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joemac3


Jul 29, 2011, 4:26 PM
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Smooth moves
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I am new to this site but not to climbing. I was wondering the best way to achieve smoothness in my moves. I have seen myself climb and notice all my moves tend to look forced, like I am throwing to each hold and using strength not finesse to make my moves. It becomes very obvious when climbing with people who look more like they flow up the route rather than throw to each hold.

So any advice, things to practice, etc.?


petsfed


Jul 29, 2011, 5:02 PM
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Start by insisting on 3-points of contact at all times. Its very limiting, so its just a training exercise, but it allows you to feel in balance and in control. While in balance and in control, find the limits of each stance. Move your center of gravity left and right, forward and back, until you are about to fall over. Find out how far you can let your body hang in any given direction from each position.

Next, focus on making twice as many foot movements as hand movements. For every one time you move your hand, you must move both feet. While you're doing this, pretend that you have glue on your hands and feet so that where ever you touch your hand or foot to the hold first, that's where it stays. With the glued hands/quiet feet drill, the key is to slow down, look ahead, and watch your hand or foot go all the way to where you want it to go.

Once you've got that dialed, go back to one-to-one hand and foot movements, but again, before you can move your other hand, you must move one of your feet.

Finally (and this is the one that really sealed it for me), force yourself to use same-side-in climbing. That is, figure out which arm you want to reach with, and before you do, rotate your entire body so that the hip on that side is touching the wall before, during, and after the reach. So if you reach with your right arm for a hold, you must position your body so that your right hip is touching the wall during the move. As you get better, you don't have to touch the wall with your hip anymore, but after a long enough time, the hip rotation, which is the core of smoothness, will feel natural.

All of these are taken from The Self Coached Climber which will lay out these exercises in much greater detail.


Bogey__6


Jul 29, 2011, 5:48 PM
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Climb top roped blindfolded. Then repeat the route without the blind fold. If you still feel rough climb it twice blind. It will come to you.


Partner abe_ascends


Jul 29, 2011, 6:00 PM
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Re: [joemac3] Smooth moves [In reply to]
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joemac3 wrote:
I am new to this site but not to climbing. I was wondering the best way to achieve smoothness in my moves. I have seen myself climb and notice all my moves tend to look forced, like I am throwing to each hold and using strength not finesse to make my moves. It becomes very obvious when climbing with people who look more like they flow up the route rather than throw to each hold.

So any advice, things to practice, etc.?

An exercise called "Silent feet," also noted in the Self Coached Climber. Focus on the upward and downward movement of the legs, taking care not to make a sound from the foot touching the hold.


ceebo


Aug 2, 2011, 3:20 PM
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Start off with traversing, every time you move a hand keep it off the wall for 5 seconds. At the same time, try to keep your chest, hips and face within 2 inches of the wall.

Just try it ^^.


jbro_135


Aug 2, 2011, 5:44 PM
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How are you supposed to turn properly with your body glued to the wall? Climbing like that doesn't even seem physically possible...


ghisino


Aug 3, 2011, 3:53 AM
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+1 on the "same side" thing explained above, and on the foot moves thing.

I'm not the biggest fan of the "3 points of contact" all the time, especially since most people assume that the 2 lower points should be actual footholds.
Imho engrains a very bad habit, since above a certain level, on 90% of your moves the easier and smoothest option is using only one foothold and pushing into the wall with the other foot.

(brief paragraph on the subject midway in this blog from dave mac leod http://onlineclimbingcoach.blogspot.com/...chnique-classes.html)



But then more generally

-consider the amount of time you spend on routes/boulders that ffeel easy.
If it's not a lot, just doing more of it might be a solution.

two drills for when you climb easy stuff :

-continuous movement. You can climb slowly, but you can't stop. At any time, at least one of your limbs should be moving.

- try to deliberately push your tempo to the two extremes.
I find that climbing very slowly (but with continuous speed throughout the move, sloth-like) makes you a bit more aware of the "least resistance" path.
On the other hand, speeding through the moves develops your coordination and your ability to use momentum and cut off any superflous move.
Tricky bit : you don't have to climb at your absolute maximum speed, but at the maximum speed at which your technique doesn't deteriorate.


petsfed


Aug 3, 2011, 6:55 AM
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jbro_135 wrote:
How are you supposed to turn properly with your body glued to the wall? Climbing like that doesn't even seem physically possible...
Only certain parts of the body. Try it then judge it. Also, the point is to keep your hand or foot in the same spot on the hold. If you don't need that extra contact point, then don't put your hand or foot on a hold.

As for the three points, its only really useful for finding your balance. A lot of non-smooth climbing comes from a poor awareness of balance.


spikeddem


Aug 3, 2011, 8:50 AM
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Re: [petsfed] Smooth moves [In reply to]
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petsfed wrote:
jbro_135 wrote:
How are you supposed to turn properly with your body glued to the wall? Climbing like that doesn't even seem physically possible...
Only certain parts of the body. Try it then judge it. Also, the point is to keep your hand or foot in the same spot on the hold. If you don't need that extra contact point, then don't put your hand or foot on a hold.

