Footwork is afoot

Since getting a trainer to improve our climbing skills we've been confronted with some hard truths. One of those is that while we're reasonably strong, our basic technique is trash. That means we can progress up to 6A-6C level, but no further. We're, for lack of a better word, stuck. And one of the biggest things we need to fix is our footwork.

What we found out (but already knew, kinda)

We can muscle a lot of things. We can force a movement, climb fast, squeeze harder, jump, and skip holds. None of those are viable solutions on long routes — not as a go-to solution anyway.

A series of climbing training walls at various angles of overhang
Grip has a ton of great training walls of different configurations and overhang angles.

We're lazy humans and we know our strength is in our upper body. That's why we focus on hands over feet 9 times out of 10. It's familiar, just not efficient. That in turn negatively affects our endurance, which is one of the key things we want to work on. The problems with our footwork are numerous:

The solution

We won't go into the exact details of what our trainer has thought out for us, because we're not dicks. The gist of it is to move deliberately, accurately, and quietly. Always weigh every foot at every placement. Place your foot with the right part of the shoe. Mind your body position.

A wood panel with small black climbing footholds
We've reset our home climbing wall to include a small panel of footholds to practice accurate movement.

In practice

To make sure we get enough time exercising this, we've stopped climbing hard routes. We're only climbing well within our grades, and doing very deliberate, steady foot placements. If you don't get it right, you do it again until you do. We do rainbow climbs wherever we find the very smallest, toughest footholds. Some of those bastards are barely bigger than a thumbnail. Luckily we also have a short 8m route (5B+) that's almost entirely devoid of handholds in a dihedral, which requires a lot of tension on your feet. It hurts but it's good.

Another one of our favourite games is to climb the same route repeatedly, but find alternative beta for the hardest sections. Again, we're not doing much over 6A's for now. It's fun to figure out more efficient ways to do the same sections — especially if they're then more efficient for both Lieke and Arie.

Onwards & upwards

All posts

  1. 21 days of yoga

  2. Here's to staying strong

  3. Second COVID lockdown

  4. Another 6 week plan

  5. Footwork is afoot

  6. First time climbing with a trainer

  7. The 5C Pump Challenge

  8. The risk pyramid

  9. Ardennes Multipitch Course

  10. In defense of Black Diamond Circuit approach shoes

  11. Zlagboard Pro 2.0

  12. Mammut Gym Workhorse Classic rope

  13. Updated 6w plan

  14. Lead Climbing Course Done

  15. Beta spraying

  16. Second alpine fitness test

  17. Marking gear

  18. New grade FTW 💪💪💪

  19. That climbing shoe smell

  20. Training without climbing

  21. Problemsolver Triangle

  22. Ardennes ⛰ part deux

  23. Theragun, updated

  24. Lead climbing class

  25. A thought

  26. Petzl Spirit Express Quickdraws

  27. Petzl Connect Adjust

  28. First day back on the ropes

  29. Theragun

  30. Black Diamond Circuit approach shoes

  31. Climbing gyms are reopening!

  32. Ardennes

  33. New 6w training program

  34. Alpine fitness test

  35. A plyo box arrives

  36. The COVID Wall