begin every climbing session by practicing technique

Use your warm up as a way to finely tune your movement. How you climb during warm up will directly transfer to your harder climbs. Footwork, breath control, hip movement and climbing efficiency are just a few often overlooked aspects of training. Below are a few drills to apply to your warm up. (All climbs for these drills should be first mastered on non-challenging climbs before bumping up the difficulty)


Hands Free

Find a slab area with rather large foot/hand holds. Try to scale the wall with just your feet. Your hands may lay flat on the wall, but try to avoid grabbing any hand holds. Practice stepping with your toes, turning your hips and extending. Traversing works too! If there aren't positive enough holds for hands free, scale the wall only using foot chips for your hands.

Quiet Feet

Step confidently, but most importantly, step quietly! In this exercise focus on placing your foot on a hold, then weighting the hold. Someone climbing next to you should not be able to hear your foot placements. For a more advanced version, try this exercise on an overhang.

First Place

We often adjust our foot placements multiple times before trusting them. For this exercise, move off of your first foot placement. No micro-adjusting! You'll have to be honest with yourself for this exercise. If you find self-policing difficult, recruit a climbing partner to keep you honest.

Feet First

Touch the next handhold in the climb with your toe before you grab it with your hand. Alternate touching your left and right feet to the holds until you reach the top.

Pogo Go-Go

Climb a route only using one foot. Your other foot can flag, but not smear on the wall. Then switch to the other foot and climb the route again.


You'll be completing three different laps on each climb for this exercise.

Lap 1: Climb the route as slowly and as static as possible. Think of a sloth slowly and methodically gripping through its surroundings.

Lap 2: Climb the route in a more dynamic fashion, without getting sloppy with technique. Think of a monkey swinging and hopping from tree to tree.

Lap 3: Mix the above two styles in the most creative way you can. Are you going to start slow, then jump and lunge through the middle?  Plan a sequence and try to execute it smoothly.


Straight Arm

Climb with straight arms but still engage your shoulders. Focus on twisting into the wall and propelling yourself up with your feet through sequences instead of relying on pulling. This exercise tends to work best while traversing for begginners.

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