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Rock Climbing Technique - the book is here! (Read 18818 times)

tomtom

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You been cracking walnuts again Shark?

8A buns 7A arms ;)

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As it should be

highrepute

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So I guess in answer to your question the more subtle the improvement required the more you need this book!

This is intriguing, can you give an example?

Butt squeeze

Correct!

Everything. Unless you've perfected technique?

Paul B

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I've not perfected anything in climbing!

I was more interested in hearing something you'd read about which you've been able to put into practice a I imagine it must be hard to implement subtleties in technique from a written explanation?

It reminds me of those old Unclesomebody posts JB (?) perhaps made with an arrow pointing 'heels down'.

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Iíve never been convinced by the heels down thing, never seems to work for me!

petekitso

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I have been climbing for a while but at a consistently low standard & grade. When I first read the book, I was slightly underwhelmed because many of the exercises seemed very obvious.

For me though, actually putting them into practice though has been a revelation. I think the strength of the book is not detailed descriptions of how to improve technique but detailed instructions for simple exercises which cause - at least for me - the climber to notice aspects of movement and balance which he/she may not have focussed on before. Even the really simple ones. Definitely recommended for punters in their 40s . . .

As an aside, not in the book, I know what you mean about heels down. As a poor climber, I often struggle to balance weighting/pressing the area in contact when I am focussing on getting the heels down.

highrepute

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I've not perfected anything in climbing!

I was more interested in hearing something you'd read about which you've been able to put into practice a I imagine it must be hard to implement subtleties in technique from a written explanation?

It reminds me of those old Unclesomebody posts JB (?) perhaps made with an arrow pointing 'heels down'.

I've been thinking about my post and it was a bit disingenuous to say "everything". And the part of my post you quoted was quite a pompous statement. You were right to ask for real world examples.

For me even the most simple exercises in the book are worth repeatedly going back to. Sticky hands and silent feet for example. I've been doing them since reading the self-coached climber a decade (?) ago and I still feel like I learn from them.

One example of something new I got from the book is his talk about people over flagging and to try moves keeping both feet on. Often now, indoors I'll do a move with a flag automatically, note this then try it again keeping both feet on. It is usually interesting to compare the difference and understand why they feel different. I've noted that often keeping two feet on I push the limits of my flexibility more - dropping knees, opening hips - and it's made me realise that improving my flexibility in these areas could make moves easier. I think that the book pointed the way towards being more aware of this but it also took my years of experience ( :-\ ) to understand all the elements at play in the flag/two feet on choice. And I'm sure there's still more to discover.

I feel like I'll repeatedly go back to the book to try things again or things I didn't try before and that's it's useful to have as something to go back to in the constant search for technical flaws to improve upon.

Make sense?

Paul B

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Yeah it does TBH (thanks). The example of flagging is a good one. A while back I can remember climbing with two beasts who both climb very differently. One always had one foot on (same side as hand) whereas the other (flexy person) always had two on (wider apart than I could comprehend).

Also, last night whilst doing broken circuits, one has a move which is a little insecure so I resort to taking a pocket with my LH, LF on and deeply flagging my RF underneath to take the next hold. It's secure but draining. Everyone else seems to do a drop knee which doesn't work that well for me, I'm assuming mainly due to limited flexibility (which I am consciously aware of); I'd imagine there's a lot of that in my climbing where I opt for a 'stronger' sequence, probably due to other limiting factors that I tend to ignore (if that makes sense?).

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One example of something new I got from the book is his talk about people over flagging and to try moves keeping both feet on. Often now, indoors I'll do a move with a flag automatically, note this then try it again keeping both feet on.


I found this interesting too - I'd now diagnose myself as someone who habitually over-flags and have since been very conscious of when I flag and looking for alternatives with two feet. I've been putting it into practice when doing circuits and found I can eliminate most of the flags I was previously using in a circuit by using drop-knees (it feels like I'm starting to use flags more deliberately when they are the better option, rather than almost as a default / unthinking habit).

Other bits I've found useful are things like being more dynamic when twisting my hips in (opening hips slightly before twisting side on).


SA Chris

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Also, last night whilst doing broken circuits, one has a move which is a little insecure so I resort to taking a pocket with my LH, LF on and deeply flagging my RF underneath to take the next hold. It's secure but draining. Everyone else seems to do a drop knee which doesn't work that well for me, I'm assuming mainly due to limited flexibility (which I am consciously aware of); I'd imagine there's a lot of that in my climbing where I opt for a 'stronger' sequence, probably due to other limiting factors that I tend to ignore (if that makes sense?).

