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Oriel


Dec 20, 2007, 7:24 PM
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The efficient climber.
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As a beginner (2 months) one of the defining factors of climbing sucess is how little it seems to rely on physical strength.

How did you progress from using brute strength to being a more efficient climber?
Any and all tips and advice welcome.
cheers.


shortandsweet


Dec 20, 2007, 8:44 PM
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Re: [Oriel] The efficient climber. [In reply to]
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In my experience of watching newbies climb, many make the mistake of making dynamic movements (i.e. jumping for holds that are within reaching distance). That seems to be the biggest factor. If you see a hold just out of your reach, don't automatically dyno for it, try different foot positions to try and get that extra inch first. (I'm 5ft and find myself often just out of reach) Watching women climb is also great way to become a smoother climber. I'm not being sexist or anything, but women just have a different sense of balance on the rocks and tend to move more smoothly than men. A training tip you should try is using chips and other smaller holds instead of big jugs. It's easy to crazily jump and catch a jug whereas with smaller hold, you will be forced to think out your move before hand and make a controlled attempt to grab it. Hope that helps!!!


Valarc


Dec 20, 2007, 9:17 PM
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Re: [shortandsweet] The efficient climber. [In reply to]
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I'll leave it to Jay to chime in and offer his opinion on the efficiency of dynamic vs static movement... that's always good for a fun flamewar.

And I'll beat Jay to the punch on one thing... if you want to climb efficiently, buy and study The Self Coached Climber. Watch the DVD, do the exercises, and watch your technique improve by leaps and bounds.


drfelatio


Dec 20, 2007, 9:25 PM
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Re: [Valarc] The efficient climber. [In reply to]
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Valarc wrote:
improve by leaps and bounds.

I thought you said you were going to leave it up to Jay to discuss the efficiency of dynamic movement?


Valarc


Dec 20, 2007, 9:26 PM
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Re: [drfelatio] The efficient climber. [In reply to]
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drfelatio wrote:
Valarc wrote:
improve by leaps and bounds.

I thought you said you were going to leave it up to Jay to discuss the efficiency of dynamic movement?

*rimshot*


drfelatio


Dec 20, 2007, 9:32 PM
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ghisino


Dec 22, 2007, 9:15 AM
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Re: [Oriel] The efficient climber. [In reply to]
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efficient is a big word, oriel. It might mean many different things...a no-foot mov can be efficient in some situations and a complete waste of energy in many others...

but, as you are a beginner, one thing is sure.

make many easy moves , try to get familiar with being on the wall, and focus on climbing as smoothly as possible...arm straight, move your hips and shoulders, "soft" footwork (delicately smear onto holds, don't kick hard on them!!! You shouldn't hear any noise when placing your sole on a foothold...).

in the beginnig, doing too many hard moves will give you bad habits...as a beginner, when you are at your limit you tend to shake, pull desperately with your biceps, try poor dynos, forget what your legs and feet are doing. that isn't efficient, but if you constantly climb at your limit in the beginnings, you develop an habit to to climb everything just like that, you don't learn how it feels to be climbing smoothly...

It is very important that you learn the feeling of "making less effort" first.


Oriel


Dec 23, 2007, 12:13 PM
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Hey thanks for all the tips. I will definatley be puttingthese to use in the gym next time.


bozeclimb


Dec 23, 2007, 12:44 PM
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Re: [Oriel] The efficient climber. [In reply to]
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I would highly recommend that you get a copy of "The Self-Coached Climber," which comes with a DVD. Although it does eventually talk about conditioning, much of the book is focussed on movement, and it has some very helpful exercises to practice in the gym or at the crag.


fluxus


Dec 27, 2007, 11:28 AM
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Oriel wrote:

How did you progress from using brute strength to being a more efficient climber?
Any and all tips and advice welcome.
cheers.

Lots and lots and lots of practice at low to moderate intensity. Spend the majority of your time on climbs you can do without much difficulty and focus your attention on doing them well. Repeat them many times. You are looking for a high volume of high quality practice.

The big no-no is getting on stuff that is too hard, which is very easy to do when one is new to climbing. You need to provide your brain with lots of opportunities to learn. As soon as the moves get above a certain level, the learning slows down dramatically. This actually remains true no matter what level of climber you are but with more experience the threshold gets pushed and you can handle higher levels of difficulty and still be able to learn. As has been pointed out there are a number of activities that you can use to help speed up the learning process in the SCC.


dellochef


Jan 3, 2008, 1:35 AM
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Re: [Oriel] The efficient climber. [In reply to]
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climb a lot or even better, go to a boulder gym. Don't go for too heavy climbs. Give your head time to learn new movements.

