Improving your climbing and taking on harder routes does not only depend on increasing strength and nailing dynos. There is one climbing technique that combines dynamic movement and static control to help you tackle some challenging climbing moves—the deadpoint.
The deadpoint takes advantage of the inertia created for a split second after you throw your body upwards, to give you enough time to grab the next hold. Just at the time that you feel you are in an insecure position, and you will fall at any moment, you can use the deadpoint to stay on the wall.
There are cases when you can’t just explode away from the wall and jump to the next hold, especially if the target hold is not so good. In those cases, you need to use more technique and keep at least half of your body on the wall while you extend your reaching side upwards. That’s why you should start your deadpoint practice.
We will look at how to deadpoint, share climbing technique tips, and common mistakes climbers do when deadpointing. Finally, we will share some of our recommendations for tutorial videos on YouTube.
What is a Deadpoint in Climbing?
A deadpoint is essentially a controlled dynamic climbing movement. Climbers use it mostly when they cannot reach a hold statically. While executing it, you reach for the target hold with one hand, while the other hand and one or both feet are stable on the wall.
The word deadpoint refers to the moment your body is in full extension, and you reach the hold with your hand. For a split second, you feel weightlessness, and you get the opportunity to grab the target hold.
What differentiates a deadpoint from a classic dyno (dynamic movement) is the fact that one or both feet are still on the wall when you reach. While when doing a dyno, the movement is more explosive, and the feet leave the wall. Sometimes even both hands will pull out of the wall.
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Why is Knowing How to Deadpoint Important in Climbing?
Sometimes, just your strength is not enough to execute a movement. Using the momentum and timing involved in a dynamic movement can make all the difference. Combined with the control that is necessary to execute the deadpoint, you get a move that is fluid and stable and can securely get you to the next hold.
- Using the deadpoint, you will be able to reach holds that feel are too far for a static movement but are not such good holds that you can grab and hang on them using a dyno. It helps you extend your reach by learning how to extend your body while keeping it engaged.
- By practicing the deadpoint technique, you will get used to pushing with your feet and using your legs more, and not to rely only on your arms to execute a challenging dynamic move. Your feet and legs are what grounds you and helps you to lift up the rest of your body. If you don’t have a solid foundation, any action you try to perform with your upper body will not be as stable.
- Being able to deadpoint successfully means you have the skill of reading a move, committing to it fully, and, most importantly, coordinating your body and all the elements of the movement correctly.
- By practicing the deadpoint, you will develop more awareness of your body and how you transfer your weight. More awareness and control, which are requirements for a successful deadpoint, also mean less chance of injury.
The deadpoint is useful in many situations, and it improves your climbing style overall, making it more smooth and fluid.
How to Practice Your Deadpoint Effectively in Climbing
When to Deadpoint
Deadpoint comes in handy when you feel you can’t reach a hold so easily. It’s also a great climbing technique to know on steeper climbs. When the hand holds available are not so good, it’s challenging to reach them with complete control, so a more dynamic movement is required. That’s when the deadpoint comes in.
So let’s look at the steps required to execute the deadpoint:
1. Set up before reaching for the next hold. Make sure your foot or feet are planted on the holds below, and you are ready to push downwards to throw your body upwards.
2. Focus on the hold you are reaching for and fully commit to making the movement while you launch upwards.
3. Use momentum to perform the movement. Do that by dropping the hips lower. Then use the feet to push you upwards in a powerful movement while immediately pulling in with the hand that is on the wall. At the same time, reach for the next hold with the other hand. Timing is very important for the move to succeed.
4. When you catch the hold, your body needs to be in full extension. Keep your legs and arms straight and your core engaged. Body tension will ensure control in the movement.
5. During the whole movement and after you catch the hold, you shouldn’t move around or shift your other hand and foot. So the reason this dynamic movement is considered to have an element of control is that some parts of your body stay stable, while a part of your body reaches up. You need to maintain that control and body tension and then bring your hips again close to the wall to continue your climb.
By doing this movement as fast as you can, you achieve a moment where you feel weightless. This is often likened to when you throw something in the air, at the moment just before it starts falling back down. That moment is what we call the deadpoint.
That split second, as long as you are precise, will give you enough time to grip the target hold.
Sometimes you can keep both feet on the wall, but there are times when you are only going to be able to keep one foot stable on the wall.
Deadpoint Technique Tips for Rock Climbing Beginners and Intermediates
The deadpoint is a complicated movement that involves many elements. So the most important tip we can give you is to practice, in order to find the coordination needed to master the deadpoint. Other than that, here are some tips that will help you:
- Align your center of gravity directly below the target hold. When catching the hold, your hips should be beneath and in the same line as the hold.
- Use your hips to direct your movement. Leading the movement with your hips by swinging them in is the most seamless and controlled way to transfer your weight inwards and upwards towards the hold. The hips are key to keeping your center of gravity below the target hold and avoid swinging away from the wall. Turning your hips slightly inwards will also make it feel like you have more time at the deadpoint moment to secure the target hold in your grip.
