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Body tension movement/training
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By mission
Feb 29, 2012

I'm looking for tips on how to climb problems that rely on body tension, such as when you start under a severe overhang with marginal, not very positive hands and some okay feet. The obvious solution is to press out with your legs in order to turn the non-positive hands into a sort of lieback, but I get completely shut down by this kind of move, failing to get my hips more than even a few inches off the ground, mostly because it seems like my hands are popping off the starting hold before they get a chance to become positive.

I don't believe that this is a result of core strength deficiencies. Finger strength is a definite weakness for me; is this the likely culprit or is there a common technique mistake for this type of move? For reference, this is for V4-5 problems, which are hard for me even when they cater to my strengths.


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By Crag Dweller
From New York, NY
Feb 29, 2012
My navigator keeps me from getting lost

That's a question that has probably a million different answers, each one correct for a million different scenarios. You may have better luck getting suggestions if you specify a problem or describe a set of moves that you're talking about. Even then, it may be hard for anyone who's not familiar with the problem to offer much input.


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By JohnWesely
From Red River Gorge
Feb 29, 2012
Gunking

Seek out moves that cause you to cut feet. Work on doing those moves without cutting feet.


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By JCM
From Henderson, NV
Feb 29, 2012

Focus on twisting and turning; backsteps and drop knees to suck your hips into the wall. May or may not improve your situation, but I feel like this is the biggest thing to get used to when learning how to climb steep rock; keeping your hips square to the wall works on vertical terrain, but not on steep rock.

Another good piece of general advice is to spend time on these sorts of problems with a climber who has better technique. Watch what they do on the problem, and then try to imitate. Get them to watch what you are doing on the same problems and pick out what it is that you are doing different/wrong. Talk about it, and ask for honest criticism of your technique.

Thirdly, practice these techniques on climbs that are challenging but not desperate. If you are trying at your absolute limit, it is hard to work on learning the proper technique; you are just doing everything you can to get up the thing. When you do manage to succeed on a hard problem, it is often hard to remember exactly what it was that made that particular burn successful. In order to perfect your technique, it seems like it can help to dial back the difficulty by a few grades and focus on doing every move perfectly. Climb the same problem several time, and try to do it more smoothly/efficiently each time. Then, when you do try harder problems, try to climb with the same level of smoothness.


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By shotwell
Feb 29, 2012

JohnWesely wrote:
Seek out moves that cause you to cut feet. Work on doing those moves without cutting feet.


Pretty sure this is the best 'movement skill' tip in the world.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Feb 29, 2012

mission wrote:
I don't believe that this is a result of core strength deficiencies.



Why do you have that belief? Most people don't even know how to train for core strength. They do high rep (i.e. >10, often 20-50 reps) exercises with bodyweight and think they're training strength. Ask around among the people who say they train core, you'll hear alot about crunches or pilates or yoga, but rarely deadlifts, levers, hanging leg lifts with ankle weights, or freehanging inverted situps wearing a weight vest.

For the younger folks who have trained in the gym for a while and are climbing around your level, I rarely see one (in my gym, anyway) who couldn't benefit from some supplemental core strength work. Most of them have pretty good footwork, strong fingers, and good hip and torso flexibility. They don't always have good core, or good route reading abilitites.

You ask if there is a technique mistake. It's mostly a mental thing where you really have to consciously try to tense your core for the move and hold the tension. MacCleod addresses this pretty well, the natural inclination is for your body to seek an up and down orientation in space, so really toeing into the holds on steep terrain and keeping a tight core requires you to overcome your body's natural desire to be upright.


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By Finn the Human
From The Land of Ooo
Feb 29, 2012
Mathematical!

mission wrote:
I get completely shut down by this kind of move, failing to get my hips more than even a few inches off the ground, mostly because it seems like my hands are popping off the starting hold before they get a chance to become positive. I don't believe that this is a result of core strength deficiencies. Finger strength is a definite weakness for me; is this the likely culprit or is there a common technique mistake for this type of move? For reference, this is for V4-5 problems, which are hard for me even when they cater to my strengths.


