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Static vs. Dynamic Rock Climbing: What’s the Difference?

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Rock climbing has grown in popularity in recent years, and with this growth has come more spotlight on the styles of rock climbing. Most climbing styles and movements can be categorized as static or dynamic, but what is the difference? 

We are here to help clear up any confusion! We’ll be talking about the pros and cons of each style and offering you some of our favorite tips for static and dynamic climbing. 

What is Static Style Rock Climbing

What is Static Style Rock Climbing?

Static rock climbing is a style of climbing that involves using slow and controlled movements to get up the climb. Static movements are great for focusing on technique and can even help minimize the chance of injury while climbing. 

You might have also heard the term static being used to describe ropes in climbing, but this is not what we are discussing here. Static ropes vs. dynamic ropes is a completely different discussion than static vs. dynamic climbing, but it is not what we are having here.

What is Dynamic Style Rock Climbing

What is Dynamic Style Rock Climbing?

Dynamic climbing is a large contrast to static climbing. Dynamic climbing moves are short and fast. They take a lot of effort to complete and can help you reach holds that you might not have been able to reach with static moves. 

The most common technique in dynamic climbing is called a dyno. Dynos are moves that require leaping or jumping from one set of holds to another. These moves take a lot of practice but are excellent for rapid movement up the rock. 

Pros and Cons of Static Climbing

Pros and Cons of Static Climbing

When comparing static vs dynamic climbing, it is important to look at the pros and cons of each style of climbing. Here are a few of the pros and cons of static climbing: 

Pros of Static Climbing

  • Conserves energy 

Static climbing takes significantly less energy than dynamic climbing, making it a great option for someone who wants to climb for a long session or is doing an endurance style of climb. Longer climbs are often made easier by relying on static movements to help pace your energy exertion throughout the climb. 

  • Minimize the risk of injury. 

Static climbing is often used by sport or trad climbers who are at a high risk of injury if they did fall while clipping or while close to the next bolt or piece of gear. In static climbing, you always hold on or stand on to some hold on the wall. This helps minimize the chance of falls, which helps minimize the chance that you will get hurt. 

  • It gives you time to focus on the technique. 

Static climbing is often viewed as the best way to learn to climb because it allows you to move slowly and with purpose, giving you time to focus on all the new techniques you might be learning. Learning techniques when you first start climbing will help improve your climbing greatly as you continue to climb. 

Cons of Static Climbing

  • Slow to get up the rock 

Static climbing is slow. There is no way around it. It lacks the flashy, fast movements of dynamic climbing and instead can often be almost meditative. Static movement is not for you if you want to climb fast. 

  • Not always great for big reaches 

There are always going to be moves that can not be done statically. Big reaches or moves that go over a blank part of the wall are often almost impossible to be done statically. Dynamic moves allow you to reach farther but do carry more risk. 

Pros and Cons of Dynamic Climbing

Pros and Cons of Dynamic Climbing

Since static vs dynamic styles differ greatly, here are some of the pros and cons of dynamic climbing: 

Pros of Dynamic Climbing

  • It allows you to move quickly 

Dynamic climbing is fast. Since we just discussed how slow static climbing can be, it makes sense that dynamic climbing is fast. It allows you to get up sections of the rock in a much shorter time, which can be excellent for boulder problems that rely on the constant movement of your body weight to get yourself up them. 

  • It helps reach holds that are out of reach. 

Dynamic moves are jumping. We might call them something different, but every dynamic movement involves some jumping motion. Jumping is the only way to reach holds that are out of your reach, so dynamic moves are great for shorter climbers or just pushing to a hold you can’t grab from standing. 

  • Increases agility and quick thinking 

While static climbing allows you to slow down and think through each move, dynamic climbing requires you to think on your feet. You have to develop good agility and quick thinking skills if you plan on using many dynamic climbing techniques in your climbing practice. 

Cons of Dynamic Climbing

  • Less reliance on technique 

When you are practicing dynamic climbing, that is the only technique you are working on. All other climbing techniques require you to use static climbing to use them. Dynamic climbing doesn’t rely on other climbing techniques, which can sometimes be a detriment to new climbers who solely focus on dynamic climbing. 

  • Increased risk of injury due to falls 

Even when done well, there will always be more risk to dynamic than to static climbing. Since you are launching yourself off and pushing upwards in dynamic climbing, there is always a chance that you won’t catch the next hold. Because of this jump, the risk of injury is much greater in dynamic climbing than in static climbing.

Key Differences Between Static and Dynamic Climbing

Key Differences Between Static and Dynamic Climbing

Some of the key differences between static and dynamic climbing techniques are easy to see, but others are not. Here are some of the major differences between these two styles of climbing. 

  • Fast vs. slow

Dynamic climbing is much faster than static climbing. Dynamic climbing is excellent for boulder problems, while static climbing is amazing for sport or trad climbing. Both styles of climbing can be used for top-rope climbing since the main difference between using dynamic and static climbing is that style of climbing is speed. 

  • Safe vs. risky 

Static climbing is safer and usually results in fewer major injuries than riskier dynamic climbing. Because you are jumping in dynamic climbing, the chance of falling is pretty high, and every fall carries with it the chance of injury. Moving slowly and methodically, like with static climbing, is much less likely to injure you. 

  • Endurance vs. speed 

Speed climbing is characterized by dynamic movements, while long, endurance climbs rely solely on static movements. Depending on if you value speed or endurance, you are likely to trend towards either dynamic or static climbing. 

How to Become Better in Both Styles

How to Become Better in Both Styles

Becoming better in both dynamic and static styles of climbing will take time. Here are some of our favorite tips to help you improve in each style of climbing: 

Static Climbing 

  • Take a rock climbing technique for beginners class 

Taking a class is the best way to learn climbing techniques as a beginner. These intro classes will focus on static climbing. 

  • Work on your core strength. 

You rely on your core a lot in static climbing, so make sure you work out your core. 

  • Focus on one limb at a time. 

Try climbing for 20 minutes but only moving one limb at a time. This will help you focus on being slow and methodical with your movements. 

Dynamic Climbing

  • Work on your leg strength 

Your legs are what propels you in dynamic climbing, so make sure you are keeping them in good shape. 

  • Practice in a safe falling space

Practice, practice, practice, but make sure you do it in a safe space. Practising in a gym is often best, either over a nice mat or while on the top rope. 

  • Look at the hold that you want to catch. 

Instead of looking at your feet or hands, look at the hold you want your hands to catch. It might sound simple, but this tip can help make dynamic climbing much easier.

Which Type of Climbing Style Is For You

Which Type of Climbing Style Is For You?

Each style of climbing has its own pros and cons, but there really is no need to pick only one style of climbing. Most climbers use a mixture of static climbing and dynamic climbing, depending on the circumstances they are in. 

For example, if you are projecting a hard boulder problem, you may want to try climbing dynamically. On the other hand, if you are leading a sport climb, you may want to focus on climbing statically. The style you use is completely up the climb you are on. 

Wrapping Things Up: Static vs. Dynamic Rock Climbing

Figuring out the difference between static and dynamic climbing is simple, but mastering both is much harder. Remember that if you are pushing off from the rock and doing short, fast movements, you are climbing dynamically. If you are moving slowly and methodically, you are climbing statically. Both styles are excellent in their own ways, so make sure you practice both and are able to implement either to help your climbing when the circumstances call for it.

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