Advanced bouldering techniques - dynamics
Dynamic climbing is essentially climbing quickly, relying on momentum and timing rather than just strength and stamina to make upward progress.
It can help the weaker climber overcome powerful moves and when performed correctly it is an energy efficient and kinaesthetically pleasing technique that is useful to any climber. Taken to its extreme, it also makes possible moves that could not be done statically.
The power behind a dynamic move all comes from the legs
- Propel with your legs - steer with your arms
- Look where you're going
- Focus and commit
- Timing is everything
The power behind a dynamic move all comes from the legs. They are much stronger than your arms and will launch you much farther, and using your legs will as conserve your precious arm strength for other moves. Determining which footholds to use takes practise. Usually, the biggest footholds will provide the most launch, but on some occasions more suitably placed, smaller footholds may work better. If you are moving sideways, make sure that the foot opposite to the direction of travel is higher than the other. This will give you a smoother take off and guide your trajectory more accurately.
Dynamic movement © Mark Glaister
Unless the move is unfeasibly far, keep your feet on the rock for as long as possible throughout the action, as this makes 'hanging' (achieving) the hold you're going for much easier. Position your feet as high as possible without passing your point of balance. This point varies for each climber depending upon leg strength and flexibility. Usually your feet should be below your hips.
Use of Arms
Use your arms as pivots to direct the move. On steeper ground, you can keep your arms relatively straight as you pivot about your starting handhold. The steeper the rock, the straighter your arms can be throughout the move. Easier-angled dynamic moves require more vertical gain. As you propel yourself with your legs, you must bend your arms to direct you up and in towards the rock, not out into space.
Look where you're going!
Focus on your destination handhold. When you launch, commit with 100 per cent conviction that you will 'stick that hold'. Check out the fall prior to your attempt and don't think about when in flight. Only look to the landing after you realise you didn't make it!
For a split second, you'll be motionless with zero velocity as your direction changed from up to down.
This moment is the key 'deadpoint'...
The secret to dynamic climbing is timing. Your body's swing, thrust, pull, release and snatch must all be in perfect time to produce optimum results.
If you were to do a squat jump you would spring up into the air then fall back down to the ground. But at the high point of that jump, for a split second, you would be motionless with zero velocity as your direction changed from up to down.
This moment is the 'deadpoint' and this principle is the key to all dynamic movement, particularly if the destination holds are poor. The 'deadpoint' should be the moment your hand hits the hold with your arm fully straight, as this is the moment of least weight transfer. Accuracy is very important. Do not overshoot the hold - this will increase the initial weight transfer onto the hold making it harder to 'hang' and more likely to cause injury.
In large or sideways 'dynos' it is sometimes necessary to build up momentum before launching for a hold. Don't swing or bounce too much, one or two motions should provide sufficient power to cover any gap if released at precisely the right moment, at the apex of the swing. Practice and watch your friends practice dynamic movement. Notice their body positions when they do it correctly and incorrectly.
- Focus on your destination hold
- Breath out as you launch
- Commit with 100 per cent conviction
- Be aware of your body. Dynamic movement can easily strain shoulders, elbows etc.