- Keep holding tension in your body at the end of the deadpoint. You want to stop, and achieve stillness when you reach that hold rather than swinging away from the wall. You can achieve more tension by keeping your core engaged and focusing on your hand and feet that are on the wall.
- A strong core will help you by giving you more balance and the ability to push through the feet more.
- To practice, try to reach for different types of holds to get used to the movement. Further on, we are linking to a great tutorial on training for the deadpoint movement.
- Coordination is key. Remember to push down with the legs and pull with your hand at the same time you are reaching with your other hand to propel yourself upwards.
- Practicing on the campus board ladder will help with your deadpoint accuracy. You need to develop accuracy and the fast-twitch muscles that give you contact strength (the initial force you apply to a hold, usually a determinant of whether you will stay on it or fall off).
- Practice bringing your hips in toward the wall and recognizing the point where you feel more balanced. At that point, you are momentarily stationary before you start to fall back down. Then at that moment, go for the hold. It usually means you have slightly more time to catch a hold right the first time.
- “Put your mind in your hand.” Concentrate almost entirely on the reaching hand. Focusing helps you to be faster and more accurate.
- If as you shoot upwards, you feel a foot slipping from the wall, it’s better to let go to avoid a tendon injury.
Common Deadpoint Mistakes
The deadpoint is a quite complicated technique that consists of coordinating a multitude of movements. It also requires skill that can be achieved through practice. There are, however, some common mistakes that you can avoid, and we share them here:
1. Not using momentum properly: It’s important to drop down a bit so that your feet can push you upwards, and you can extend your body enough to reach the next hold. If you don’t use momentum, the movement becomes much harder. However, there are times when it’s challenging to find that space to drop down and gain momentum. On the other hand, if you swing too much before going for the move, you can lose from accuracy and stability. You need to limit your moves and make them targeted.
2. Overshooting: It’s essential to be accurate, as overshooting will mean you are transferring more of your weight that’s needed, and when you reach the moment of least weight transfer, your hand won’t be in the best position for grabbing the hold and hanging. Overshooting and missing the target can also cause injury.
3. Not using your legs and feet: If you don’t use your feet enough to push down on the holds, your body will not be extended enough, and your legs may remain bent. It’s important to use your entire reach and extend your whole body, keeping your arms and legs straight for increased tension.
4. Engagement: Not engaging your core and keeping your body tense enough. Core tension and body engagement are essential for the control and stability of your movement.
5. Speed: Being too slow pulling up or not coordinating your reach to be on point can lead you to miss the hold you are aiming for and the deadpoint.
6. Lastly, if you feel you are at the end of your session, or you feel you are tired, it’s better not to try practicing the deadpoint, as you would be more prone to falling and injuring yourself.
Helpful Deadpoint Tutorials on YouTube
To help you combine theory with practice, we found some great tutorial videos on YouTubethat showcase the deadpoint technique. Seeing the technique applied in the field will definitely make it easier to figure out its body mechanics.
Neil Grasham’s masterclass gives the key components to executing the deadpoint technique successfully:
This tutorial goes over technique tips for deadpoint practice and some common mistakes to avoid:
Watch this video for some simple ways and drills to practice deadpoint:
Wrapping Things Up: Final Things to Remember for How to Deadpoint
The deadpoint, not only has a cool name, but it is also a cool and incredibly useful climbing technique to master. This dynamic climbing movement combines static elements to help you reach challenging holds that are further away.
Achieving that moment of weightlessness after you extend your body will give you just enough time to grab a hold that may not be so good.
Let’s go over the key points on perfecting your deadpoint technique and improving your climbing:
- Really focus on the target hold, for increased precision.
- Align your center of gravity with the hold you are reaching for.
- Bring your hips down to gain just enough momentum. The hips should direct the movement.
- Fully extend your body while you reach, keeping your arms and legs as straight as you can.
- Coordinate all the actions that make up the deadpoint: Pushing with the feet, pulling with one hand, and reaching with the other hand.
- Keep your core engaged and maintain body tension for more control in the movement.
- Keep your feet and hand that are on the wall as solid and stable as you can.
- Commit to the movement completely. If you have doubts while you shoot upwards, there’s more chance of falling.
- Don’t practice the deadpoint if you feel you’re too tired.
Most importantly, practice! Improving your climbing takes work. Deadpoint practice with different holds, at different distances, will help you learn how to handle your body weight and improve your balance.
If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like our other climbing tips here.
Make sure to also read our posts on other climbing techniques here:
> How to Drop Knee: Climbing Techniques & Moves
> How to Smear: Climbing Techniques & Moves
> How to Toe Hook: Climbing Techniques & Moves
> How to Backstep: Climbing Techniques & Moves
> How to Mantle: Climbing Techniques & Moves