You’ve probably heard that “balance” is one of the most important skills to have for rock climbing. It’s true; a lot of the technique involves balancing on your feet, and usually one foot, as you move up the rock.
But it’s not only that simple. It’s also important to learn how to hold yourself still, to use your muscles to shift your weight from one foot to the other slowly and smoothly. Generally, as you climb, you’ll keep your torso stationary and move a hand or foot up to the next hold. This is sometimes called the rule of “3-point contact” and refers to the practice of only moving one foot or hand at a time while your other limbs stay on the rock.
For example, you might keep both feet on the rock, hold on with one hand, and shift your weight to the left or right to reach a new handhold. Likewise, you might hold on with both hands, keep one foot set, and lift your other foot up to a new hold. The trick is to stay smooth, keep your body still, and shift your center of gravity from left to right and up. It’s this deliberate and precise moving that we meaning by “balancing.”
Are you rock climbing this summer?