Using Your Lower Body for Optimal Climbing
Are you using your lower body to assist with your hands and arms as much as possible when you climb? One of the things that’s immediately obvious when you watch someone good climb is how integrated their footwork, leg movements, and hips are into their climbing.
Beginners usually look just at their hands and what’s in front of them.
Often intermediate climbers look down with a little more care.
Expert climbers actually lead with their feet. They will move into a sequence knowing what they are going to do with their hands, so they position their feet before they get into the hard stuff for optimal assistance.
Knowing this might give you an edge on your next redpoint effort. When you’re pumping in the crux and that solution hold is just 6 inches out of reach, the mistake you made was actually a couple of moves ago. That is, before you got on the tiny, pumpy holds you’re about to fall off of, you should have set your feet up high and on the footholds that would give you that extra bit of reach when you got there. Maybe you should have put them higher when your hands were on the jug below, or maybe you should have set up for the backstep to give yourself some extra reach. Or maybe a little extra pull with your toe, or a shimmy with your hips would have put you into position to reach through.
Your legs and feet are strong. Your forearms will burn out long before them. So efficient climbing shifts as much of the overall work to them during all the moves (even the easy ones) to save your forearms. See our tip “Give Your Feet More Credit!” for an exercise that can help build up your footwork finesse.
Labels: climbing, tips