Stability & Balance
In geometry class you’re taught that the triangle is one of the strongest shapes, this is because any pressure pushed down from the top is evenly distributed through both sides; when the triangle is inverted this concept is also applied to the pressure pulling down on the object. This concept applies to climbing as well. When looking for a stable position you want your center of gravity between your legs to make up the sides of a triangle, and when you’re on your arms your weight will naturally fall between your arms just like the sides of an inverted triangle.
Keep in mind that if your weight/center isn’t equally distributed between these points you’re going to need to actively work to keep your weight from swinging back to equilibrium. This swinging motion is commonly referred to as a “barn door” or “barn dooring” in climbing, named for the hinge motion which this motion resembles. This motion happens when there are only two points of contact on the wall (a hand and a foot) and you’re center of gravity is not below the balance point. Simply put, this motion is typically unwanted and actively avoided.
Activities & Drills:
Single Arm Traversing
- Traversing laterally on an easy section of the wall.
- Doing a lap in both directions and using each arm in each direction.
- Notice when you begin to barn door and what you can do to actively avoid it.
- What makes this exercise easier: feet first? hand first? Why?
Single Leg Climbing
- Climbing up an easy climb or rainbowing with only one leg on the wall.
- You can either do two laps, one on each leg, or go up to about half way and then switch, depending on time.
- This helps us knowledge where our weight wants to go and makes us think about our hand placements relatively to our body weight.