Best Methods to Practice Technique


Original Post
Cody Cox KC · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Just curious of other peoples methods for practicing and improving technique while wall climbing. I flash around 5.10c, I have flashed a few 11a. I find myself ok at the basics of technique but on hard climbs that really test my skills I have too many things happening at once (strength, technique, breathing) I lose track and pump out. My hope is to develop a training plan that allows me to climb much easier routes like 5.8-9 and really practice perfect movements. I just find that theses routes generally require no major skill and I dont gain much from it.

Any tips on getting more out of the easy routes with respect to technique. I just cant climb 5.10c 10 times in one night to practice my skills. Its just too much pump.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

The best way to improve technique is just mileage. But it sounds like you're struggling with endurance. Perhaps focus on keeping your arms straight as much as possible. This gets more difficult to do as the climbing gets harder but usually you can keep at least 1 arm straight and focus on not pulling as much with the arm that is flexed.

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20

Sounds to me you are climbing in a gym.
Find the hardest route you can climb with proper technique.
Go up, down climb using open hands and open feet
Repeat
If the down climb is too easy, look for worse handholds.

Once bored, or not able to climb it, step down difficulty level, climb some more

Ross Ayer · · Southington, CT · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 60

If you can climb stuff on a pretty good slab, then try to climb them without hands. This will force you to work on balance. to fight the pump, try to put in some hangboard and some longer sessions. For technique, I agree totally with Eli: just climb more. Another way to force a recognition of a move is once you put a foot or hand on a hold, do not move it. This forces you to think beforehand of the next few moves. Good luck! Feel free to PM me with any more questions. Climb On!!

Cody Cox KC · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Thanks everyone. I will certainly try your suggestions.

hikingdrew · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 25

Do easier routes but practice until you can do them perfectly, minimize repositions, unnecessary matches, etc. Fluid movement, no hesitation, silent feet and so on. Make it a part of your warmup..

Jon Nelson · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,695

A partner suggested the following to me to improve footwork:

As you climb up on TR, you get to a stance, then you look up for the next holds without moving. Then look down at your feet as you reach 'blindly' for the holds. Move up your feet while looking at them, not at your hands, and then repeat. You never see your hands grabbing a hold, but you are given a chance to see where the handholds are.

It slows down your climbing, but you may find your feet sticking better while doing the exercise. I thought it helped even after I resumed climbing in normal fashion.

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175

climbing friend,

do not waste your time with technique cut your feet and practicing the hangboard, max crushing strength crushing, always crushing. uberklingën grip of power practiced in crack machine. pinchënpüllen grip of crab pincher style practiced on weighted pinch blocks.

you will be the best. do not be afraid.

just follow your heart.

that's what I do.

Sends McGee · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 15

Bouldering perfects technique IMO

Pavel Burov · · Russia · Joined May 2013 · Points: 50

Climb slabs. Outside. Hell lot of easy slabs. Sure, your definition of easy slabs
will drift a lot. Don't try to reach an anchor or clean the route, your goal is confident and precise footwork. If a move feels awkward jump off, lower down a bit and repeat.

Make a dozen or so 4×4×4" cubes and walk on them. Slackline.

Those drills are to improve shifting weight technique.

Do not climb to improve. The goal of climbing is to finish the project. Baaad and disruptive idea when training for climbing. Learn moves, not routes or problems. Improving technique has no finish, route or problem has. Thus climbing has not that much in common with technique training. Do drills, don't climb.

Jack Servedio · · Raleigh,NC · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 30

Like everyone else said - mileage. I love going to the gym at lunch time on a weekday when there are twice as many employees as members, hopping on an autobelay and climbing up and down every route accessible from it without ever weighting the autobelay for about 30 minutes at a time.

I climb up slowly and methodically the first time up each route - stopping after every move to figure out the most efficient move and body positioning. Then I downclimb and do the same for every route accessible from the autobelay. Then, I repeat getting faster and more fluid with every iteration while still maintaining perfect control.

If the autobelays are lacking many routes, add a few routes left and right for the first 2/3 and then traverse over before you are risking a swing. If the autobelays don't have many difficult routes, get creative.

Only do this when the gym is entirely empty or you are going to piss a lot of people off.

Tradgic Yogurt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 55

1. Ask people to watch you climb and give you assessment and feedback. Sometimes you can do part of this yourself, but often times you need someone assessing you independently, even if it's just a partner saying ""Dude, turn your damn hips more".

2. Breathe. Breathe again. It can buy you time to focus the mind when you are getting caught up by too many things at once.

3. Find drills to improve one thing at a time. Focus on just one skill whether it is a warm-up 5.8 or something you're on for funsies.

4. Drop a couple of grades while drilling technique. Don't use your project or routes near your limit. This reduces the number of things to focus on, just like a musician practicing scales separately from working on a concert piece.

5. Steal anything and everything you can from people who are better than you. I improved my footwork this year after watching a pro at a comp earlier. He was so much more efficient at foot placements that I decided I needed to start moving more like that, and it's helped noticeably.

ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 230

Find an area at your gym and do laps up and down of like 4-5 climbs without ever coming off the wall. Climp up one route, down climb a different one, up climb the next etc.

Sean Peter · · IL · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 40

+1 to staying on an easier route- climbing up and back down and back up, etc- for 30-45 min. You'll only be able to do that on routes that are below your limit. Pick a route thats hard enough that it does start to build a bit of a pump - but one that you can find rests on to bring that pump back down again. You'll learn to rest more efficiently, you'll learn to get more efficient on relatively easy moves so that they are even easier (so you pump out less), and you'll get insanely bored if you're NOT spending your brain power getting hyper critical about technique. Most importantly- you will start ingraining the practice of paying attention to technique- and will start to make that a more major focus on harder stuff too.

Matt Himmelstein · · Orange, California · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 115

If you can climb hard 10s and low 11s, there probably is not a lot you can learn or practice on a 5.8/9. Step down into the low 10s, or work on hard 10s that you can flash, but are not really at your limit.

One game I play in the gym is to try and never match on a 5.10 (I climb into the hard 11s in my gym). So I have to figure out ways to get past sections where matching is the intended way to go. I have to use heel and toe hooks, cross overs, use bad holds... It makes me look at sections of the route and plan what I am going to do, since I am not going to let myself match on a jug (feet included).

King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 420

Technique is a mindset that you will climb reading each section and seeing the easiest way to do it, and then executing it smoothly.

Best training for it is in your head. You can mindlessly pull down on w/e on easy routes like any monkey, or you can seek to float it reading the sections and coming up with the most efficient possible way. This will reward you when you try and send projects closer to your limit.

As a (former) course setter I always had a goal in mind to force people to use good technique for the grade, with one particularly distinct way to do the moves that would reward technique. And then with sucker sequences that penalized bad reading/technique.

If the course setting at your gym is done with little regard for such things you can get strong but have no idea how to climb.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549
Cody Cox KC wrote:Just curious of other peoples methods for practicing and improving technique while wall climbing. I flash around 5.10c, I have flashed a few 11a. I find myself ok at the basics of technique but on hard climbs that really test my skills I have too many things happening at once (strength, technique, breathing) I lose track and pump out. My hope is to develop a training plan that allows me to climb much easier routes like 5.8-9 and really practice perfect movements. I just find that theses routes generally require no major skill and I dont gain much from it. Any tips on getting more out of the easy routes with respect to technique. I just cant climb 5.10c 10 times in one night to practice my skills. Its just too much pump.
Not enough information to give focused advice.
Do you have a specific technique that you need to practice?

If so, my ideal progression would be
1) system board to perfect the move (e.g. back step),
2) then vary the feet/hands to make the move harder.
3) Once that's perfected, add a move or two intro to the target move (i.e. the back step.)

If your weakness is movement skill in general, then
1) Bouldering, which allows you to explore subtleties of body position, momentum, etc.

If your movement skills fail due to distraction while on routes, then training depends on the specific cause.

If due to fear of falling, address this via Warrior's Way or Vertical Mind approaches.

If due to poor endurance, then the solution is somewhat controversial.
I would suggest climbing intervals, 3-5 minutes on, 1:1 rest interval, 4- 6 reps as tolerated .

This can be done via up-down-ups, linked bouldering circuits, tread walls, route laps if you don't rest between laps.

Others would suggest ARC training, 20 minutes at a "light pump." Exactly what a light pump is is difficult to say. IMHO, if you are not breathing at least a little hard, the ARC is too easy.

Even if your endurance is great, there will alway be a time when you reach it's limit.
Therefor, you need to stress proof the movement skills developed on the system board or in the bouldering cave.

So add a circuit of the system board before going directly into your practice drop knee.
Or link another bouldering problem into the boulder move you want to practice.

On the wall, do an easier route, then immediately do a target route, focusing strictly on maintaining good technique. Gradually increase the stress preceding the target route by increasing the length or difficulty of the first route.
If that's not practical, you can increase the pre-exhaustion with calisthenics, or hang board, or alley fighting. Your imagination is the limit.

Or you can just climb and have fun and you will almost certainly keep getting better for some time yet.
Konstantin Kamushkin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Does running helps with climbing technique or it's just train durability?

Nivel Egres · · New York, NY · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 130
Konstantin Kamushkin wrote:Does running helps with climbing technique or it's just train durability?
Running would help your climbing about as much as climbing would help your running.
Matt Himmelstein · · Orange, California · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 115

Lock offs are a good training drill. As you do a climb, pause and hover your hand over the next hold and count to 5 before you grab it. This will force a couple of things. 1) you need to have good footwork and balance because if you don't, you are not going to be able to hold the 5 count. 2) it is a good endurance training program. 3) it forces you to think about your moves. Every move is static, so you have to plan to have a solid position. 4) it makes you plan a couple moves in advance. As you move toward a crux, you need to recognize that it is coming and you may want to take a few moments to rest a shake out on good holds before you move up.

Make sure you pause at the end of the move, not the beginning. If you can't hold the position, then you are ready to grab the hold. This is also good practice for leading since you need to use that free hand to clip the rope/place gear.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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