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Technique - When to reach up vs. step up
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MaZiYi


Apr 4, 2014, 1:46 PM
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Technique - When to reach up vs. step up
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My question is about technique and the best way to move up a mostly vertical wall. I understand you aren't supposed to pull with your arms up, but I have found myself in two different body positions trying transfer my weight onto the next foot hold.

With my hands about chest high when I stand up straight legged, I can reach up to the next hold and then step up.

When I reach up first, I am close to the wall and not using much energy to stay there. One or both of my arms are fully extended and my legs are straight. But I have trouble once I lift my leg to the next foot hold, generating enough power to stand up on the new foothold (I guess I can't bend one leg to generate power to get my other leg on the next foothold). (If this is the best way, how can I generate enough power to step up?)

Recently I have tried moving my foot up first and then transferring my weight on the new foot hold before I reach my arm up to the hold (even though I could reach it). I am in more of a crouched position this way. I feel like this way, I am pushing myself further from the wall and I require more energy to stay on the wall with my hands. My arms only stay straight if I come off the wall some because my handholds are about chest high. But I can easily get my foot in position and transfer my weight to this new foothold. Then it is real easy for me to stand up and grab the next handhold.

So if you could understand this, what is the best way to move up the wall? Any tips for improving either process would be appreciated!


gunkiemike


Apr 4, 2014, 3:34 PM
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Re: [MaZiYi] Technique - When to reach up vs. step up [In reply to]
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Step up whenever you can; reach up whenever you need to.


Shanna


Apr 5, 2014, 6:42 AM
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Re: [MaZiYi] Technique - When to reach up vs. step up [In reply to]
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There are too many variables. When you are on a climb practice doing moves different ways to see what works best. You figured that out in your op. Climbing is a movement and technique based sport so logging hours of deliberate practice is important for improvement. For example work a problem and practice high stepping, flagging and drop kneeing to see what makes your movement more efficient.


marc801


Apr 5, 2014, 7:23 AM
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Re: [MaZiYi] Technique - When to reach up vs. step up [In reply to]
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MaZiYi wrote:
My question is about technique and the best way to move up a mostly vertical wall. I understand you aren't supposed to pull with your arms up, but I have found myself in two different body positions trying transfer my weight onto the next foot hold.

With my hands about chest high when I stand up straight legged, I can reach up to the next hold and then step up.

When I reach up first, I am close to the wall and not using much energy to stay there. One or both of my arms are fully extended and my legs are straight. But I have trouble once I lift my leg to the next foot hold, generating enough power to stand up on the new foothold (I guess I can't bend one leg to generate power to get my other leg on the next foothold). (If this is the best way, how can I generate enough power to step up?)

Recently I have tried moving my foot up first and then transferring my weight on the new foot hold before I reach my arm up to the hold (even though I could reach it). I am in more of a crouched position this way. I feel like this way, I am pushing myself further from the wall and I require more energy to stay on the wall with my hands. My arms only stay straight if I come off the wall some because my handholds are about chest high. But I can easily get my foot in position and transfer my weight to this new foothold. Then it is real easy for me to stand up and grab the next handhold.

So if you could understand this, what is the best way to move up the wall? Any tips for improving either process would be appreciated!

Watch other climbers. Seriously. Try to find folks who are good climbers and watch them on routes that are near or a little harder than the ones you are climbing and analyze their (assumingly successful) technique. You can actually learn a lot this way when starting out.


lena_chita
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Apr 7, 2014, 8:53 AM
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Re: [MaZiYi] Technique - When to reach up vs. step up [In reply to]
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There is no formula to climbing that tells you to do X in case of Y.

When climbing a route you want to send, do whatever you need to do to climb the route with the least amount of effort.

When training or working a route, experiment with different types of moves and body positions. Often the difference between a move feeling easier or harder is not something so drastic as reaching up first vs. stepping up first. It could be a minute adjustment to the way your foot is placed on the hold, the way your body turns, the way you initiate the move, etc.

Read Self-Coached Climber book to get an idea for various movement exercises, and help you progress. As marc said, watch good climbers, and attempt to replicate the way they make the moves on a route you are working on.


MaZiYi


Apr 7, 2014, 6:15 PM
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Re: [MaZiYi] Technique - When to reach up vs. step up [In reply to]
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Thanks for all the advice! I guess I am very left-brained, so I am trying to put the pieces together. I actually have the self-coached climber book. I guess I need to re-read it again. I know it is different in every situation, but being able to define some movement helps my left brain. Crazy


jb2100


Apr 7, 2014, 7:33 PM
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Re: [MaZiYi] Technique - When to reach up vs. step up [In reply to]
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High stepping tends to require pulling power into a bent armed position, then bent-armed lock-off power, whereas reaching and pulling requires pulling power to get you to the next hold, then straight-armed lock off power. As a general rule of thumb, move your feet as high as you need to in order to comfortably hang onto the next set of holds (straight armed). Like everyone else said it's situation dependent, but if you know what type of power is required for each situation, and you know what type of holds you have available (including footholds) and depending on body position, you should be able to evaluate what you need to do in real time.

Example scenario #1:
You are matched on a big jug, with good feet, the next handhold is a good incut left hand sidepull about two feet above the jug. There is a small edge for your left foot three feet above your current foothold which you could high-step onto. In this case it makes much more sense to high-step, lock off on the jug, pull your weight over the high foot, then reach up to the sidepull for a number of reasons. First, you are holding onto a jug to begin with, so it should be easy to pull up and hold a lock off position. Second, sidepulls are nearly impossible to pull up and lock off on when you are directly underneath them, you ideally want them no higher than your head and no lower than your waist, so in this case it makes sense to already have that foot up high so you can stand up into the sidepull, rather than pulling up into it so you can bring your foot up.

Example scenario #2: You are matched on the same jug, and standing on the same feet as before, this time there is a good incut crimp about 1.5 feet above the jug, and two small footholds about two feet below the jug. In this case, trying to pull up, and lock off on the jug in order to get your feet up would leave you in an extremely scrunched up position, and when you finally got your feet up would require a substantial amount of lock-off power as you reach up for the crimp. In this case it makes more sense to reach one of your hands up the 1.5 feet to the incut crimp, thus increasing the distance between your highest hand and your feet as you move your feet up to the high footholds. This will put you in a much less awkward postion when you finally put your weight onto your feet, than if both hands were still on the jug as you put your weight onto the high feet.

Like everyone else said, the more you climb the more you'll be able to recognize these scenarios yourself. You said you're a left brained person, and all of this is simply a matter of physics. It's all a balancing of forces to counteract the force of gravity which pulls down on your center of gravity. By knowing where your center of gravity is at all times and manipulating the magnitude and direction of the forces which help you counteract gravity (your arms pulling and legs pushing) you can figure out exactly what you need to do in each scenario. Having said that, experience will serve you better than pencil and paper in figuring all this out. Experiment with different ways of tackling a crux and don't stop trying new ways until you've tried every way you can think of. Make this a habit and you'll quickly figure out which ways work consistently, which ways are best saved for awkward sequences, and which ways almost never work. Eventually it'll all just flow.


horseshoe


Apr 12, 2014, 1:58 PM
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Re: [MaZiYi] Technique - When to reach up vs. step up [In reply to]
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In addition to thinking about your arms and legs, remember your torso. This is true even on a vertical wall when moving straight up. Depending on the holds, it may be preferable to lean to the left or right, for example.

As the examples indicate, what you do with your feet/legs often depends on what is available to work with for your hands.


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