Academy: Point Your Shoulder at the Next Hold

Part of our "Toes to Knows" Climbing Academy series--covering climbing from footwork to mental preparation.

Tags: Beginner, Movement

Staying in balance as you climb up the rock is critical if you’re trying to lessen your overall effort and climb harder. In our last video, we discussed using good hip rotation as one way to improve balance. Another method driving the same result is to point your shoulder at the hold you’re reaching for.

If you watch this video closely, you’ll see that Haley has a hard time staying in balance when she doesn’t point her shoulders at the holds. This is a result of too much weight on the hand that’s moving. As soon as she takes that hand off the wall, her body falls downward and she has to lunge off her opposite hand to be able to make the reach. That’s takes a lot of energy.

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In the second attempt, she aggressively points her shoulder at the hold and is able to climb with balance and easily do each move. Because her shoulder is pointing, she also has a little more reach to be able to grab the holds.

Shoulder Pointed Comparison

Pointing your shoulder at the hold comes with three key benefits.

  1. It increases your reach
  2. It helps keep you in better balance
  3. It pulls your hips into proper rotation

Key Points

A great drill to practice this move it to climb a few warmup boulders twice. On the first attempt, don’t point your shoulder at the next hold. On the second attempt, aggressively point that shoulder as you reach. I suspect you’ll find pointing your shoulder makes the movement a lot easier.

Practice this enough until it becomes habit and you’ll definitely climb better.



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