Five Simple Exercises For Better Footwork


Struggling to nab tricky heel hooks? Or feeling like you can’t toe-in on steep climbs? These exercises, from Favia Dubyk, will help.

  1. Wall Sits: With your legs shoulder-width apart, lean your upper body against a wall. Lower your body until your legs are making a right angle, and feel the burn! Try to hold for one minute.
  2. Pistol Squats: These are more advanced than wall squats, but they have a direct translation to climbing. I prefer to do these while holding my foot, but definitely not necessary. If you’re struggling, try them while holding TRX bands for support.
  3. Side Lunge: With your feet very wide, shift your weight over to one leg. Then shift your weight to the other leg. Do this 10x per a leg!
  4. Single Leg Glute Bridge: This is good for practicing the butt/hamstring activation needed for heel hooks. Lay down on the ground with one foot down on the ground and the other leg pointing straight in the air. Lift your hips off the ground, and then bring them back down to the ground. Switch legs. Try 10 reps per leg.
  5. Glute Bridge and Slide: I learned how to do heel hooks by practicing them on an exercise ball. Place one heel on the exercise ball and have your other leg raised in the air. Start with your arms down on the ground by your hips. Roll the ball towards you and away from you. To make it harder, put your hands in the air, so you can only stabilize with your leg! I also like to adjust the angle of my heel in order to simulate different heel hook angles. If you don’t have a ball, use a towel or sliders.



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Tricep Exercises for Climbers

  • Based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Favia Dubyk is an avid boulderer that loves training, particularly hangboarding. Dubyk became obsessed with training after conquering advanced stage cancer. She had to undergo multiple surgeries and months of chemotherapy that wrecked her body. Focused and intense training helped her regain her confidence and strength. Now she especially enjoys learning new exercises and sharing them with others! Outside of climbing, Dubyk is a physician at the University of New Mexico, where she practices pathology. She also enjoys photography---often capturing images of her rottweiler-doberman dog, five cats, and her mountain-biking husband, Brian, during their many adventures in the Southwest.

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