Climbing inside prepares us for outdoor climbs. Improving your footwork will pay off both inside and outside. Here are some drills to try while at the gym.
This is not about route climbing, think traverse or rainbow climb in the gym. Start bouldering using any holds. When you place your foot on a hold, place it so softly that it can’t be heard. If your foot does make a noise, move back to your previous position and try again. If you succeed, move on with the drill.
Do this for twenty different footholds.
When bouldering it is best to conserve energy – like putting your foot on a hold correctly so it sticks to the hold without unnecessarily adjusting your feet.
Identify four routes that are two to three grades below your max and climb the route as you normally would, but when you move to a new foot hold, the instant your foot touches, you cannot move it. You should not readjust it. If you move, go back one move and try again.
Do this for four routes.
Next time you boulder, note how often you look away from your feet while moving them. Most of us don’t even know that we often move our eyes away from the footholds before our feet even connect, which causes poor foot placement.
Identify four routes that are two to three levels below your max. Start the bouldering route and each time you go to move a foot, start at the foothold you are moving to. Then after you place your foot, keep staring at it for an addition three seconds before moving to the next hold.
We love Traverse! It gives you the opportunity to feel many different holds you may not normally climb. It is also a fantastic way to train your feet! Traverse is simply climbing horizontally or sideways along the walls and close to the ground.
This is not route climbing, jump on any wall and start climbing sideways. Be sure to look for your foot placements. Use your legs (minimal upper body) and climb the route facing forward. Then climb the same route backward ensuring you are using the Foothold Stare technique above. Not only a great workout, but you build your feet, stamina and look cool!
We love to jump from the top of the route to the pads below, but this is an exercise for both improving your footwork and for getting stronger! Find a route one to two levels below your max. At the top of the route, instead of jumping, climb the route down (in reverse) to your starting point. Letting your feet lead the way forces you to focus much more on your footwork.