Why make climbing harder than it has to be?
You might be feeling like you’re not strong enough or lacking stability in your climbs. Everyone hits plateaus in climbing and its difficult to figure out what you can do to move past it.
But here is the thing: correct footwork placement will be far more beneficial to your climbing than you can possibly imagine.
Correct footwork placement is key in the foundation for any good climber and this is because each strong foot placement makes the next move easier.
This is why footwork is so crucial.
The Key Footplacements Technqiues for All Climbers
So let’s get to the nitty-gritty of the techniques.
The Basic Frontstep (Edging)
You place your foot on a hold or small edge with the inside or outside of your shoe, The aim here is to maximise the amount of contact between the rubber on your shoe and the hold (small or large).
Its important to make sure you heel is pulled into the wall allowing the inside of your shoe to have as much contact with the wall as possible. The more contact you have the more friction the rubber can generate which will let you put more weight on the foot.
You will swap from the inside or outside of your shoe depending on what direction you need to move in.
As you devlop your skills you will be able to stand on the tiniest of edges which is the main use of this techniqeue.
Foot swapping is another vital footwork technique in climbing that removes one foot off a hold and replaces with your other one. There are a few different ways to do this, if the hold is large enough you can rotate your foot on the hold to allow room for the second foot.
In cases where this isnt possible you might need to dynamically swap them, this can be done by placing the foot you need to swap above the foot on the hold and then doing a little hop while pulling on hand holds.
A great video demostrating this can be found below.
Okay, so this one might not be a foot placement.
But its super vital nonetheless.
The drop knee is sometimes called the backstep and is one of the best weapons in your war for efficient climbing.
There are tons of reasons you want to add the drop knee to your kit of techniques, It gives you balance, stability along with extra reach not to mention it helps you keep tension on the wall.
To put this technique into practice all you need to do is lower your knee towards the ground while simultaneously raising your hip against the wall.
This is great for walls with steep angles due to its efficiently its saves tons of energy.
Smearing makes use of the underside of your shoe, Its all about trying to generate as much friction as possible to try and create any extra thrust to propel your body up the wall. you’re going to require a lot of trust in your shoes, as one small slip can sometimes lead to time spent away from the wall.
To use this great placement you just need to stick your foot on any bit of the wall and start putting pressure until it sticks.
Since this technique requires you to put a lot of faith in your shoes you need to make sure you have the right pair for the job.
Shoes with flat soles are the best for smearing due to the more rubber on the wall, this leads to a better grip and more sticking power!
The Mighty Heel Hook
The heel hook is one of the most advantageous techniques when trying to send a steep climb, It allows you to use your powerful legs in a pulling motion instead of pushing.
This helps you keep tension and relieve pressure from other areas which in turn makes your climbs easier.
Heel hooks have multiple knock-on effects when used correctly.
Your hooks will take the weight off your arms allowing you actually grip those impossible holds.
Not to mention pulling you in the direction you want to be heading in: UP!
So your wondering how you put this move into practice and its simple.
You just put your heel around a hold or feature and use those legs to pull you up the wall!
The best shoes for hooking are ones with a large amount of rubber on the heel for friction, or preferably a dedicated heel cup.
This one might take a lot of practice to get perfect but its fun to do and will help push you onto the next grade.
Last but not least the Toe hook technique is kind of the polar opposite of the heel hook.
Instead of using your heel to pull yourself closer to the wall and the next hold you use the front of your shoe/toes instead.
This technique is usually used to stop a swing after a dynamic move or while moving up to another hold on a steep wall. The success of this move usually depends on the body tension you are able to generate from the toe and also the amount of rubber on the topside of your shoe.