Limit Moves vs Progressions

When we hop on a spray wall to do some limit moves, do progressions play a role?

Last night I was making up limit moves and found one that looked totally improbable. It targeted a few different weaknesses in one. After making some progress, I stalled and couldn’t see any real improvements. I noticed there was a slightly closer, better target hold and starting foot. I used both and made the move. Then I slowly shifted the foot and hand back to my original targets and ultimately made the original move. Yeehaw! I was totally blown away since I’ve never made a similar move, just done the same frustrating slaps as my first 5 tries.

Does this defeat the point of a limit move session, though? Or am I gaining more by learning to do a move that would, without progression, be “limit” for me?

I realize the definition of “limit” is important here. I mean that after some initial improvement on the move, I hit a point where I don’t progress for many quality attempts in a row. Maybe in this case it’s that I don’t have the coordination or confidence to get that last 10-25%. Either way, it doesn’t seem like it will happen in a session and likely not in a few more.


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I think that’s a totally normal/acceptable/good tactic to use. I think that’s basically how we learn moves anyways, but we don’t always get to see the connections so directly. Like if you wanted to climb V10 on crimps, you’d probably do a bunch of easier problems on crimps to make sure you’re feeling good on them. I think that what you did is pretty much the same idea, just in a more direct context

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That makes sense to me. How does that then interact with the drill of doing limit moves? This only really matters for limit moves on a spray wall that is dense enough or that you control so that you could progressively make moves harder. But given that set up, is there still benefit to limit moves over this approach?

I think what you’re describing is absolutely integral to limit bouldering. Even if we lived in a vacuum where strength or effort level was all that mattered, progressions are how we build. That holds true for movement as well - and the real non-vacuum world.

Power spots or progressive hold choice (hand or foot) should always be a part of it if you want to learn and build.

The key is to continue progressing rather than to find a comfortable step and stay there.