Flat feet in climbing

by Igor

Physiotherapist and Osteopath Klaus Isele takes a look at improving the posture, starting with flat feet. Guest in this video is pro-climber Adam Ondra.


Many people have flat feet. Most doctors agree that flat feet does not do good for the biomechanics of the lower leg, it is better when your foot has some arch. In addition to a tip and an exercise provided in the video, I can add my personal (verified) tip: Pay attention to how you land your feet during running; try not to land your foot on the ground at once, instead start with toe and the outside/lateral part of the foot. In another words, my tip is similar to what Klaus tells Adam to do but applied to the case of running.

It is hard to say how important proper arch of the foot is for climbing. Adam says he feels the difference. From my observation and from common sense mechanics, you will stay better on small holds if your feet has some arch.

What I like is that professional climbers are becoming more serious about everything related to their mental and physical condition, including body posture. Put little things together and they can make a big difference. Pay attention to all parts of your body, know how a properly developed body should look like and try to grow your own body accordingly; at young age some things about your body can be fixed with enough effort. Hopefully climbing coaches will incorporate this knowledge into young athletes in training too.

Taurine V9, Red Rocks

In our last post we talked about dynos https://psyched2climb.com/2016/01/04/tips-for-dyno-moves

Below is a video where Anthony comments on his work on the dyno move of Taurine V9 in Red Rocks one week ago. This video could be a sort of demonstration for the tips discussed in previous post.


Tips for Dyno moves

  • Some people are more natural with dynos than others, nevertheless do not expect to be dyno master without practicing and training, as dynamic moves require great deal of coordination and a proper mindset.
  • The main way of training is to practice dynos in a gym. Pick big enough move with big enough holds on overhang wall and do it. Once you have mastered the dyno, make another one. Practicing dynos with friends could be very fun and brighten your mood.
  • Sticking a dyno at the dead point of the jump requires quick reaction: you touch the hold then quickly grab it holding weight of your whole body and possibly struggling with a swing. To train this quick muscle reaction, other than just doing dynos, we can recommend 2 hands jumps on a campus board. We also find throwing big heavy ball at each other a good training for quick body reaction (stand on a high stool or unstable surface to add difficulty).
  • While jumping think in terms of trajectories of the center of mass of your body and individual parts of your body.
  • Pulling with arms and pushing with legs must be one well coordinated move. That is the main thing you have to practice.
  • Do not fight a swing with your hands, instead let your back arch and legs swing to gently kill the momentum of the swing.
  • Once your body is trained for dynos, rest is in your head. Get psyched, do not think that you can’t do the move, do no think about the fall. The trick is that you also have to train your head for dyno; at this point it becomes very individual experience but for sure head/mind can and should be trained too.
  • Do not get frustrated if you do not get the dyno on the first try. Big dyno usually takes time to execute. First try to touch place under the hold, then try to touch bottom of the hold, then the hold itself.



The Importance of having a Project

As a climbing trainer for my son, I have some thoughts on the subject of having a project outside on a real rock that I would like to share here. Points for having a project:

  • What could be most important, having a project means that kid climbs outside. (See related post https://psyched2climb.com/2015/05/31/why-kids-do-not-climb-outside)
  • Hard work on a project translates in to great satisfaction once the route is sent. This satisfaction motivates kid to climb harder and train more.
  • Projecting outside creates a goal for kid and organizes him, teaches him how put every aspect of climbing together to finish the project. Triggers kid’s thoughts about improving weak points in climbing and actually having some training program.
  • Shows kid different types of climbing moves and holds that do not exist in climbing gyms.
  • Gives kid real perspective where he is relative to other climbers, and thus positions him inside the climbing world.
  • Generally, it teaches kid to work and respect other people hard work.
  • Since the next project usually comes immediately after current one is complete, it shows value of hard work and Path (Tao) versus illusive moment of glory when goal is reached.

Anthony comes back to his project Hot Lava Lucy 5.13a and sends it:

Mock comps for training


It is all very simple, if you want to succeed in something then you have to practice it. It is hard to inflict enough how important mock comps are for the climbers training for bouldering comps.

Some training results are quantitative in nature, for example, number of pull-ups you can do or highest boulder grade you can climb. We tend to use only quantitative parameters to track our progress or compare ourself to others. Why? Because it is easy to use such parameters: “I send V(N) on regular basis, my competitors straggle to climb V(N-1), therefore I am in good position”. However, there are many aspects in sport competitive climbing that hard to put in numbers; one of them is readiness to deliver in 4 minutes under the stress. But once you admit to yourself that a lot of different things are required for successful competing (that is how multidimensional the task is) then the next step is not hard to figure out: train specifically for 4 minutes hard climbs with target on flashing.

Interestingly enough, when you are regularly doing mock comps you are able to track your progress and analyze it quantitatively. Simply keep writing down number of flashes and attempts and the grades. More flashes and less attempts to top per mock comp will show the progress. (That brings us to the topic of a training log, see post https://psyched2climb.com/2015/01/16/training-daily-log)

It really helps when someone else (coach) creates mock comp problems for you. Do it in non-home-gym (best) or on new set in your home-gym. Also do not be shy to record the video of you climbing, you might be surprised while watching it after the mock comp. Here are some examples of my own recent experience doing mocks.

