27 October 2009

Just because it's not on a foothold...

A bit of movement analysis; This picture from last night’s training session is quite revealing.

Just because a foot is not on a foothold, doesn’t mean it’s not making a massive contribution to the move. This picture, because I’m using tools and trainers really highlights the effect of the counterbalancing (in this case left) foot.

Look at the feet; can you see that they are doing different jobs?

The right foot is trying to pull my left hip into the wall and at the same time I’m pushing upwards from the bent right leg.

The left foot is pushing directly into the wall to help turn the body to face left and extend that right shoulder towards the next hold. Some folk might also notice it’s doing a separate job of toe hooking the pink hold, obtaining a so-called ‘bicycle’ clamp, pulling in with the left foot along the plane of the wall to allow me to get more tension on the right foot. The toe hook probably wouldn’t be needed if I was wearing rock shoes which could get enough tension on their own and my body wouldn’t be so far from the wall as it is holding 50cm tools.

If I was doing normal climbing, the left foot would want be further out to the left and apply more turning force to extend that right shoulder, to save the upper body having to apply this force. Any opportunity to use the lower body to do the hard work of moving the body against gravity, even on very steep angles is the way to get further in climbing.

Because I have long tools in my hands, my body is further from the wall, so that left foot can’t extend leftwards as much as I’d like. It’s pretty obvious that the left foot is pushing extra hard to compensate for this, but the left deltoid and pectorial are having to do a lot of work to obtain the leftward trunk twist. 

The message? When doing a move like this in normal rock climbing, extend the counterbalancing foot well out to the side and push directly into the rock/wall to do the work of creating the twist and shoulder extend. By doing this you save precious upper body strength. Most people are far too passive with the counterbalancing foot, place it too low on the wall, don’t even put it on the wall, or try to place it awkwardly on another foothold thats too close to the body.

Update: BTW I don't have a random dread coming out  the back of my head, it's just a dark coloured hold.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,

you mentioned (in your Dave MacLeod blog) that you started writing a book about weight management. May I ask you, hwo you got your legs so skinny (as they look on the pic)? Yoused to be a basketball player and I've got HUGE quads, harmstrings and a gigantic gluteus... they're definately responsible for some of my 100kg (2,03m tall) and since I had to stop playing I could need some tips about how to get rid of them.