I boulder a lot and notice that my repertoire of movement has gone up massively.


jacksdefeat


Jan 3, 2008, 7:32 AM
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dellochef wrote:
I boulder a lot and notice that my repertoire of movement has gone up massively.

i think i've learned the most about movement and body position from bouldering.


iwasasportweenie


Jan 3, 2008, 12:30 PM
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Re: [Oriel] The efficient climber. [In reply to]
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If you have a friend who has been climbing for a while and is a pretty efficient climber, see you can borrow him or her for a few minutes whenever you go climbing together (presumably at the gym). It's easiest to do this with bouldering. Try something that seems hard, but not impossible for you. A big part of learning how to climb efficiently, especially on boulders or in crux sections, is making the right movements part of your muscle memory. A more experienced climber will know when you should have your right foot on a hold and when you should use your left. Or be able to show you how, by moving your hips, you can turn that burly pull-up move into a straight-arm reach. There's room for beta advancement at all levels, so climbing with friends who climb harder than you is a good way to pick up on efficient techniques.


sidepull


Jan 3, 2008, 12:54 PM
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Re: [fluxus] The efficient climber. [In reply to]
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fluxus wrote:
Oriel wrote:

How did you progress from using brute strength to being a more efficient climber?
Any and all tips and advice welcome.
cheers.

Spend the majority of your time on climbs you can do without much difficulty and focus your attention on doing them well. Repeat them many times. You are looking for a high volume of high quality practice.

Read and re-read the quote above. Unlike the the majority of the comments that followed it with semi-lame (read: "vague") advice like "go boulder," you need to be more precise in your training to climb efficiently. So, find problems/routes that you can do and then give yourself the challenge of doing them the best possible way. After each send (because you should be able to complete them) ask yourself: where did I waste energy? did I do that move the optimal way? am I more/less pumped than I was last time? did I enter a state of flow? After reflecting on the route and pinpointing areas of improvement, re-climb it focusing on these areas. Repeat this process. To do this, you're going to need to come to a training session with concrete goals in mind (I'll climb 5 10.b's 4 times each, or I'll climb each v1 until I can do it perfectly.

Finally, realize that gauging efficiency is both subjective and objective. It's subjective because you'll need to pay attention to your balance, energy, and movement. You'll need to gauge details that others would probably miss. It's objective because an observer might be better able to spot the fact that your aren't driving with your hips or that you're moving slower. So, practice analyzing your own movement and getting feedback from observers.


fluxus


Jan 3, 2008, 2:19 PM
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Re: [sidepull] The efficient climber. [In reply to]
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sidepull wrote:
Finally, realize that gauging efficiency is both subjective and objective. It's subjective because you'll need to pay attention to your balance, energy, and movement. You'll need to gauge details that others would probably miss. It's objective because an observer might be better able to spot the fact that your aren't driving with your hips or that you're moving slower. So, practice analyzing your own movement and getting feedback from observers.

Side, I'm glad you are brave enough to go into realms that the rest of us aren't. The idea that efficiency is very difficult to determine in climbing is important to keep in mind. Its probably beyond the OP's experience / ability to actually know if he is being efficient or not. But you post also reminds me of the importance of play. Through experimenting with easy climbing, trying different sequences, or methods or activities, a newer climber can start to have the discussion about what works, what feels right, what feels wrong and why.


shimanilami


Jan 3, 2008, 3:30 PM
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Re: [Oriel] The efficient climber. [In reply to]
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Bouldering, "The Self Coached Climber", aid climbing, gym TR's ... at this point in your climbing career, it's all good. The most important thing is to spend as much time in the vertical realm as you can.

But there is no silver bullet that will suddenly make you a more efficient climber. The environment is too different and the demands too subtle for a coach or a book to convey, especially for someone so new to the sport. You'll need to learn it on your own, through experience, just like the rest of us.

It will take years. Be prepared to be frustrated.

Welcome to the club.


sidepull


Jan 4, 2008, 9:38 AM
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shimanilami wrote:
But there is no silver bullet that will suddenly make you a more efficient climber. The environment is too different and the demands too subtle for a coach or a book to convey, especially for someone so new to the sport. You'll need to learn it on your own, through experience, just like the rest of us.

It will take years. Be prepared to be frustrated.

Welcome to the club.

Agreed, there is no silver bullet. That said, the more you read, the more you climb with others that are better than you, the more you "play" (as fluxus notes above) the quicker you create you more complex mental maps (though patterns, schema, sensemaking frames, "engrams," etc.) or ways of interpretting what you're doing. So, although spending time in the vertical world is good, how you spend that time and what you are able to learn when you're resting can certainly speed your progress. If you agree with that, then the SCC is one of the best places to start - it gives the new (any) climber a precise way of thinking about moving which deepens what is learned by actually doing climbing.


ultraloveninja


Jan 11, 2008, 11:28 AM
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Re: [Oriel] The efficient climber. [In reply to]
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Use.Your.Feet.


hafilax


Jan 11, 2008, 12:00 PM
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I've introduced many of my friends to climbing and have noticed the following pitfalls that all of them have fallen to:

-Footwork: They look away before finishing placing their foot. They spot the foot hold, start moving their foot and then look up. This results in dabbing the foot around looking for the hold and half the time their standing on the arch or some other useless part of the foot. Cure: Watch your foot until it's on the hold.

-Over reaching: They reach way up to that tempting jug only to find that they have to hold all of their weight with their hands to move their feet. In general this is bad but occasionally it can be easier. More of a rule of thumb than anything.

