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What Is A Dyno and How To Do It

What Is A Dyno and How To Do It

Dyno is something that you’ve probably heard while at the climbing gym or the crag. If you are anything like me when I first started climbing, you may be curious about what that means and how you can do it.

Definition: A dyno is a dynamic movement (hence the name) that requires you to jump to reach the next hold. Because you’re disconnecting from the wall when you jump to the next hold, the dyno movement is one of the most difficult and dangerous movements in climbing.

The difficulty and danger are also why dynos have become so popular and a point of pride for many climbers. If you are one of those climbers that want to do a dyno, below is an in-depth explanation for how to do a dyno stage by stages and tips for accomplishing the movement.

How To Do A Dyno

As mentioned above, a dyno is any dynamic movement that requires you to jump to reach the next hold. Every dyno is a little different (straight up, sideways, inclined, etc.) and there are multiple techniques to accomplish a dyno. 

The following are the basic steps that are applicable to every type of dyno.

Identify the dyno

At this stage you have identified that you aren’t able to reach the next hold without jumping to it, making it a dyno.

Calculate your trajectory

Before making the jump, you need to figure out what angle and speed you need to move your body to reach the distance you are going for. This is frequently a trial and error process but the more you practice dynos, the more accurate you will become with calculating this movement.

Prepare for the jump 

At this stage you adjust your hips, legs and arms in preparation for the movement calculated trajectory. This also includes sitting down. Prior to actually jumping, it is important to get your center of gravity as far away from the next hold as possible (while maintaining the angle for your trajectory). This will increase the space that you have to create the momentum needed to reach the next hold.

Make the jump 

Now that you have calculated the trajectory and are ready for the jump, you need to trust yourself and jump.

Grab the hold

As long as you calculated your trajectory and jumped to where you need to reach, you should be able to grab the hold. Most climbers require grabbing the hold with both hands to ensure they can “stick the landing.”

Control the swing

 You may have considered grabbing the hold as the last part of a dyno but control of the hold is the end of the dyno. To control the hold, you have to control your swing, which is a bi-product of swinging your body through the air. Most climbers do this by placing their legs against the wall and then moving their feet to a hold that helps them keep their body still.

Tips For Your First Dynos

Eventually, you will find a climb that requires a dyno to complete the route. When in this situation, you may feel nervous or scared. Those feelings are totally normal and even though those feelings get less significant the more you practice, even climbers that are very familiar with dynos still get nervous and scared before dynoing. 

However, these tips should help make your first dyno easier. 

Use Your Legs

A lot of climbers that are new to dynos try to rely on their arms to move their body in the right direction. However, by relying on your arms, you are leaving out the most powerful part of your body, your legs and core.

If you use your legs to move your body, your core will also engage making the movement much easier than if you just relied on your arms. 

If you are having a hard time imagining using your legs, do the following exercise.

  1. Stand on the ground with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Without bending your knees and only using the momentum of your arms, jump as high as you can.
  3. Now bend your knees and get as low as you can before jumping as high as you can (feel free to use your arms for momentum as well)

Considering that jumping off the ground is much easier when you engage your legs, it makes sense that using your legs to jump to the next hold while on the climbing wall would also be easier.

If you are having a hard time trusting your legs, consider what the cause of that trust issue is. If you think you might slip, make sure that your feet are positioned in a way that allows you to trust that you won’t slip when you jump.

Angle Your Hips

Now that you are using your legs, it’s important that the angle of your hips will help you reach the next hold too. Move your hips in the direction that you need for a proper trajectory. 

In some cases, such as when you need to move sideways and up, this means moving your hips to actually point to the direction of the next hold.

Here is an exercise to help demonstrate this point.

  1. On the ground, place your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Jump to the side as far as you can (using your arms, bending your knees, etc to help you with momentum).
  3. Now place your feet shoulder-width apart and jump forward as far as you can  (using your arms, bending your knees, etc to help you with momentum).
  4. Measure the distance to compare a sideways jump to a forward jump and also compare how difficult it was for you to do.

In many situations, you can actually move your hips to make it so that the movement of your jump is “forward” by moving your hips to face that way. This makes the jump easier and allows you to use bigger muscles in your core than if you were to jump sideways.

Don’t Swing Back And Forth

If you’ve been watching videos of climbers doing dynos, you’ve probably noticed a handful of climbers that swing back and forth before making the move and a handful of climbers that just go for it.

An experienced climber will tell you that swinging back and forth will usually drain more energy and make the movement more difficult. 

With this being the case, limit your swinging and if you feel like you absolutely have to swing (for confidence reasons, etc) then try to limit your swinging from 1 or 2 at the most. 

In most cases, the energy that you drain from swinging will be needed for you to hold onto the hold once you jump.

The Dangers of Dynos

Dynos are exciting and can make you feel really accomplished when you do it successfully. However, they are dangerous and it would be irresponsible of me not to mention the danger. 

If you do practice dynos, which I recommend since there are some really fun climbs that require it, make sure that you have the appropriate padding and access to medical care in case something happens and you get injured.

Injury is usually more common when you don’t commit to the movement but as you can see from the video above, even if you commit and grab the hold, that doesn’t mean you are in the safe zone.