17 Drills to Improve Your Climbing Footwork: Great Footwork Training
Is climbing proving to be more difficult than you anticipated? If so, you may be missing out on footwork, which is an important part of climbing. Many climbers don’t realize the potential of accurate and effective foot movements, instead relying primarily on their arms. I’ve put together a thorough guide to the top 17 drills to improve your climbing footwork and make you a more competent and confident climber. Let’s get into each drill and examine the methods and approaches that will surely improve your climbing.
Drill 1: Quiet Feet
Technique: Precise foot placement
A basic footwork exercise called “Quiet Feet” emphasizes the value of stepping as softly as possible onto each foothold. This stops needless noise from occurring and also makes you place your feet precisely. While more experienced climbers can add challenges like attaching a bell to their feet or even chopping them off before moving, beginners can begin with simple, silent feet.
If you want an even greater challenge, you can make the drill more intense by fastening a bell to your foot. The idea is to step on the bell silently, without making any noise. This adjustment improves focus and accuracy, which are critical skills for learning footwork.
Cut Feet Modification
A more complex version entails chopping off your feet whenever you’re going to move. This compels you to shift your feet precisely, which makes every motion deliberate and under control.
Drill 2: Pivoting
Technique: Body positioning for efficient movement
A footwork exercise called pivoting is meant to assist you in assuming the proper body alignment for effective climbing. Move your body to the left or right with each hold. Though eventually this movement will come naturally to you, try adding hip taps for an extra challenge. Touching the wall with your hips before going on to the next hold in a hip tap exercise adds complexity and improves your overall body control.
Hip taps intensify the drill by requiring purposeful hip contact with the wall before moving on to the next hold. This improves your climbing efficiency by throwing off your equilibrium and requiring you to use your core for stability.
Drill 3: Feet Only
Setting: Ideal for climbing gyms with slabs or non-overhang climbs
A fun and challenging drill is Feet Only, particularly in climbing gyms where there are slab or non-overhang climbs. The objective is to climb with just your feet, simulating a stair-like motion. This exercise is especially useful for building leg strength and agility, which are essential for navigating a range of climbing terrain.
Using your feet to perform a stair-like motion tests the strength and endurance of your lower body. The key is to shift your weight from one foot to the other, simulating the ascent of stairs.
Although this is a very powerful drill, it can be difficult to find the appropriate climb for it, particularly in gyms where overhangs are the norm. To get the most out of Foot Only, look for climbs with a slab or a less steep incline.
Drill 4: Blinking
Technique: Trust your feet by closing your eyes before each hold contact
Blinking adds a special and establishing element to footwork instruction. Close your eyes before making contact with a hold, make the contact, shift your weight, and then open your eyes for the subsequent move. This exercise increases your reliance on your feet feeling the rock, which builds confidence and trust in your footwork.
The effectiveness of this drill is greatly influenced by the selection of climbing shoes. The workout is easier to handle if you wear shoes with a softer sole that lets you feel the texture of the rock. The challenge rises with a firmer sole on your shoes, requiring more confidence in your foot placement.
Drill 5: Down-Climbing
Focus: Strengthening footwork while descending
Down climbing is a useful footwork exercise in addition to a warm-up. This drill, which is frequently performed in top-rope scenarios, entails ascending a route and then descending while paying close attention to foot placement. As with warming up, the idea is to use your feet as effectively as possible when descending.
Route memory is essential for down-climbing success. Remember where your feet will go on the way down as you climb. This tests your ability to coordinate your foot movements, improving your technique and effectiveness.
Down climbing encourages you to keep your arms straight, which saves energy and helps you develop precise footwork because it requires you to use your feet a lot.
Drill 6: Smearing
Strategy: Smear with one foot while using the other to ascend
Climbers can benefit greatly from knowing how to smear, particularly in environments with few footholds. The main idea of this exercise is to smear one foot against the climbing surface and use the other foot to push upward. Professional climbers like Tamo and Narasaki frequently use this technique.
