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How to Use Heel & Toe Hooks for Indoor Climbing

Learn how to use heel and toe hooks from indoor rock climbing expert Cliff Simanski in this Howcast video.


When you're climbing, footwork is a really important part, one of the basic fundamentals that's really, really critical, learning how to keep that weight on your feet. Now in addition to having both the inside and outside edges of your foot you also don't want to forget to use sometimes the top of your feet for what are called toe hooks and even the heel of your foot for what are called heel hooks.

One critical part of using both the toe and the heel is remembering to really engage your core muscles. A lot of what makes heel hooks and toe hooks work is being able to keep your body stable by engaging those abdominals and really tightening your core to keep that heel or that toe in place.

So, right now I'll demonstrate what a toe hook would look like. In that example I was using the toe hook to take the weight off of my right hand, freeing that hand, allowing me to make that next move. One more example of a toe hook will also be when you have featurees like this, large climbing holds, there isn't really a space for me to be pressing down on. So, I can use a toe hook along with that coordination of my core muscles to keep my body in place. So when I'm on the wall I can put my toe behind that hold keeping me in place.

For a heel hook in this position here I'll do similar to what I just did with my right toe, but now I'm going to use my left heel.

So, using that heel hook and the toe hook are often times dictated by the position that your body's in. In both of those scenarios I wasn't able to get a toe on, and I was only able to use my heel and/or the back side, that toe hook position.

Another example of using a heel hook on terrain that's not quite as steep would even be a situation over here, where planting my heel will allow me to take a lot of weight. I'm going to remember to be engaging my core, really pulling in on that heel, allowing me to take a lot of that weight and continue to move through.

So, really important, once you put that heel on engage those stomach muscles. That's going to help it stay in place.

And that's some examples of how to use heel hooks and toe hooks.

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