Efficient footwork is one of the key skills to be developed in order to get better at climbing. Fitness and strength is required to be a talented climber. But in the course of trying to use upper body strength, one often forgets to focus on another part of the body that is even more important while climbing – feet. A good understanding of footwork, balance, and control is the secret to successful climbing.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind to improve your climbing footwork:
Wear Shoes that Fit Well
Make sure you have the right pair of shoes that are especially meant for climbing. A good pair of climbing shoes will be snug fitting and sensitive enough to give you a feel of the surface with which your feet are in contact while rock climbing. At the same time, your shoes should not be so tight as to hurt you while climbing. Overly tight shoes will be counterproductive as you won’t want to put weight on them due to pain. Especially for beginners, it’s a good idea to pick a pair of climbing shoes with more rigid support under their big toe.
Carefully place your feet and push, not pull, your way up the climb.
No matter how much upper body strength you have, your arms will always be substantially weaker than your legs. Instead of pulling your way up a climb with your arms, push your way up with your legs. This will take careful placement of your feet so that you’re comfortable putting weight on them. Your arms will simply be used to compensate for whatever your legs can’t accomplish. Experts advise climbing techniques that involves pushing more than pulling as the latter can exhaust your energy sooner.
Take Small Steps
Take smaller steps while rock climbing as they are less energy-consuming. Large steps can be intimidating (especially for novice climbers) and can often lead to loss of confidence and concentration while climbing. Large steps also mean you won’t be able to shift as much weight on to your legs, and you’ll have to compensate more with your weaker arms. When a climber takes higher steps, he will not only exhaust his legs but also his arms and the upper body. This will result in tiring all the parts of the body. Small steps will take up less energy and will help maintain confidence.
Learn how to switch feet on footholds
To have a better climbing experience, learn to switch between feet on footholds simultaneously with handwork. This will help you in improving your flexibility while climbing.
Follow these tips along with recommended safety and precautionary measures to enjoy the adrenaline rush while climbing new routes. Remember to practice your footwork techniques to improve them.