Seeing expert climbers who are skilled at smearing offers insightful information. The proficiency of Tamo and Narasaki in applying pressure with their foot until they get to the handhold is well known, demonstrating the usefulness of this method for more experienced climbers.
Focus on firmly pushing against the foot positioned on the wall to get the most out of smearing. This push gives you the leverage you need to climb higher and take advantage of any available footholds.
Drill 7: Coin Holds
Precision: Place a coin on footholds for added difficulty
Coin Holds gives training in footwork an additional degree of precision. To keep a coin from falling off a foothold, precise placement and careful thought are necessary. This exercise improves your ability to place your feet precisely and deliberately, but it is difficult to set up.
Depending on the size of the foothold, try placing the coins lying down or upright against the wall. Every variation offers a different set of difficulties, so you have to modify your footwork approach accordingly.
Focus vs. Setup Effort
Although Coin Holds improves precision, some climbers might find that the setup time is more beneficial than the benefits in terms of training. Whether or not to include this drill in your routine depends on your personal preferences and climbing objectives.
Drill 8: Foothold Stare
Emphasis: Maintain eye contact with footholds before looking up
Foothold Stare is a drill that goes beyond footwork training; it instills a habit of maintaining eye contact with footholds before shifting focus to handholds. This not only enhances foot trust but also promotes overall climbing awareness.
Foothold Stare is a drill that teaches the habit of keeping eye contact with footholds before turning attention to handholds, going beyond just teaching footwork. This helps with overall climbing awareness as well as foot trust.
Foothold Stare is a technique that you should apply to your climbing projects rather than just using it as a training drill. Use this strategy on real climbs to develop the habit of making good use of your peripheral vision.
Drill 9: Traversing
Challenge: Move sideways without interruption, focusing on body adjustments
The dynamic footwork exercise known as traversing tests your ability to move continuously horizontally. This exercise tests your ability to adapt your footwork and body positioning with both small and extended movements.
Try extending your body to one side when traversing to see how that makes you rely on your foot placement to stay balanced. This exercises your foot-positioning skills and gets you ready for a range of climbing situations.
Some parts of the wall could be difficult to navigate. To overcome these challenges, focus on your footwork and make the necessary adjustments to move smoothly through the traverse.
Drill 10: Tennis Balls
Skill: Climbing with only fingertips, emphasizing precise foot placement
A footwork exercise called tennis balls focuses on climbing with little to no hand contact. Your grip strength is reduced when you hold tennis balls in your hands, necessitating more exact foot placement to stay stable.
Jug vs. Crimp Variations
Tennis balls can be customized to match your skill level by offering climbs with crimps for experienced climbers or jug holds for novices. The trick is to keep your balance and control mostly with your feet, which will improve your footwork skills.
Tennis balls not only help with footwork but also show off over-crimping tendencies. Relying on your feet is more important because restricted hand contact discourages overuse of hand strength.
Drill 11: Switching Feet
Essential: Mastering the art of switching feet for varied climbing routes
A basic drillcalled “Switching Feet” focuses on the ability to change feet while climbing. Gaining proficiency with this method is necessary for effective route navigation, particularly as climbs get harder.
Static vs. Hop Switch
Static and hop switches are the two variants that Switching Feet offers. You will be more flexible and able to change your foot placement in a variety of scenarios if you practice both versions. The hop switch gives your footwork a more dynamic element, while the static version is more controlled.
Not only is it a drill, but being able to switch feet fluidly is an essential skill for climbers. Using this method on real routes improves your overall climbing efficiency and energy conservation.
Drill 12: Match Hand Foot
Progression: Start with basic matching, then advance to intermediate and expert levels
Match Hand Foot is a flexible footwork exercise that can be advanced to several levels. Climbers begin with basic matching and progress to higher levels, combining hand and foot coordination for an intense and engaging workout.
Hand-Placed Foot Matching
In the simple version, you only use your feet on the holds that your hands have been in. This limitation emphasizes precision by making you plan your foot placements in tandem with your hand movements.
Hand-Touched Foot Matching
In the intermediate level, you can’t move your foot until you’ve touched a hold where your hands were. This increases the complexity and sharpens your coordination of hand and foot placements.
Hand-Leveraged Foot Matching
In the advanced version, you must leverage your weight without removing your hand from the hold it is in. Similar to mantling, this dynamic movement calls for precise footwork and effective weight transfer.
Drill 13: One Leg Up
Task: Ascend using only one leg, alternating between left and right
One Leg Up puts climbers through a challenge where they can only use one leg at a time. This drill, which alternates between the left and right legs, focuses on exact foot placement and body control.
During this drill, be cautious when selecting your routes to prevent potential injuries from jumping or cutting your feet during transitions. This is especially important for overhang climbs. Overhangs offer a firm surface on which to perform the one-leg-up maneuver.
Differential Body Positioning
There are noticeable changes in body positioning when climbing on one leg. This drill improves your overall climbing technique by teaching you how to adjust your body to maintain stability and balance.
Drill 14: High-Low
Test: Climbing a route twice—once stretched out, once scrunched up
A difficult drill called “High-Low” assesses your ability to climb a route in two different ways: once while stretched out and once while scrunched up. Your strengths and weaknesses in various body positions are exposed by this exercise.
Concentrate on reaching for holds with fully extended limbs during the stretched-out climb. This emphasizes foot placement for balance while testing your ability to maintain stability and control.
Navigate the route with your limbs close to your body in the scrunched-up climb. To make up for the decreased reach, this drill stresses core strength and calls for precise footwork. Additionally, it encourages the use of tension in the body to stop swinging.
Drill 15: Flagging
Necessity: Enhance climbing grades by mastering the static movement of flagging
For climbers who want to move up the climbing grade ladder, flagging is a static movement that is necessary. Gaining proficiency in this footwork method improves your overall climbing fluidity and gives you new options when it comes to taking on difficult routes.
Flagging is standing with one leg out to the side while keeping your balance. Try varying the height and direction of the flagging to see how this method works in different climbing scenarios.
When practicing flagging, keep in mind that common errors include flagging at the incorrect time or in the incorrect direction. See a specialized mistakes video for more information on how to steer clear of typical flagging mistakes.
Drill 16: Rooting
Progression: After flagging mastery, focus on pulling the body towards or away from the foot
Building on the mastery of flagging, the advanced footwork drill known as the “rooting” exercise focuses on pulling your body toward or away from a foothold with your feet, and it calls for the use of particular muscle groups to be performed correctly.
During rooting movements, pay particular attention to using your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. These muscles are essential for drawing your body in or out of the foothold, which improves the drill’s control and effectiveness.
Initial Flagging Prerequisite
Make sure you have a firm grasp of and proficiency with flagging before attempting rooting. This fundamental footwork ability lays the groundwork for you to successfully incorporate rooting into your climbing technique.
Drill 17: Perfect Repeats
Challenge: Climb a route repeatedly until footwork is flawless
Climbers are challenged by the demanding yet rewarding Perfect Repeats footwork drill to ascend a route multiple times until their footwork is perfect. Your ability to learn and accurately execute foot sequences will improve with this exercise.
Climb the selected route several times, noticing and correcting footwork flaws each time. To preserve the caliber of each ascent and guarantee progressive mastery, take rests in between climbs.
Perfect repeats help you improve your footwork and hone your foot sequence memory. Your climbing technique will improve as you gain experience on the route and develop a natural sense of where to place your feet.
Developing footwork skills is a journey that calls for commitment and focused instruction. Every one of the 17 footwork drills covered in this guide presents a different angle on improving climbing technique. These drills, which range from the basic Quiet Feet to the more difficult Perfect Repeats, will improve your climbing skills. Put on your climbing shoes, go to the gym, and start your journey toward becoming a more skilled and self-assured climber.
Here we will provide you only interesting content, which you will like very much.
W’re dedicated to providing you the best of climbing content,skills, techniques and gear, as well other related climbing and outdoors topics.