By Jerome Rattoni, MovNat Master Instructor

If you want to improve both your climbing skills and abdominal strength, the Foot Pinch is a superb natural movement to begin practicing. This versatile, beginner level climbing skill serves as an effective transitional movement since it leads to a lot of other hanging positions and climbing movements, such as the Leg Hook and Swing Up. If your goal is to eventually take your climbing skills to “above the bar,” learning the Foot Pinch would serve as a good first step for learning how to mount and eventually climb on top of a bar or branch.

Many people struggle with this movement because it does require a tremendous amount of abdominal strength. However, these tips will help you build your strength and skill quickly and safely. So, let’s get started.

Every proper Foot Pinch has 4 or 5 key steps.

  1. Dead Hang from Front or Side orientation (this tutorial is from front hanging orientation)
  2. Optional: Jump and/or Forward Swing to build momentum (e.g. Tap Swing)
  3. Knee Tuck
  4. Hip Lift
  5. Foot Reach and Pinch

Here is the Foot Pinch in action along with some safe progressions for learning it fast…

Naturally, you will need a certain baseline level of both grip strength and core strength to perform this movement effectively and efficiently. With practice, you will develop all the requisite conditioning attributes. However, if you are struggling with these progressions, there are ways to deconstruct the Foot Pinch to isolate specific deficiencies and make it more accessible. It could be as simple as reducing the range of motion, tucking one leg at a time, or walking your feet up a surface of support to practice getting into the position. There are also ground movements that can be used to lay a foundation of skill and conditioning for easier learning.

Regardless of which progression you are working on, focus on:

  • Maintaining a strong grip
  • Keeping your core tight and shoulders stabilized
  • Breathing into your diaphragm, and exhaling while performing the Tucking movement

If necessary, momentum can be used to initiate the movement. But eventually, you’ll want to work up to being able to perform it slowly and controlled as in the video above.

Once you can do a proper Foot Pinch, challenge yourself by trying it from both Front and Side hanging positions. How many reps can you do with good technique?

About the Author

Jerome Rattoni is a MovNat Master Instructor, Relations Director, and the owner of ScarAbs Fit (MovNat Budapest), where he brings Natural Movement to people local to Hungary. You can connect with him on Instagram at @Jerome_Scarabs.

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