Mock 1. Did well on first two problems; 3d problem has long reach with right hand from the start hold on a big spherical volume, then swing while catching under-cling sloper with left hand. The recorded video shows that after first two attempts I do not believe anymore in myself doing the move (body language, face expression). 4 minutes of climbing are over, I have to rest, but decide to try one more time (no stress now) and the problem goes. Conclusion: I have to control my thoughts, do not let disbelieving to sneak in.

Mock 2. First problem took so much of my strength with toe hooking arete and high steps on slopers, but I top in 4 min with many tries. Flashed second. Beginning of third problem was intentionally super hard (non doable perhaps) for me, the intention was to “break” me. And I mentally broke (on mock!), everything went wrong after that. Conclusion: yes, it is super hard not to let negative emotions to take over you, but it is an essential skill for successful competitor.

Mock 3. First problem has running start, for the sole purpose to stress me: comp usually does not go well if you have not finished first problem (worse if you could not grab first hold). The jump looks big, the start hold is big but under-cling. I failed to stick start hold on first attempt; succeeded to grab it on second attempt, long reach for sloppy block before finish, going with one hand and intuitively adding second hand, saved. The rest of the mock goes perfect.

ABS16 Youth Nationals took place in Madison WI on last weekend. On the flight to Madison on Sunday I got very sick, right before the comp, the worse nightmare ever. Pretty much spent 3 days in the bed coughing, depressed; on Wednesday we decided to exchange tickets and go home. But Thursday morning I felt some life in me, instead of going home we registered me for the event. I had to give all I had to pass qualifiers; passed semi’s on Friday and felt that my body was on its way of recovering from the illness; 4th place in finals; miracle.

Thanks to the mock comps:

  • I could focus and flash routes.
  • I managed to pass both qualifiers and semi’s with pushing myself hard in last 30 sec of the last route, I did not loose focus for 4 min.
  • Finishing instinct gave me important 2 tops in finals.
  • Last 20 sec of the last route in finals got me to 4th place (and US team invitation).

All ABS16 videos are available on Louder Than 11 Youtube channel. Pick camera/problem at the top of youtube window.

MYC Semis:

1 Problem: http://youtu.be/8TPd9uBpzG0?t=31m4s

2 Problem: http://youtu.be/8TPd9uBpzG0?t=37m4s

3 Problem: http://youtu.be/8TPd9uBpzG0?t=47m41s

MYC Finals:

1 Problem: http://youtu.be/GD3TUcj4Ank?t=15m30s

2 Problem: http://youtu.be/GD3TUcj4Ank?t=21m21s

3 Problem: http://youtu.be/GD3TUcj4Ank?t=30m7s

My schedule before ABS16 Nationals

One thing I must remember while training my strength: you don’t get strong training, you get strong resting as your muscles rebuild. The main trick is to get your muscles chance to recover when they need it; for that you have to get into the right rhythm of training and resting.

Schedule is gonna be:

  • 1 day of motivational climbing outside or in different gym, on weekend
  • 1 day workouts on fingerboard
  • 1 day cross-fit and core workouts
  • 1 day workouts and climbing problems that work my weakness
  • at least 2 days of rest

Some days with the climbing team some days myself.

Training daily log

After ABS16 regionals I have decided to be more professional in my training. For the month from regionals to divisionals I kept a log with my daily routines. The format of the Daily Log is individual and has to depend on your goals.

My goals were:

  1. improve diet and loose weight;
  2. correct my life style, particularly the time when I wake up and go to bed;
  3. be able to do more hard climbs per session.

Correspondingly, in my log I had fields to record my weight, wake up and bed time. Also how many vegetables I eat and how many hard bouldering problems I have sent each day.

Here are the reasons why the log helped me:

  1. it served as a planner and helped with scheduling events; for every week and every day I would outline my plans that I could discuss with my coaches;
  2. seeing the numbers and facts in the log made it clear to me where I had lack of focus and discipline;
  3. improvements indicated by the data confirmed that I am on the right path, that in its turn made me to work even harder towards my goals.

Now let me present some data.

I took five days from the beginning of the log and its end, for each day I summed the number of hard routes ( V5 and harder for me) with corresponding weight depending on difficulty, the score improved from 54 to 69.

Also, every week I had a strength evaluation test. My strength numbers where improving every week, the most noticeable improvements were:

  1. Max # sit-ups went from 120 to 210.
  2. One Arm Lock of went from 13 sec to 23 sec on right arm and from 16 sec to 27 sec on left arm.
  3. Finger board Lock-Off went from 29 sec to 40 sec.


  • Keeping a log helps.
  • You should organize data in your log to be suitable for a quantitative analysis, information like “I feel strong” wont help unless you are going to count days when you feel “strong” or “weak”, try to express everything in numbers.
  • Don’t be lazy filling out your log, a half complete log is worth almost nothing because it doesn’t allow you to render any conclusion.
  • Seeing numbers has its magic, you really want to do better than you did last time being it number of pull-ups or number of hard climbs.

Other than one accident I flashed all routes in qualifiers and finals and took 2nd place. Most important, I felt strong, prepared and confident. Thanks to the log.


Dealing with failures

I found a photo with me from ABS15 in Colorado last year.


What a glorious day it was, I crushed all the holds, first place in semifinals. Next day, finals, I hit my leg on the first route and could not finish it. I guess it broke my spirit, I did not climb well the rest. What then? Well, then you have reoccurring questions in your mind: what went wrong? what is my weakness? was I too nervous or what? And your coaches ask you these questions. Oh, boy, my 10 y.o. mind did not like those questions at all but I new that unless I find the answers I can’t be better in competing. And that is my point: look for answers even if it is painful process.