/ Great footwork exercises?

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Simos on 25 Oct 2013 -
Looking for some drills I can start doing at the climbing wall to improve my footwork, would be great to find out what has worked for people so that I don't waste much time on trying things out that don't yield results. Any tips appreciated!
SteveoS - on 26 Oct 2013
In reply to Simos:

In all honesty, climb more and climb hard.
candy_girl on 26 Oct 2013
In reply to Simos:

I would have thought that good foot work would come from instinctively knowing how to use a foot hold for a given body position, type of move and hold type. With the shear variety of holds and movements out there I would imagine it difficult to invent an exercise that would train all possible types of foot placements. Just climb more, on as many types of climbs as possible, but really concentrate on your feet.
BAdhoc - on 26 Oct 2013
In reply to Simos: in the kids groups that I've been helping out with, a press up for every time someone hears your feet on the wall. You learn super quickly to be more precise!
Jonny2vests - on 26 Oct 2013
In reply to Simos:

Didn't you ask about this a few days ago? Why not just respond to people who've replied to you on that thread?
ozbaker - on 26 Oct 2013
In reply to Simos:
Try starting your session with Very easy traversing after an aerobic warm up and limber-up.

1. Eye-ball each foot placement.
Climb steadily and statically (preferably on slabby/vertical sections), don't shift until your foot is placed perfectly and "concentrate" on weighting your foot by shifting your body above it (say push to yourself)
2. Point/Hover each foot placement.
On any terrain, before you make contact with a hold allow your body to find balance, with the foot you about to place, flag and point your toe then hover just above the hold for a second before placing it and weighing it as in the above drill.
3. Feety Handy traversing.
Select a section of wall to traverse. After your starting hand hold you may only progress to the next hand hold once you have touched it with your foot first. Extend this by alternating feet.
4. Embarrassment.
Have your belayer shout obscenities at you each time you bounce your heal, continually alter foot placements, scrabble with your feet or use your instep on a hold.

There are lots of coaching books out there and lots of very knowledgeable staff at walls you climb at, have a chat to them maybe consider booking a 1 2 1 coaching session for a Christmas gift to yourself.

Make time to watch other people who climb harder/better than you and try to emulate their movement.

Enjoy your climbing and don't get too hung up on anything.

Stone Idle - on 26 Oct 2013
In reply to Simos: On a bouldering wall try the game that has you keeping yoiur foot in ther position in which it lands. You soon learn to place with precision (akin to 'hovering')and, more to the point, to check on how your body will best use the holdes on offer.
Jack B on 26 Oct 2013
In reply to Simos:

I haven't done this myself, but it worked well for a friend:

Break one of your arms (preferably doing something silly) then refuse to stop climbing.

You'll have to go down a grade or two for a while, but your footwork will improve.

johncook - on 26 Oct 2013
In reply to Jack B: I agree. I broke a collar bone, and climbed the day after, and, to begin with, even on the easiest routes had to focus completely on my, admittedly poor until then, footwork. After my experience a friend tried the same, with their hand in a pocket, and it worked.
peppermill - on 26 Oct 2013
In reply to Simos:

I've found my footwork has seriously improved since using a 45 degree board on a regular basis, on both steep and easier angled climbs. Much more accurate and on steeper problems I have got into the habit of pushing effing hard with my feet.
dr_botnik - on 26 Oct 2013
In reply to Simos: Try traversing easy stuff as a warm up with "silent feet" for 5 minutes, then try doing "sticky feet" for 5 minutes where you place your foot correctly the first time and do not move it, so you have to plan which is the correct direction initially. Then do 5 minutes of "swinging feet" where you traverse along and try spinning you feet on each hold and turning your body to face left then right and flagging to see which feels best on each move before making the next move.

Could also try standing on a slab with no hands: step up (or jump both feet at once) and stand on two footholds with no hands touching the wall (using a knee for balance is cheating!) try hands free traversing. Or when you walk along the bottom of a crag try walking over all the boulders with no hands to steady yourself, just scramble about keeping balance on your feet.

When you're on routes or problems that your feet slip off, really concentrate on them, really hold them on the wall. Try gritty smeary problems when outside bouldering, look at all the footholds from different angles to see where the best placements are. Try problems at the wall with "features only" for feet. Try mixing a bit of these into each of your sessions, whether inside or out.
nigel pearson - on 26 Oct 2013
In reply to Simos: climb more outdoors
Simos on 26 Oct 2013 -
In reply to dr_botnik:

Some great ideas, will give it a go thanks
Simos on 26 Oct 2013 -
In reply to ozbaker:

Thanks, 1 & 2 sound particularly interesting will try it. I am guessing I'll have to go for easier problems..
Simos on 26 Oct 2013 -
In reply to Jack B:

Joking aside, I used to climb with one hand on vertical walls and easy climbs and it helps a lot with footwork and also precision in dynamic moves and catching the next hold at the right time (ie top of the trajectory when you are weightless)
Simos on 26 Oct 2013 -
In reply to Jonny2vests:

I asked a few questions about the one I do now (silent feet) but no harm finding out if there are other exercises too. But I should do that too you are right, thanks.
Simos on 26 Oct 2013 -
In reply to SteveoS:

Apologies I don't know how much experience you have or anything but I keep hearing this on UKC and it's just not the best advice IMHO.

