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One essential exercise to improve footwork and body tension.

Time:10-15 minutes
Equipment:Pull-up bar and optional partner
Difficulty: Beginner with Advanced variations available

josh yes no (2)

the Hollow Position

INTRODUCTION: Bringing your legs up is one of the fundamental movements of life, and is at least half of climbing. Call it abs, call it core, call it hip flexion, call it whatever – it’s crucial to moving well on the wall!  This exercise emphasizes the fundamentals of moving your legs while hanging from your hands.

Josh grid

9-point Grid

1. Hang from a Bar and Position your body into the “Hollow” hanging position, remaining tight and engaged in the shoulders, core and legs.

2. Warm-up with the most basic form of the exercise with an Ab Tuck. Bring your knees to your chest and slowly return to starting stance of the hollow position.

3. Have a partner stand about 2 feet away. (If you’re flying solo, simply visualize a 9 dot grid of points to press your foot onto. See photo to the left.)

Josh lower point

Middle point

4. Have your partner raise their hand and extend their finger into a spot in front of you. (See grid photo to the right.)

5. Now slowly lift your leg, bending at the knee, and press your foot on the finger as if it was a foothold.

6. Imagine your partner’s finger is a foothold on a roof, and focus on placing it as precisely as possible.

Josh higher point

Higher point

7. Make sure you place the part of your foot that you use while climbing (big toe/first toe) and really grab it!

8. The leg that is not moving should remain tight, straight and engaged. Not relaxed.

9. Slowly bring the foot back down and repeat with the other leg.

10. Aim to complete the grid, switch and do it again or if you have a partner, go till failure!

Lower the intensity-
-Do ab tucks with your knees bent, tucking and lowering back into the 10%. Tension should be full body.
-Complete a 6 point grid instead of 9 points.
-Simply practice mastering the Hollowed Position.

Increase the intensity-
-Choose a wide range of points to push on, further away and closer than the 2 feet guideline. Get creative!
-Add shoes – increasingly heavier (first climbing shoes, then sneakers)
-Once you are exhausted by the foot placements, continue hanging on the bar (don’t relax those abs!) and perform controlled tucks to exhaustion, and then hold the hollow body position for as long as possible.

* Never relax in the bottom position. The bottom position is the “Hollow Body” position, and is an exercise itself!  Your whole body should be tense the entire time. Do not relax through the shoulders or hips. Stay tight!
* The slower and more controlled the better. Try to only move your leg(s). Everything else should stay as still as possible.
* If you are twisting or turning your hips to reach your partners finger, it may be too far away. Keep your unmoving leg facing straight ahead, do not allow it to excessively splay out to the side.
* Count your sets using time, not reps.
* Go for longer sets of easier movements if training for sport climbing.
* Shorter sets of more complex foot placements for bouldering.


Josh Power of Silence

 WOW submitted by Josh Horsley: Josh started climbing 20 years ago after his competitive gymnastics career fizzled out. Josh’s current obsession in rock climbing is scaring himself on beautiful, tall, hard, boulders. He loves traveling all over the world for climbing and never says no to a trip. His other passions are nutrition and cooking – he’s the guy around the campfire with a gourmet meal in his tupperware.


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IMPORTANT: Climbing and climbing training, such as the exercises in the WOW, are inherently dangerous activities.  Participation in these exercises is done at your own risk.  If you have any injuries, we recommend you do not attempt a WOW.  If you have any concerns about your abilities or the exercises, consult a qualified medical practitioner or athletic trainer. Before using the fitness area, equipment, classes or any other training at Planet Granite, it is your responsibility to read and understand the posted gym rules and Safety Guidelines found here: