Alex Johnson’s Top 6 Tips for Body-Aware Climbing
DO: Downclimb. It’s great for technique— move precisely, focus on footwork— plus muscle memory, endurance, and weight- shifting. When downclimbing, you’re not going to take a hand off that’s holding your weight; you’re going to shift your weight off it first and then move it.
DO: Onsight. I make my kids try to onsight every new climb in the gym. If they fail, they move on. We call it “Flash or Trash.” Onsighting is crucial to being a competitive climber and to learning intuitive movement.
DO: Repeat sends in the gym, both easy and difficult alike, trying different sequences and refining technique to become as efficient as possible.
DON’T: Always keep your hips close to the wall. It leads to relying on muscle more than momentum. Start a move by hanging out from the wall and then pivoting on your toes and using momentum to turn your hips in. Flags and dropknees are great, too.
DON’T: Heel- hook on the back of your heel. It throws off your balance. Instead, your foot should be at a 45- degree angle, with the contact point more on the outside of your heel, foot tilting out.
DON’T: Climb vert or slab in downturned shoes. On this angle, only a small portion of downturned shoes lands on a hold, so you’re having to edge ( vs. smear) everything. Try flat- lasted instead.