Sports & Gaming

Balance and Movement

Alex Honnold & Tommy Caldwell

Lesson time 05:46 min

Learn various balance techniques for moving more efficiently.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Balance and Movement • Flagging • Liebacking • Positioning Your Hips • Stemming • Palming • Dyno •


[MUSIC PLAYING] - There's definitely a misconception that climbing is all about hands and feet. When I'm climbing the Bess, I think of my body as like one giant hand. Every finger of my body operates in conjunction with the other parts of my body. Body positioning and balance really is what creates the flow and the art, the dance that becomes climbing. [MUSIC PLAYING] As in all climbing techniques, it really is a matter of visualizing first what you're going to be doing. When climbing, you are your hips. So it's always best to think about movement in terms of where you're going to move your hips first. You should always be thinking about whether your hips are over your feet and taking the tension off of your arms, or whether you're going to extend out to another hold by kind of swinging your hip as a bit of a like pendulum point. Where your hips are in comparison to the wall really depends a lot on the angle of the routes. Oftentimes, if it's a more vertical route, you want to keep your hips close to the wall so that you can have as much weight on your feet as possible. But if it's a slab, you want to keep your hips away from the wall so that you can drive your feet perpendicular to the surface of the wall so they don't slip out. On overhanging terrain, you oftentimes use your hips as a bit of ballast to kind of swing you around from one hole to the next. As you progress as a climber, you will really be able to tell that you're getting better by the way that your body feels as you move along the wall. [MUSIC PLAYING] So flagging is a technique that you use to balance your body by placing a foot out to the side or across your body and creating kind of a counterbalance point. When flagging, you usually have one decent hold for one of your feet and then you place your other foot off to the side, just as a balance point. It doesn't even generally need to be on a hold when flagging. [MUSIC PLAYING] Liebacking is an opposition technique, oftentimes used in cracks or dihedrals. A dihedral is simply an inside corner to a rock. When liebacking, you grab a sideways hold with generally both hands, and then you hike your feet up pretty high and you oppose your hands and your feet. A good way to think of liebacking is that classic image of climbing a coconut tree. You're pushing your feet straight into the tree and then you're using your hands to oppose out on the other side of the tree. [MUSIC PLAYING] Stemming is typically done in a dihedral or inside corner where you press your feet out and down to hold you into position. You're sort of starfished in a corner, pressing you with your feet and your hands and working your way up that corner. [MUSIC PLAYING] Palming is much like stemming, but done with your hands. To palm, you just open your hand up completely. You place it on the wall, generally out to the side of you. And then you extend from the elbow and the shoulder and you app...

About the Instructor

With more than 60 combined years of elite rock climbing experience, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell have scaled some of the largest—and most extreme—walls in the world. Now, the stars of Free Solo and The Dawn Wall are teaming up to share their tried-and-true techniques for tackling any wall. From the fundamentals of footwork and body and hand positioning to mental exercises and advanced holds and movements, you’ll learn how to take on new challenges and push yourself further on and off the wall.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Alex Honnold & Tommy Caldwell

Stars of “Free Solo” and “The Dawn Wall” Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell teach lessons from more than 60 years of combined rock climbing experience.

Explore the Class
Sign Up