Play to your strength vs improve on your weaknesses? I guess there is a time and place for both...

tomtom

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Flagging is an interesting one. Trying to keep both feet on does make you move/climb in a different way. But being tall and weak - the flag is a heavily used weapon to (a) loose height and (b) help straight arm everything... :D

Muenchener

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I did a one to one session with John a while back, and one of the useful things he emphasised was that it's usually a good idea to be actively pressing on the wall with the flagging foot rather than just waving it in the air.

cheque

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That book's been really useful for me, particularly as I'm in the weird position of having to start climbing again almost from scratch with what is in some ways a new body.

The flagging/ two feet on bit in aprticular was particularly interesting. I was certainly guilty of climbing one legged a lot, at least indoors and dynamic climbing is like learning a new language!

It's interesting to watch other people with the drills/ insights in mind too. I've long been in the habit of watching other people climb to try and learn from both good and bad examples but I think the strength of the book is it creates a kind of discourse that's much more "fleshed out" than I've really got from any other technique-advice stuff before so I feel I get more from watching other cimbers more now. It's hard to judge though 'cos with my enforced fresh start I think I've lost a lot of mental baggage regarding climbing and training so it's hard to tell how much is me and how much is the book.

Related to that, I can't really judge how much of what I'm learning, or indeed what the book is teaching, is specific to indoors. Stuff like flagging in particular- I've identified that I did it excessively indoors but I'm sceptical as to whether I did it too much on rock, where you rarely get such positive footholds. Maybe I'm just improving my plastic game but it's impossible to tell as I haven't been rock climbing once since I got the book for Christmas!

abarro81

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I think flagging is more prominent indoors for a few reasons
- Fewer foot options = more chance of only 1 foot hold in reach
- Good foot holds allow this style more
- Fewer options means it can be harder to keep feet low, and when feet get high inflexible people will take a foot off and either rockover or flag. I do this all the time. Climbing with 2 feet on more would be great, but without a significant increase in flexibility it would be really bad technique for me most of the time as my ass would be 6ft out from the wall...

cheque

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 :agree:

My appalling (but slowly improving) flexibility really hampers me with some of the drills in the book as well as just climbing in general.

petekitso

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I definitely use 'lazy' flags more indoors for all the reasons given here - the feet are so good you only need one. I probably keep two feet on more outside because I tend to 'actively' flag or smear more because the holds are worse.

It's probably worth noting that the book certainly does not say it's always more efficient to keep both feet on. It's an exercise to encourage thinking about balance and to highlight that two feet can sometimes be more efficient.

jshaw

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Bought this yesterday after the comments here. Arrived in the post today (thanks John!  :great:).

36chambers

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I use 'lazy' flagging on the majority of indoor problems I do and I just thought I had godlike technique.

Thinking back to the last outdoor problem I tried that required a drop knee, the move wasn't even that hard but I spent 2 sessions f**king it up on the link :lol:

thekettle

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For those curious/sceptical about the book:
Training Beta have just published a podcast interview I did with them last week that gives some background on my own experience with climbing improvement, why I wrote this book, and what effect improving technique *might* have on your climbing performance:
https://www.trainingbeta.com/media/john-kettle/?portfolioCats=72

nai

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Enjoyed this episode and my curiousity was heightened such that I bought the (e) book afterwards. 

Recently I've been working on a theory that my finger strength is perfectly adequate but shoulder and overall strength is limiting so interesting to hear something not just about what fingerboard protocol was used to achieve success. Will be reading it by a pool next week and looking forward to getting stuck in thereafter.

Ged

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I have it. Having previously always been skeptical about working on technique drills, I must say I'm convinced. The book presents some really interesting stuff to try. It's not an overnight fix to become a wad, but plenty to go at that I could really see making a difference over time

Yossarian

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I listened to the first half of this on the way back from the wall today. A nice mixture of inspiring tales combined with detailed information. Particularly the massive amount of variety you fit into a typical ARC session (though still trying to get my head around the inverted palming gastons), and the static feet accuracy drills.

Most of all, the details re your time on rock in your breakthrough bouldering season (five full days outside) has provided me with a counter-argument for every time I hear a little voice saying, "You live in the south east and hardly ever get out on rock, why don't you just get loads of crap tattoos and join a crossfit gym"...

For that alone, here's a wad point.

 

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