Academy: X-Motion Movement Pattern

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

Tags: Beginner, Intermediate, Movement

X-motion is my name for the most basic movement pattern used in quality climbing. X-motion creates balance by anchoring your body in a series of X’s as you ascend a wall. If you struggle with balance when climbing, or feel yourself barn-dooring off the wall frequently, X-motion may help you climb better. Read on to learn more.

Efficient climbing requires excellent balance. The best way to create that balance the majority of the time is to anchor your balance across your body from one hand to the opposite foot. The hand and foot become anchors, then, using tension across your torso between these anchor points, you can free up the other hand to move it up the wall.

This line of tension creates half of the “X” in X-motion. The other half of the X is created when you grab a handhold with your free hand, then anchor from that hand to your other foot. As you ascend the wall, you create a series of X’s that comprise X-motion.

Watch the video above to see this in motion. In that video, my friend Haley climbs a wall using excellent X-motion technique. In the picture below, Haley is demonstrating both halves of the X. In the left picture, she’s anchored left hand to right foot, allowing her to freely move her right hand. In the right picture, the opposite is true. Taken together, she’s climbing in a series of half-X’s.

While there are always difficult moves that will break this pattern, X-motion offers excellent balance and efficient movement 90% of the time. If you struggle with balance and feel yourself lunging for a lot of holds, experiment with X-motion. I suspect it will improve your climbing.

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