The reason I asked (and others) are because I want to maximise the effectiveness of the training time I can put in - apart from the fact that I cannot climb more often than I do (and I think I climb 'enough') I have gone down this route a couple of years ago and it didn't really work for me.

Obviously putting enough time to climb is important but climbing hard without knowing what you are doing and training specifically your weakness in my case ended up with me progressing fast to a half-decent difficulty level and then finding it impossibly to go on from there. I picked up many bad habits because I kept on increasing the difficulty of the routes and when the going got tougher... I got nowhere!

I had a 2-year break from climbing and started 6 months ago taking a completely different approach - I do a lot more easy routes and pay a lot of attention in doing them as perfectly as I can (if not I do them again and again). Sure, I try some harder (for me) problems too but I stop if I cannot do them with decent technique.

I feel I have made more progress in 6 months that I had made in much longer time in the past, when I was also younger and stronger than now and I don't feel I have plateaued yet.

I do appreciate the time you take to give advice but I really do wonder why I keep on getting 'just climb more' every single time I've asked something.
Simos on 26 Oct 2013 -
In reply to nigel pearson:

Can't for now but thanks, I know what you mean - the big bright pink footholds indoors really don't help with footwork. Now that you mentioned though i think it might not be a bad idea to climb on a wall with features and use features only for the feet or at least use the smaller footholds only.

jsmcfarland - on 26 Oct 2013
In reply to Simos:

You can check out The 'Climbing Masterclass' DVD's, they have some useful info on technique (footwork and general).

The most important thing I would say on improving your footwork is understanding the different areas of your foot and where best to use them. So Toe, inside edge, outside edge, heel hook/toe hook, etc.

You need to get an understanding of when you should be front on and when you should be side on to the climb, and sometimes in the route that will change, e.g. front on to a flat climb and then have alot of side-on climbing for reachy holds over a bulge.

If you don't know what flagging is yet then that's an important step, and keeping your balance etc. I understand why the other people say 'just climb more' because it is true, but you need to make a decision to get better and not just climb and flail and work as hard as you can. A good thing to do is both climb at your limit and also do easy climbs, and focusing on making the easy climbs as easy as possible. Don't just power through when you get to hug holds, can you do things with your feet to make it even easier? etc.
Steve nevers on 27 Oct 2013
In reply to jsmcfarland:
> (In reply to Simos)
>and focusing on making the easy climbs as easy as possible.

See, I do a strange hybrid of this and the total opposite.

I think the best way to describe it is as i'm doing eliminates, but never dyno. Kind of like i'll do a route/problem i know i can do,then repeat it, but missing out certain holds, and try out different foot positioning and whole different body shapes until i find a couple of ways of doing the eliminate move statically.
Simos on 27 Oct 2013 -
In reply to jsmcfarland:

Thanks - it's exactly what happened to me when I started. Pulling on jugs etc and powering through problems. Then I hit a ceiling (or so I felt) - I was mostly TR and anything above 6b seemed impossible as there was nothing I could pull on anymore! I wasn't bouldering much at the time but similarly all overhangs would kill my arms.

Of course climbing more (like more of any activity) does help but not sure about the climbing 'hard' part. One thing for sure, for me climbing 'mindlessly' didn't help. Perhaps others here have the benefit of climbing with a lot more experienced people so climbing more means more 'coaching time' too - the group of friends I go with are all roughly the same level.

Watching the DVD did help but I might revisit it - I think I'll get more out of it now although I feel I need some more 'subtle' improvements now. Perhaps I should not be posting in 'Starting out' (although I believe I am between beginner-intermediate).

To your question, I am very familiar with flagging etc, I feel what I need is better foot placements and body position to be more balanced and take weight off my hands. Watching others that are much better has helped immensely and I can tell it will make a big difference to my climbing because any time I've watched I have been able to do problems I never thought I was capable of. Hanging on for dear life on really hard problems i think is a step back for me as it just reinforces bad patterns that I 'fall back' to, if that makes sense.
Simos on 27 Oct 2013 -
In reply to Steve nevers:

Good tip thanks, I see some people doing what you do on the wall but they're usually a lot more advanced that me and to a point where they could do most of the problems. Maybe on some easy routes I can try doing 'eliminates' though, I can see how they'll help as I'll have still bigger holds I an hang onto but spaced apart so I will need to work a lot more with the feet (if I don't dyno) to get my body to a position where I can grab the next hold statically.

Generally veering off the 'designed' routes for some part of the session seems to be what all the more advanced people do in some form of another to improve a certain aspect of their climbing, just don't know yet if I should do specific training like that - whatever specific I've done so far seems to have helped though.

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