Interesting Post up at Eva Lopez’s Blog

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Some folks may have already seen this but I just noticed it yesterday so I thought I would put up the link for those who are late to the party such as myself.  Its a post on locking-off in climbing where Lopez presents some of her observations  of climbing movement.

Eva López. Personal Climbing Coaching

While I have some reservations about her methodology and her focus on the upper body to the point of ignoring other important movement variables.  lets celebrate the fact that she uses a methodology!  I am completely serious when I say that. The climbing world is full of opinions about climbing but almost no one actually does pragmatic observations of climbers in action and attempts to apply kinesiological or physiological analytic methods to what they observe. Other than myself and Lopez I can’t think of any others that do this;  yet this should be a foundational element of coaching. Lopez cautions in her post that she is publishing field work not a scientific study, O.K. fair enough, but we need lots and lots more of such field work! The world we should be living in is one in which the top 20 or so coaches in the US are using commonly accepted qualitative and quantitative methods, doing field work and either blogging about what the learn, writing articles, or publishing books based on their observations.  I think that blogging is a really good forum for this because it gets information out there fast, and people can respond to it in a timely manner. Further, there are no publications in the US that seem interested in supporting this kind of writing. Anyway, her analysis is far better than most of what is available on this side of the pond. For example, I picked up Eric Horst’s Conditioning for Climbing for the first time last week and saw this:

“The ability to hold a steady one-arm lock-off is vital for hard bouldering and roped climbing. This exercise is obviously very specific to this need- but it does demand a high level of base strength for proper execution.”(p. 113)  So he makes a claim but as far as we know its not based on anything, there is no analysis, no meaningful definition of what a lock-off is, no explaining of the joint actions and muscles involved, no description of how climbers use this movement. Further, the photo that goes with this text shows Eric himself doing a one-arm lock-off in a way that almost never occurs in climbing, so the exercise he advocates violates the principle of specificity and actually does not train one of the key muscles in elbow flection as it frequently occurs in climbing. Anyway, if you compare Horst and Lopez I think its pragmatic example of what good writing and analysis looks like compared to what we are commonly used to in the American climbing media.

Who are other coaches, climbers, authors, bloggers that you are aware of that do good analysis and are posting it on the web or writing about it elsewhere?

I know that Udo Neumann has done some good analysis in the past. Any one know if he’s posted anything lately?

I should also give a shout out to JF who commented on the front lever thread, his blog ( is interesting in the way he does detailed movement analysis from the perspective of a course setter.



2 Responses to “Interesting Post up at Eva Lopez’s Blog”

  1. Thomas MazurNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Douglas,

    I’ve just found your blog – very impressive stuff! :)

    Anyway, look at, then Udo Neumann website: – not too much, but still interesting.


  2. DouglasNo Gravatar says:

    Hey Thomas, Thanks for the links. I have known about Udo’s site for a long time, I had heard about marvin climbing but never actually found the site. Anyway I think that its time for the SCC blog to have a blog roll with links to these sorts of things!

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