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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.
Climbing is the one of the purest forms of adventure sports. It requires dedication and perseverance, a fit and strong body and a confident and clear mind. Climbers are often advised to use stretching exercises to make their bodies agile and more flexible, and less injury prone. Many climbers swear by Yoga to keep their bodies in shape for climbing. Here are some of the best Yoga poses for climbers.
Plank Pose (Uttihita Chaturanga Dandasana)
This is one of the most basic yet best Yoga poses for climbers. It strengthens your core, which is critical for climbers. Start with the downwards-facing dog pose and press your shoulders forwards. Make sure your wrists and shoulders are parallel and positioned in the same line. Make sure your body is in one flat line from your heels to your head. Also, ensure that your palms are flat on the ground.
Straight Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
This pose helps stretch the hamstrings and the torso. To practice this pose, start by standing straight. Bend forward from your hip drawing your torso out as you exhale. One of the most important Yoga tips is to try to keep your knees straight and feet pressed on the floor while performing the straight forward bend pose. This will help your torso become more flexible.
Butterfly Pose (Badhakonasana)
This is another beneficial pose in Yoga for climbers. It helps in opening up the hips so that one can take higher steps with less effort and greater comfort. This pose involves sitting on a flat surface with feet pressed against each other and knees splayed to resemble a butterfly. Next, try to touch your toes with your chest while maintaining a straight back. To make it easier and more beneficial, try to open your hips as wide as possible by pressing down your elbows on your thighs.
Deep Shoulder Stretch (Parsvottanasana)
The deep shoulder stretch is one of the best Yoga poses to avoid stiffness in one’s shoulders. Begin by taking the plank pose, then gradually bring your body down on your belly and extend your left arm to form a T with your left palm facing down. Then roll the right side of the body off the floor to stretch your shoulders. You can increase the efficiency of this pose by bending your knees and pointing them upwards.
Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
This pose helps climbers improve their balance and makes them better at finding their center. To practice this pose, stand straight with feet apart. Then, lift your right leg and place its sole on the inner thigh of your left leg. Try to balance your body on your left leg while joining your hands over your head. Press your right leg onto your left leg to find the center of your body. Maintain this posture for 5 deep breaths and repeat on the other side.
These Yoga poses help you stretch the various parts of your body. Stretching will help you become more flexible and attain a wider range of movements while climbing.