When I say I can’t dyno, I really mean I can’t dyno. There is some gravitational pull connected to my bum that increases ten fold at the exact moment I pump and release to go up. Instead of catapulting upward, I typically plummet to the ground with a loud, confidence-inspiring thud. I tried pumping, visualizing, counting, ejecting, nothing seemed to propel me in the right direction of up. After years of refusing to try any problem or route that involved a dyno, I finally admitted I had a dyno problem and needed serious help to break the process apart and then build it all back up together. Luckily climbing coach and pro, Mike Foley, was open to giving me (and by extension you!) a few pointers on the dyno process. After just three drills, I felt more confident in attempting a dyno and even managed to stick a few dynos since! Below, I’ve described the three easy drills that Mike had me do and included a quick video demonstrating each so that you could set the same drill up at your own gym. These three drills will either warm you up to practice dynos if you already feel confident in the skill, or will allow you to gradually build up to an actual dyno.
Before we get to the drills, let’s go over the dyno basics that I learned with Mike. First, the power in your dyno should predominantly come from your legs, not your arms. Who knew? In order to harness that power you have to rock your weight onto your feet and then explode out of your legs. Now, the 1-2 timing of “rock and explode” is pretty tricky, but that’s what we’re trying to get better at here. Next, is to take a look at how far your feet have to go from the chips you’re starting on in order to reach the finish hold. Instead of focusing on, “OMG, that finish hold looks so far away!” try to focus on, “Okay, I really just have to jump 6 inches off of these foot holds.” Turns out the distance you actually have to jump is usually much shorter than you think. Lastly, when it comes to aiming your dyno, instead of aiming your fingertips at the finish hold try to aim your chest at it. This will put your body in a better position for grabbing the finish hold and will result in overshooting the hold so that you can catch it while coming down onto it. Okay, let’s get to the drills.
Dyno Drill #1: Find a vertical wall at your gym. Spot two decent start holds or one start jug and two foot holds or chips. For this drill you don’t need a finish hold. Pull on as you would at the start of a problem. Practice standing up in one motion, bringing all of your weight onto your toes and releasing your hands. Eventually you will tip backwards and fall off the foot chips (that’s supposed to happen). Repeat this 5-10 times until you feel completely comfortable standing up onto your feet and unweighting your hands. Then try out different foot chips: smaller, larger, offset, and even, to see what it feels like to rock your weight onto your feet at different positions.
Dyno Drill #2: In drill 1 we practiced the “rock” part of the “rock and explode” combo and now we’re going to get to the “explode” part. To train this you’ll do box jumps. Find a box in the weight room at your gym and stand about a foot away from it. To begin your jump, keep a tall spine, drop your hips, swing your arms back and then upward as you jump. Repeat 5-10 times really focusing on the power coming from your legs. It was a hot day and we wore flip flops to the gym, so unlike us in our video, definitely do these with shoes on.
Dyno Drill #3: Now we get the actual dyno. Choose start holds, foot chips, and a finish jug that will require you to fully jump and release all of your limbs. If you’re like me, simply focusing on the finish hold or visualizing it isn’t enough. Focus on rocking your weight onto your feet, exploding from your legs, and aiming your chest at the finish hold. It will feel like a lot to remember at first, but with practice it will become easier. If it helps you, you can pump your body by swinging up without releasing your hands – once, twice, and release on three. As you grab the finish hold, clamp down! Adjust the finish hold and gradually move it further, progressively creating a bigger dyno. Don’t be afraid to really go for it!