Monday, September 24, 2007

Movement and Flow

As I have been climbing more freqently I have really began to think about how we climb. I am an active reader of all things climbing and I love watching videos of the pros. It is quite fascinating to see how they move over the rock and how impossible looking routes get sent with ease.

My current infusion of climbing info has been coming from the multitude of blogs that I have found around the web. Instead of having to wait to see an ascent feature in Climbing or Rock and Ice I can read about it first hand. No longer does a DVD have to come out for there to be footage of the hardest sends. All of this information is much more easily accessible and I am loving it.

I have been reading Lynn Hill’s blog and she recently had a great entry about Flow . It coupled with recent climbing outings has made me really think about how we move over rock.

This past weekend I was out at New Jack City and got destroyed by one route by my style. Decent climbing fitness and strength allows me to power through routes when I should be thinking more about moving my body. I struggled on an initial boulder problem of a route many grades below my usual onsight limit. I got confused, pumped and I fell. The second time I got through this cruxy section but without much more technique. I made a sequence and grunted through it wasting much energy.

On comes my girlfriend who shows me a thing or two and sails through this beginning section. She used more feet and less power and had a much easier time with the route.

When I climb at the gym as many climbers do I think we forget that you don’t have to be square. Using feet out to the side and leaning and pulling with your body can be very effective. Strength can help with bigger moves and core tension but I forget to “train” technique.

I think that the biggest problem I face when confronted with irregular movement is how to properly assess the forces and apply the right pressures. I think what this all comes back to is move repertoire. Climbing more routes, especially with funky sequences can really help expand your mind. I think that believing in your movement and proper evaluation of your options can lead to climbing crux sequences more easily.

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