-Bent arms: In general climbing with bent arms will tire you out. This is hard to fix for those just starting because on vertical to less walls you can get more weight over large footholds with bent arms and without having the hand strength yet it can actually be easier. Once the hand strength comes it is generally more efficient to hang with straight arms using more skeleton than muscle to hold you in place. Again a rule of thumb that is learned with experience.

-Fear: This leads to over gripping and a general loss of critical thought processes.

-Getting into unbalanced positions: Another good rule of thumb is to have the foot on the same side as the hand you want to move planted firmly on a foot hold. Again this isn't always true and improves with practice.

Those are the things I try to point out to my friends when I climb with them. Otherwise I let them make mistakes and figure it out as they go. That's one reason why I love climbing so much, the reward of figuring out a problem.


nipper


Jan 11, 2008, 3:42 PM
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Re: [hafilax] The efficient climber. [In reply to]
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I had a few days recently sports climbing in very cold conditions, which I am not used too at all. I quickly found that the only way I could do a route without having to rest and warm my hands was to climb the route quickly , with less resting, less chalking up less resetting my hands. I was climbing doing climbs at my maximum onsight level and found all the routes to be very easy. I quickly realised this is how I should always be climbing. And my sports climbing has improved rapidly through this new found efficency.


fluxus


Jan 11, 2008, 4:02 PM
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two corrections

hafilax wrote:
-Bent arms: In general climbing with bent arms will tire you out. This is hard to fix for those just starting because on vertical to less walls you can get more weight over large footholds with bent arms and without having the hand strength yet it can actually be easier. Once the hand strength comes it is generally more efficient to hang with straight arms using more skeleton than muscle to hold you in place. Again a rule of thumb that is learned with experience.

There is no such thing as "using more skeleton". Also its not the bent arm per se, that is the problem, its the position of the center of gravity. Have a beginner climb with straight arms on a vertical wall and they will frequently end up in a position with their COG farther from the climbing surface than it was with the arms bent, which is in fact worse.


In reply to:
-Getting into unbalanced positions: Another good rule of thumb is to have the foot on the same side as the hand you want to move planted firmly on a foot hold. Again this isn't always true and improves with practice.

Sorry to say but the principle here is completely incorrect. The type and quality of balance found in climbing movement is context dependent. One simply cannot form a general principal as is stated in the quote. Also there is no such thing as an "unbalanced" position. If you are on the rock you are balanced, although the type and quality of said balance can at times be very poor.


vegastradguy


Jan 11, 2008, 4:26 PM
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Re: [fluxus] The efficient climber. [In reply to]
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as a beginner (and a more experienced climber), the number one obstacle to efficient movement is footwork.

forget about everything else and focus on this one thing for a while. once you trust your feet to move you up the rock and keep you on it, you'll worry about your hands and forearm strength alot less.

two good drills for footwork:

do the kiddie slab at your gym with no hands- just palm the wall for balance. repeat until its easy, and then repeat it some more.

traverse the gym. this works both your mind and your feet. it forces you to use your feet as much as possible because hanging on your arms for over 200 feet is not possible. it also forces creatvity because there may not be a dedicated traverse route in your gym.

these two drills essentially took me from being a 5.8 leader outside to a 5.11a leader outside (on gear- i can lead up to .11c on bolts). after that, you'll have enough partners, experience, and knowledge to do the research on what you need to do to excel further.


hafilax


Jan 11, 2008, 4:54 PM
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Re: [fluxus] The efficient climber. [In reply to]
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fluxus: I don't entirely disagree with you but feel may you have misinterpreted my rules of thumb. I tried to emphasize that each isn't always the case but I guess I fell short.

You can often hang with straight arms and bent legs or thrust hips directly over a good foot hold (by turning your body for example) which will be far more restful than standing tall with a bent arm. Even still, I would bet that on a jug I would last longer hanging on with a straight arm than a bent one. Many people can hang from a chin up bar but not do a chin up let alone a lock off. The arboreal apes is the classic example.

As for the unbalanced position rule of thumb. I'm mostly thinking of barn door type movements which often tempt beginners with weird lunging motions that can be avoided if the same side foot is planted firmly. Again, just a rule of thumb. Try climbing a rope ladder moving your right hand with your right foot off.


Myxomatosis


Jan 13, 2008, 1:16 AM
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I found the best training to get more "economical" in your style is to climb something around your onsight ability (so you can red point it) and make it on a slight over hang to add a bit to the pump.

Then start leading it over and over again until you fail, no rests on the rope or the ground but as many rests on the wall as you like....

... or lead up to first clip and then down climb, lead up to 2nd clip then down climb, etc etc until you have reached the last clip, then start going up and unclipping and down climbing.

Usually we make a bit of a competition to see how many laps we can do, you learn quickly from your friends on what holds they use compared to you...


Hennessey


Jan 13, 2008, 7:20 PM
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Re: [Oriel] The efficient climber. [In reply to]
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Practice, Practice, Read "The self-coached climber", Study "The self-coached climber", and Practice a whole shitload more.

I got this book because of lots of reccomendations and it has helped me out greatly. I reccomend to all no matter how experienced you are. It'll teach you new things as well as help you breack some bad habits.

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