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cindarella


Sep 15, 2004, 10:10 PM
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What to do...
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hey all

ive been climbing now for a while (mostly at a rock gym) and am struggling to get past the phase where you mostly use your arms to climb and not your legs. i try to make an obvious point (well its obvious to me!) to use my legs more but it just seems to be hopeless! im finding that after the first 3 climbs i cannot do anything tricky coz my arms just wont hold for me. this tells me i need to learn to use my legs more. anyone got some good training tips or ANYTHING! i really want to improve my climbing and this is holding me back... (plus i find it really frustrating not being able to do more than 3 tricky climbs)

cheers guys :shock:


timstich


Sep 15, 2004, 10:34 PM
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In order to use you feet and legs more, make a point to look for footholds. Then when you place your foot on a foothold, press that foot into it. Stiffen your leg to support your body on that foot. Most people I see who have not developed foot technique don't appear to be puting any weight on their feet. They just touch the rock lightly with them, which isn't taking any weight off of your hands and arms.


salamanizer


Sep 15, 2004, 10:35 PM
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Are you flexable? Being flexable really, really, REALLY helps. Sence you stated that you climb in a gym mostly, try traversing for as long as possible as much as possible. This builds endurance and as you begin to tire you will find yourself naturally shifting weight to your legs. Traversing also trains the mind through repetition to recognize and exicute good foot placement. Keep that concious effort to remind yourself to focus on your feet, that cant be a bad thing. Also, feel free to contort your body to gain the best and most natural feel to maintain your balance, (drop knees, heal hooks, knee bars etc...) and keep your arms streight and center of gravity in close to the wall. That all works well for me. Feel free to study the really good climbers movements and pay close attention to how they move. Always stay fluid and under control.


prufrock


Sep 16, 2004, 12:57 AM
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One thing I have always noticed that my wife does is stand on the holds wrong. She comes to a small ledge for her foot -- not tiny, average. Me, I angle my foot slightly, but unless it is really big, I stand on my big toe, slightly on the inside edge. My wife, she twists her foot all the way around so that she is duck-footed, standing on the inside edge of her shoe. She also will fail to commit weight to an iffy foot hold or smear. You can't do that: the less edge you have to stand on, the more force you would like to increase the friction.

As a result of this, she doesn't trust her feet. So she burns out her arms. So I suggest that you really concentrate on foot placement. Before you move your foot, decide what hold it is going to, at what angle, and then practice moving it there the first time exactly right. Imagine your feet as lasers or a doctor's scalpel and really concentrate on precision. Be very deliberate in your foot placements, don't just flail about until something sticks. And most of all think about them. And watch the really good climbers at the gym, and try to mimic them. Drop knees, twisting, maximizing reach by using hand/foot that are on the opposite side of the body.

I read this somewhere years ago, and it helped me, and it seems to be moving my wife in the right direction.


grayrock


Sep 16, 2004, 7:04 AM
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Find a rout with lots of big jugs, like a 5.5 or something. Then clime with only on hand. You have to climb with your feet then. You will esentially be doing a series of dead points, but I believe you will see an improvement in you foot work.

GR


thisguy


Sep 16, 2004, 7:17 AM
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This has been discussed quite a bit, I think, and there are some good training techniques out there. Look around a bit. The only one suggestion I would add is to try and climb with something straight. If your legs are bent and your arms are bent, you are using all your muscles and nothing is relaxing, so you will tire quickly. Instead, try to keep your arms straight as you move your legs up, then straighten your legs to move you up and let them hold your weight as you move your hands. Some people refer to this as putting the weight on your bones. Instead of holding yourself with a bent arm which tires your muscles, hold yourself with a straight arm, which lets your muscles rest a little.

Hope that helps...basically, I think you just need to keep climbing and concentrate on good foot work. The more you do that, the better you'll get and your muscle endurance will come along as well.

Guy


ben87


Sep 16, 2004, 7:20 AM
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also, try climbing very hard slabs, if your gym has any (ie. a climb that is slightly less than vertical and has very small, almost non-existant holds).

you'll be forced to do a lot of footwork. You'll find out how much weight a very small foothold can bear and you'll learn how to shift your weight between footholds gracefully.


ben87


Sep 16, 2004, 7:33 AM
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also, check out the very good book Performance Rockclimbing, by Dale Goddard and Udo Neumann. This is a pretty technical book for people who seriously want to train-- but it's one of the best and will give you TONS of ideas.

Even if you don't end up training super seriously, it will help you understand the physiology of climbing and how to train.

It explains the idea of engrams: your muscle memory retains specific series of movements. The more you climb the more your depth and variety your supply of engrams gets. If your muscle groups can draw on a learned engram when tackling a new hard problem, they can do it more gracefully and efficiently.

Also: strongly consider taking a technique class (your gym probably offers one). You'll learn a lot. Definitly worth it.


Partner jammer


Sep 16, 2004, 7:36 AM
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If there is a wall for kids (5.1 - 5.3), try climbing it without using your hands, more like climbing slabs. When you start to depend on your foot work more, you will notice that when you climb the higher numbers, your foot work will come naturally.


jdouble


Sep 16, 2004, 8:34 AM
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Lots of good advice about footwork above, especially the slab and no-hands recommendations. From your post it sounds like you will benefit from some improved footwork.

You also might want to try the 'grip test' technique if you are not already. When you grab a hold, relax your grip until the hand slips off, then add 1% more grip to just be able to hold it. This will stop you from overgripping if you are, and will give you more energy for those 'tricky' climbs! With practice, eventually you will automatically know how much you need to grip.


alpnclmbr1


Sep 16, 2004, 9:09 AM
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http://www.rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=833160#833160


ben87


Sep 16, 2004, 9:34 AM
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I agree with what jdouble said.

a lot of climbing is about not using more effort than necessary.


justthemaid


Sep 16, 2004, 4:04 PM
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If you can get a friend to take you outdoors, I agree that slab climbing is very good for learning footwork. On many slabs your hands are worthless for anything but balance. It really helped me to stop focusing on my hands so much.


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