If you are reading this it means you have taken it upon yourself to get more information on how to improve your climbing and directly influence your enjoyment of this fantastic sport.
Rock climbing is one of the few sports with no rules. This means you can get out there and enjoy being on rock doing exactly what pleases you, so don’t feel under pressure to do what your peers do or what the local ethics group says you should be doing. Some times it’s because of peers and ethics that some enjoyment is lost or progression is hindered. So take it from me, if you feel like climbing only on plastic that’s great, if you feel like clipping bolts, that’s great too and if you feel like top roping for the rest of your climbing career that’s just fine as well.
Climbing is a balancing act and not just pull ups, so before you get started, get it into you head that you do not have to be built like Arnold and do millions of pull ups, this would be enough to put anyone off! Think about walking up a step ladder, only using one finger from each hand for balance. While taking each step feel where your centre of balance is and how you move this over the foot you want to stand up on before you move up. Try using just one foot and one hand at a time, notice how you will always us the opposite foot/hand combination, left foot/right hand for example. This is how you should be climbing and the more you focus on your feeling of being in balance the more natural and automated it will become. Ever watched a very good climber climbing and how it all looks so easy and under control? Well that is balance.
How long can you hang by your hands?
How long can you stand on you feet?
If you are normal then these two figures should be very different, the later being a lot bigger than the first and if you are wise you climb using your feet, yes O.K. your head too.
Always try to prepare and execute a move through the movement of your feet. Very often one hand movement can result in two or three foot movements. Place your feet until you feel in balance and some times only one foot is required in order to make a graceful, well balanced move. Think about that climbing up a ladder again, you don’t need both feet on the rung at the same time in order to stand up. The balanced flow of moving the body over the foot and standing up while the other foot/hand combination (it is always left hand/right foot or right hand/left foot) moves to the next rung, this is how one should aim to climb.
This is the first of seven training articles