As for the three points, its only really useful for finding your balance. A lot of non-smooth climbing comes from a poor awareness of balance.

Jbro was responding to ceebo's "two inch" comment, not your comment.


jbro_135


Aug 3, 2011, 1:02 PM
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Re: [petsfed] Smooth moves [In reply to]
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petsfed wrote:
jbro_135 wrote:
How are you supposed to turn properly with your body glued to the wall? Climbing like that doesn't even seem physically possible...
Only certain parts of the body. Try it then judge it. Also, the point is to keep your hand or foot in the same spot on the hold. If you don't need that extra contact point, then don't put your hand or foot on a hold.

As for the three points, its only really useful for finding your balance. A lot of non-smooth climbing comes from a poor awareness of balance.


Yeah I was responding to ceebo, your post was basically the advice I would have given if you hadn't already, I gave you 5 stars sir.


ceebo


Aug 4, 2011, 2:00 PM
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jbro_135 wrote:
How are you supposed to turn properly with your body glued to the wall? Climbing like that doesn't even seem physically possible...

Its possible, just not straight forward.


sspssp


Aug 4, 2011, 3:09 PM
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Climb easy routes and focus on climbing smoothly until you can climb smoothly without having to focus on it.

Then keep upping the difficultly.


damienclimber


Aug 4, 2011, 3:20 PM
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sspssp wrote:
Climb easy routes and focus on climbing smoothly until you can climb smoothly without having to focus on it.

Then keep upping the difficultly.

Keep reminding yourself to style,
Re-climb routes -muscle memory


joemac3


Aug 4, 2011, 4:38 PM
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Thank you guys for the tips. I can't wait to start working on being smooth.


petsfed


Aug 4, 2011, 6:11 PM
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Re: [ceebo] Smooth moves [In reply to]
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ceebo wrote:
jbro_135 wrote:
How are you supposed to turn properly with your body glued to the wall? Climbing like that doesn't even seem physically possible...

Its possible, just not straight forward.

Also, terrible advice.

Bring your hips into the wall while you're pushing off your feet, but otherwise, see what the situation dictates.

Sometimes, keeping your body close to the wall can really help keep your weight over your feet, or make the hand holds better. Sometimes, it interferes with your ability to see the holds, let alone get your feet onto them.

Try a high step while keeping your hips close to the wall. After the 20th or so time you fail at the move, you'll see the problem.


ceebo


Aug 5, 2011, 10:10 AM
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Re: [petsfed] Smooth moves [In reply to]
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petsfed wrote:
ceebo wrote:
jbro_135 wrote:
How are you supposed to turn properly with your body glued to the wall? Climbing like that doesn't even seem physically possible...

Its possible, just not straight forward.

Also, terrible advice.

Bring your hips into the wall while you're pushing off your feet, but otherwise, see what the situation dictates.

Sometimes, keeping your body close to the wall can really help keep your weight over your feet, or make the hand holds better. Sometimes, it interferes with your ability to see the holds, let alone get your feet onto them.

Try a high step while keeping your hips close to the wall. After the 20th or so time you fail at the move, you'll see the problem.

You often high step while traversing?. I do not recall saying you MUST keep within 2 inches, i said ''try''. If you did try, you would maybe see why it is not ''bad advice''. You need to have good climbing control to stick that close, oh wait.. what was the op's problem again?.

You say something about dictation of sequence?, on a hard route sure. The word you are looking for in this case of movement training (that engages many more holds) would be ''limitation'' of climbing skill.

Also, a half decent climber would have spotted his foot holds ahead of time, way before they are out of view. People do ok climbing blindfolded, but suddenly.... in your opinion.... they are worse off if they cant see what's directly below them.. even though they seen it coming.


petsfed


Aug 5, 2011, 11:54 AM
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You'd have to be blind to have the kind of non-visual body awareness that allows you to see a microscopic foothold several feet away, then know exactly where it is without looking when it finally comes time to use it, and place your foot there in precisely the right fashion to actually use it, first try.

The only time I've been that automatic about a foothold, I'd worked the route so much that I was moving smoothly regardless.

The "suck your hips in" advice is a lot like the "straight arms" advice: something that works initially, but learning the principles that cause those specific tactics to work in certain situations will be much more useful.


ceebo


Aug 5, 2011, 3:08 PM
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petsfed wrote:
You'd have to be blind to have the kind of non-visual body awareness that allows you to see a microscopic foothold several feet away, then know exactly where it is without looking when it finally comes time to use it, and place your foot there in precisely the right fashion to actually use it, first try.

Why a microscopic foot hold?.. are we talking about ''training'' here or ''performance'' climbing?. I would assume his ''training'' level is not at such where every foothold is microscopic. In fact i would be surprised if 1 out of 10 were.

