never be achieved, but it’s in striving for perfection that you achieve excellence. Here are five attributes of highly economic movement to work on every time you touch stone.

Quiet Feet

Quiet foot movements are one of the hallmarks of a climber with great technique. Conversely, feet that regularly pop off footholds or skid on the wall surface are typical of an individual possessing lackluster footwork and poor economy. For many climbers, noisy footwork is just the way they climb—it’s a habit that developed over a long period of time, as well as a flaw in their technique that will prevent them from ever reaching their true potential. Your goal, of course, is to learn to climb with good foot technique even in the toughest times. This means concentrating on each foot placement, keeping your foot steady and firm to the hold, and standing up on the foot with confidence as you proceed smoothly to the next hand- or foothold. Check out the climbing harness reviews
Rhythm and Momentum

Like any dance, climbing should have a natural rhythm that utilizes momentum and inertia. Climbing in a ladderlike motion yields the rhythm step, reach, step, reach. However, a better rhythm for effective movement is often step, step, reach, reach, since it allows the legs to direct and drive the movement. There are obviously many other rhythms, and every unique sequence possesses a best rhythm of movement and, more important, a best use of forward momentum to help propel successive moves. This is especially important on difficult climbs with large spacing between holds. Consider how you use momentum in moving hand-over-hand across monkey bars at a playground, with each movement blending into the next in a perfect continuity of motion. Make this “monkey bar” model of smooth, continuous motion your goal when climbing through strenuous sequences. (Ironically, many climbers do just the opposite, engaging crux sequences in a slow, hesitant way.)

Relax and Climb with Smooth Moves

Smooth, fluid movement is another hallmark of high economy, while stiff, mechanical movement is a sign of poor technique and a high burn- rate of energy. One of the keys to smooth, efficient climbing movement is learning to contract only the muscles necessary for engaging the rock and directing movement (usually these will be the muscles of your forearms, shoulders, abdomen, thighs, and calves). The easiest way to achieve this is to periodically switch your focus to the antagonist muscles and scan for unnecessary tension (in the upper arms, hips and legs, torso, neck, and face) that is making the agonist muscle work harder and burn more energy than need be necessary. Take a few slow, deep belly breaths and visualize the tension escaping the antagonist muscle like air from a balloon—such mental imagery really helps the process. Now return your focus to executing the next climbing movement, but continue alternating your focus back and forth between directing movement and directing relaxation.

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Static Climbing Technique. Static movement is making a move where body position is controlled by muscle movement, rather than by momentum. How you shift your body weight upwards, downwards, left or right as a general rule will help you gain control. Move your body when all four points, both feet and both hands, are planted. Good technique in climbing movement is of it in two parts:1) move limbs, 2) shift body weight; repeat this sequence. In static climbing this two step process is more pronounced, but it applies to dynamic climbing too. As you improve, you will be able to combine the steps into fluid motion. Avoid shifting weight and moving a limb at the same time. Use your arms for balance and your legs to hold your body weight. If your feet make a lot of noise when you climb this indicates you need to improve your static climbing technique. This may be the easiest and best climbing technique tip for there is: Move your hands keeping your body motionless. Listen to the sound your feet make when climbing. Make quiet smooth movements staying directly over your center of balance. Find your foothold visually don’t stab or slide with your feet until you find a hold, then make a deliberate and precise foot placement. Developing good foot placement is essential for improving your climbing technique and balance. Dynamic climbing uses the same principles of balance and movement, but incorporates the “dead point”. check out the chocolate covered cashews for the travel

The Dead Point, Dynamic Climbing Technique. The dead point technique is useful in many climbing situations, helps you develop a smooth graceful characteristic. Use momentum to reach a move that is further than can be reached using a static movement. The movement should be smooth and fluid. In the repertoire of climbing moves, the easiest to learn is the dead point, yet it is one of the most useful for improving dynamic climbing ability. The dead point is done by sensing the top of a parabolic arch while you quickly move weight upward dynamically. The dead point is the point your body changes directions vertically. At the dead point, your hand should be at the top of the arch and at the hold. At this point your upward direction has stopped and you to get a grip on the hold before your weight begins to settle. The best way to learn the dead point is to set up a series of moves on the bouldering wall. They should not be out of reach…these are not dynos. Make the series of holds within reach but which also require extending your body position. Practice over and over, making your body motion stop just at the point where you grab the hold. For dynamic climbing develop your upper body muscles, such as shoulders, arms and forearms, see chin ups.

Speed of Climbing. Some climbers are slow and deliberate and have a static technique. Some climbing fast using a dynamic climbing technique. Both types of climbing can be considered good rock climbing technique. In general, climbing moves that are dynamic and require a lot of upper body, grip and arm strength should be done quickly. Get through the moves quickly to save your upper body, and use the momentum to help place your body mass at the dead point. Moves which are primarily static, with balance centered on body mass, small hand and foot holds should be done slowly, deliberately and carefully using your legs to support your weight, and arms to hold you in place. Again, this is generally the case, but there are many variations to this basic technique. It is more important to adapt your style to make best use of your abilities.

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