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Twist Lock and hips close to the wall.
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By AloneAbalone
Dec 19, 2009

Hi,

A couple of dumb questions, if you don't mind... training is going very well the last 5 weeks. My friend came with me for the first time and had some comments regarding progress. Specifically regarding steep routes we did and twist lock as well as hips close to the wall. Made me think of a couple of questions that you may be able to help me out with:

a) When using a twist lock exactly how far should you twist and lock? My friend commented that I did indeed twist and lock but not near enough to a proper lock off point. When I subsequently exaggerated the movement (for example, twisting and locking to my right) I found that my whole torso was significantly rotated and the lock off seemed a lot more firm and secure - I could almost just hang to chose the hold I went for. The question: how far do others twist and lock off and is it correct to exaggerate the twist to get a more complete twist and lock off?

b) Climbing face on and not twist locking or back stepping (so on a less vertical route) my friend commented that I could still get my hips close to the wall on moves to save energy. Is there an easy way to explain how to do this?

All in all my friend was quite surprised with my improvement over the last 5 weeks of solid training - which was nice!

Many thanks, Graeme.


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Dec 19, 2009
Stabby

The lock-off is THE basic cornerstone of climbing at an advanced level, say 5.10 and up. All things we refer to in training posts revolve around the ability to perform a lock off. The lower you can hold and sustain a lock off means the higher the next hold is that you can reach.
Improving your footwork means improving your lock offs. As does fingerboard training, bouldering, frequency and repitition of your training.

Holding your hips in close to wall facilitates lower and longer lock offs. By longer I mean a mere fraction of a second longer if that is all that's necessary to hit the next hold. The ability to hold your hips in is directly proportional to how fit you are, especially your core.

The side-lock is merely a form of mechanical advantage. Think of how you draw a bow and arrow. On vertical and steeper terrain, the mechanical advantage allows for, once again, longer and lower lock offs. Whether you put the outside foot in front or backstep is situational in relation to where your next hold is.

Acquiring lock off strength is best achieved by frequency of climbing. If you go to rock gyms or out bouldering, be cognizant of building your lock off strength by exaggerating the length and positions of your locks. You are also ready to start reading through the various archives we have here in the Training Forum, which should open up a lot of resources for you to explore.


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By AloneAbalone
Dec 19, 2009

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your answer. Question: What do you mean by 'lower' with referral to the lock off?

Thanks, Graeme.


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Dec 19, 2009
Stabby

Imagine you are clinging to a wall that is, say, overhanging 10%.
The easiest lock off to sustain would be with your hands at chest level, since at that angle your bicep and ligaments are pretty much aligned for maximum tension. Assuming this lock off will allow you to bring one foot up, you can make a reach up probably to a hold within 20-30" above where you are at.

Now visualize one arm holding a lock off down at your hips. By placing your foot nearer to that hand, you have extended the distance your other arm can reach, maybe by another 10". On more difficult routes, this sort of thing becomes more and more mandatory. The closer you can compress your feet up to your hands, the longer the reaches you can make. When you incorporate a side-lock, the mechanical advantage makes this easier. Just as important as developing lock off techniques and strength is learning to be efficient with them, to only use the minimum force needed to crank the move. You only have so many, if your muscles fail before you hit the anchors you do not succeed.


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By AloneAbalone
Dec 19, 2009

Mike Lane wrote:
Imagine you are clinging to a wall that is, say, overhanging 10%. The easiest lock off to sustain would be with your hands at chest level, since at that angle your bicep and ligaments are pretty much aligned for maximum tension. Assuming this lock off will allow you to bring one foot up, you can make a reach up probably to a hold within 20-30" above where you are at. Now visualize one arm holding a lock off down at your hips. By placing your foot nearer to that hand, you have extended the distance your other arm can reach, maybe by another 10". On more difficult routes, this sort of thing becomes more and more mandatory. The closer you can compress your feet up to your hands, the longer the reaches you can make. When you incorporate a side-lock, the mechanical advantage makes this easier. Just as important as developing lock off techniques and strength is learning to be efficient with them, to only use the minimum force needed to crank the move. You only have so many, if your muscles fail before you hit the anchors you do not succeed.


That's pretty good information Mike, thanks!

My twist lock/lock off is certainly improving over the last five weeks and I see significant reduction in muscling for a move - its certainly becoming smoother and also extremely less strenuous. What's interesting today is that I perhaps twisted my torso further to the right (lock off on the right with right hand on hold, reaching up with left) that I normally do. It seemed to help the torque and take more strain/weight off my right arm that was perhaps 90% locked off ... perhaps that exaggeration really made a difference...

What's REALLY interesting is that I am now looking at the 5.9s that I want to climb in a completely different light recently. I'm focusing away from strength and more on footwork and getting weight off my arms. Psychologically my brain is telling me that a 5.9 can be climbed elegantly and with ease if the footwork/technique is correct. I suddenly see its not about strength or body weight (i.e. too much).

Cheers, Graeme.


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By AloneAbalone
Jan 19, 2010

Hi.

Not certain if anyone is interested in this, but I thought I would post my recent activity on the forum:

A friend who I sometimes climb with has seen a significant improvement in climbing efficiency and movement since I have been training. I am even climbing the gym roof (which is super-steep) which I never even thought I would be capable of. Sure its juggy, but in order to climb across it you certainly need good technique.

I led my first gym 5.10d clean last weekend. This took strong fingers but more significantly good technique, body tension, and movement.

My focus is really on traversing and bouldering and keeping quiet feet and good form when I don't have a climbing partner. Repeat and repeat and repeat.

Also I have found that really thinking about what I do is significant. Thinking about hand placements and particularly (quiet) foot placements has really helped hone the skills.

Not sure what this will do for my outside climbing, but it can't hurt!

Keep climbing guys - it CAN get better!

Sincerely, Graeme.


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By twistlock
Dec 25, 2012

Great thread. Wish there were more videos on this technique.

Thanks for the advice!


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