Movement efficiency : the art of climbing vs strength
How to Enhance Your Movement Efficiency ? Climbing is a complex and nuanced activity that requires a dancer’s creativity. Yet the precision of the sport favors an engineer’s mind.
In the gym age, with its hangboards and strength training devices, climbers seem to have drifted away from a focus on movement, towards the measurable metrics of finger strength and pulling power. Whilst these aspects have their place, the combination of creativity and precision that make movement efficiency define a climber’s performance.
The best climbers have a rich imagination and they strive to develop an ever-evolving repertoire of intricate solutions to solve moves. They can work a gaston, a crimp, or a tight compression to move into a strong end position. Becoming creative and seeing these options can be practiced and enhanced.
Movement efficiency, which climbers often define as technique, is both art and skill. It’s the ability to understand and manipulate body position, to maintain balance, and execute intentional movement, all while expending a minimal amount of energy. It is what Tai Chi master Chungliang Al Huang describes well in his book about athletic performance, Thinking Body, Dancing Mind.
This gentle progression allows you to get stronger and stronger in the new position. Before long, this previously weak position is now a strong position. Over time and with intentional creative practice you develop more strength through an ever-expanding range of motion. The end result? You guessed it—greater movement efficiency.
Dynamic moves, though slightly more complicated, follow the same principles of finding balance and efficiency as static moves. Every move, dynamic or static, has an optimum body position. Or end-point that will maximize your likelihood of completing the move. With a dynamic move, there’s a balance between generating enough momentum to reach the hold and using too much power. Forcing an uncontrollable swing. You have to place your body right in the sweet spot.
Photos (c) Aurèle Brémond à la salle Climbing district