15. Body Tension

By maintaining body tension throughout the entire body, a climber minimizes unnecessary movement or swinging.

A loss in body tension between hand and footholds often results in undesired swings away from the wall. This greatly increases your chances of falling.  

Maintaining body tension between hand and footholds gives the climber more control while climbing.  Precise movement saves energy, and will increase the time a climber can spend on the wall.  

There are two common ways a climber will lose their body tension while climbing:

1. By allowing themselves to become too stretched out while climbing: A good way to avoid becoming too extended, is to make one or more foot movements for every hand move.  

If you find yourself doing three, four, or five hand moves without moving your feet, chances are your feet are about to cut away and your body is about to swing away from the wall.  

2. By climbing with bent arms: When you pull with your arms and upper body, you will in turn be pulling your own body weight off of the footholds, and losing body tension. Try to climb with straight arms whenever possible.

Finding the balance of power between pushing on your footholds and pulling with your arms can be tricky. The ability to maintain body tension, and know when to cut away the feet, are skills found  in every advanced climber’s toolkit.

We hope you found this video helpful. Feel free to comment below with questions or thoughts!


Please remember, climbing is inherently dangerous. Climb at your own risk.