In reply to:
The only time I've been that automatic about a foothold, I'd worked the route so much that I was moving smoothly regardless.

So since you can't do it, nobody can. Do you like my sig?.

In reply to:
The "suck your hips in" advice is a lot like the "straight arms" advice: something that works initially, but learning the principles that cause those specific tactics to work in certain situations will be much more useful.

No, its nothing like the straight arm advice. Keeping close to the wall requires greater muscle conditioning, and staying close to the wall is far more vital to actual climbing. What is the point of learning how to rest or clip efficiently with straight arms if you can not get up to the rest/bolt in the first place?. Getting their takes muscle, did you know.


petsfed


Aug 5, 2011, 8:48 PM
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Re: [ceebo] Smooth moves [In reply to]
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I even explained how they are similar. I think you stopped reading just before the colon (:).

Watch an experienced climber move their feet. Typically, unless the holds require otherwise, they'll sag down and out, getting their hips away from the wall, then they'll place their feet, then they'll move their hips close to the wall again. Why? Because that way they know that they're putting their feet on the best holds available.

All this stay-close garbage will teach people is to put their feet on the first thing they don't immediately slip off of. Learn to put your feet where you mean to, then move your hips close to the wall to stand up on them, then get your hips away from the wall again so you can see where you need to move next.

Training technique involves more than just doing an exercise. You have to recognize what it is trying to teach you.


ceebo


Aug 6, 2011, 5:41 AM
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petsfed wrote:
I even explained how they are similar. I think you stopped reading just before the colon (:).

Watch an experienced climber move their feet. Typically, unless the holds require otherwise, they'll sag down and out, getting their hips away from the wall, then they'll place their feet, then they'll move their hips close to the wall again. Why? Because that way they know that they're putting their feet on the best holds available.

All this stay-close garbage will teach people is to put their feet on the first thing they don't immediately slip off of. Learn to put your feet where you mean to, then move your hips close to the wall to stand up on them, then get your hips away from the wall again so you can see where you need to move next.

Training technique involves more than just doing an exercise. You have to recognize what it is trying to teach you.

You do not have to sag out to see a foot hold. The only time i see that acceptable is in a high step or a smear.. but both cases have nothing to do with the fact that you could or could not see the hold. I hope i don't have to explain why?.

In every other case it is better to keep hips in and manipulate the torso to get view on the rock, rather than sagging out. The moment your ass is off the wall more than 6 inches you have put 30% (maybe more) extra body weight onto your fingers. That % increases with every inch. If that can be avoided, mostly it can.. then why use such a inefficient technique?. I know why.. because its not hard to learn.. and it does the trick. Doesn't make it right.

Oh and ofc, in dynamic initiation the hips or other parts of the body will obviously have to come off momentarily.


(This post was edited by ceebo on Aug 6, 2011, 5:47 AM)


gunkiemike


Aug 7, 2011, 4:00 PM
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Re: [joemac3] Smooth moves [In reply to]
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joemac3 wrote:
I have seen myself climb and notice all my moves tend to look forced, like I am throwing to each hold and using strength not finesse to make my moves.

You mean like in your avatar pic? That's some pretty sorry body control going on there.

I suspect what you may be missing is the core strength needed to stabilize your body during movement. Work on your core and see what happens.


younggun


Aug 8, 2011, 8:23 AM
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The key to being smooth is a lot of climbing when you are a little tired. When you are fresh, if your a male, you can rely on your strength and just pull hard to execute a move. Once you are tired, you have to rely more on technique as your strength is limited. Bouldering at 60-70% of your limit when tired can help. But, remember you want to be on problems you are completing when tired. If you are so tired that you are falling, go down a grade or two. Once your technique improves, it will help you climb problems at your limit when you are fresh.
In reply to:

Hope this helps.


(This post was edited by younggun on Aug 8, 2011, 8:24 AM)


petsfed


Aug 8, 2011, 8:57 AM
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All right, I'll bite. When I set at the wall this afternoon, I'll try your 6" thing.

Then I'll report back.


johnwesely


Aug 8, 2011, 9:09 AM
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gunkiemike wrote:
joemac3 wrote:
I have seen myself climb and notice all my moves tend to look forced, like I am throwing to each hold and using strength not finesse to make my moves.

You mean like in your avatar pic? That's some pretty sorry body control going on there.

I suspect what you may be missing is the core strength needed to stabilize your body during movement. Work on your core and see what happens.

Work on your core is probably some of the weakest advice I have ever heard. When I sport climb, I like the routes to be really steep, but my core is never my point of failure. However, I can't even complete a single set of any pilates exercise or do more than a few reps on a captains chair. By all measurements, my "core" is fairly weak and has extremely poor endurance, but my feet never cut, even on really steep routes. Climbing strength is far too nebulous to be improved by "core" exercises.


essay


Aug 8, 2011, 9:18 AM
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You want smooth moves? Try Prunes. Or suffering. You need to suffer more before you can even ask this question.

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