Are you just starting to climb very overhanging problems? If so, you should just expect to get shut down for a while. Climbing in the cave is very different from climbing less steep problems.

You say it isn't due to lack of core strength but this sounds exactly like a weak core to me. If you can't get your hips off the ground in order to make the holds more positive, then it's probably core strength. Aside from core exercises, just climb more. That'll strengthen your grip up.


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By mission
Mar 1, 2012

Will S wrote:
Why do you have that belief? Most people don't even know how to train for core strength. They do high rep (i.e. >10, often 20-50 reps) exercises with bodyweight and think they're training strength. Ask around among the people who say they train core, you'll hear alot about crunches or pilates or yoga, but rarely deadlifts, levers, hanging leg lifts with ankle weights, or freehanging inverted situps wearing a weight vest. For the younger folks who have trained in the gym for a while and are climbing around your level, I rarely see one (in my gym, anyway) who couldn't benefit from some supplemental core strength work. Most of them have pretty good footwork, strong fingers, and good hip and torso flexibility. They don't always have good core, or good route reading abilitites. You ask if there is a technique mistake. It's mostly a mental thing where you really have to consciously try to tense your core for the move and hold the tension. MacCleod addresses this pretty well, the natural inclination is for your body to seek an up and down orientation in space, so really toeing into the holds on steep terrain and keeping a tight core requires you to overcome your body's natural desire to be upright.


Thanks to all for the prompt replies. Lower-rep core exercises seem like a good prescription. I posted because the answer to my question didn't seem to be in The Self-Coached Climber, which is usually the default suggestion for technique. What's the MacCleod source you reference, 9 Out of 10 Mistakes?


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By mission
Mar 1, 2012

Taylor Ogden wrote:
Are you just starting to climb very overhanging problems? If so, you should just expect to get shut down for a while. Climbing in the cave is very different from climbing less steep problems. You say it isn't due to lack of core strength but this sounds exactly like a weak core to me. If you can't get your hips off the ground in order to make the holds more positive, then it's probably core strength. Aside from core exercises, just climb more. That'll strengthen your grip up.


I actually climb very overhanging problems almost exclusively, but since I am typically sending easy 4s and down, that means I normally get, if not good, then at least positive holds. As you can see from my above post, I plan to follow the advice of you and others to try more core training.


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By Ashley A
From Salt Lake City
Mar 1, 2012

This book is great. I found it looking for the same type of training. It gives you the training but also talks specifically how it applies to climbing everything from slabs to overhangs.

michellehurni.com/


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By Greg Twombly
From Conifer, CO
Mar 1, 2012
Edge of Time, Jurassic Park

Work boulder problems that need core skills. Problems in Morrison like the opening move on Helicopter needs a right toe hook to make the left hand sloper work; 3rd move up Cytogrinder needs the left knee scum/bar to make the right hand sloper work; a little backstep dropknee makes Brashears much easier and static. If you cant get the whole problem just try the core moves.

Where do you usually boulder? Most areas have these kinds of core dependent problems, and I'm sure this forum would suggest problems in your area.


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By Noah Doherty
From Nashua, NH
Mar 13, 2012

This is also contact strength. Try yelling out to tighten your core and you will find it works. I was working a v7 overhang and was dropping right off. My coach gave me this tip. It works great. Test it out on a door frame. Pull up on one side and try to hit the other and stick it.


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By boulderbum
From NY
Jul 13, 2012

^LMFAOOOO @ that entire post


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By Edward_
Jul 25, 2012

Something I like to try, on a system board I find the 2 shittiest feet I can find, then try and use as many far away holds as I can (i.e. max wingspan). Then start making the system board more and more overhung and repeat - crappiest footholds you can find, use the holds at your max wingspan (prefer shitty holds).


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By Rock Warrior Films
Jul 26, 2012

Try to keep your feet on and that will do you good. The best climbers in the world train by climbing...


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