Training Knee-Bars on a home wall

Does anyone have any advice as to the best way to train knee-bars on a home wall? There have been a few times outside recently where one would have been helpful, but I don’t have the technique or coordination to properly use it.

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It’s just like practicing anything else. Make up great kneebars, make up bad kneebars, make up ones that don’t work at all. Decide why they did or didn’t work and then try again. Just like any other technique, not all kneebars are created equal. There are really terrible knee scums that make moves work - it doesn’t have to be locker. It’ll take time, but intentional practice followed by reflection is certainly the fastest way.

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I’ve been going through this process myself since I’ve realized knee bars are not a skill I have at all. I don’t have specific projects in mind that require them but I just want to start to develop it so if I do come across a knee bar I’ll have more skill.

What I did initially is identify some spots on my wall that I knew bar. I have a horizontal roof section so the transition from steep to roof lends itself pretty well to jamming my leg in there. Once I identified some knee bars I would just add them into my warm ups initially.

Even just engaging the knee bar when I climbed past and then kind of resting just to get used to how it feels.

Now that I’ve built up a bit more comfort with the feeling I have some specific sequences that use knee bars, nothing project level for my hands but forcing myself to knee bar really makes me have to think about body positions.

As I gain comfort I’ll try and find worse ones and do harder hand sequences off the good knee bars. I try and spend at least 5-10 minutes on knee bars a session just to build it up consistently.

I’m trying to decide if I should buy a knee bar pad since it’s fairly painful but idk about that yet

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Max/Kris,
Thanks for the advice! Do you have any photos of the knee bars that you have set on your walls? I’d love to see some for guidance/inspiration.

I’ll try to get some images or video this week of a few from obvious to subtle. Offwidth roof climbing prepared me to see and use them pretty well, so I’ve never practiced them in the gym, but some folks here have.

Gonna agree with @Kris, set em and get used to em. I used to not have any on my board and then when I found one on a hard boulder that was closer to a knee scum I couldn’t use it well as I’d only practiced them on really easy ones outside or in the gym.

I can try and get some pics the next time I climb. I find I have to use fairly large holds for the knee part and I’d be really curious to hear any examples of people using kneebars/scums to do cruxy moves on smaller holds








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I tried to show the knee bars I’m using and the body position/holds I’m going to.

They all feels like pretty entry level knee bars but I’m really really bad at them so it’s been helpful for me. I’m seeing progress and that’s what matters right?

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@maxdtaylor I think you should buy the pad. Probably a strap-on. It’s amazing how much more you get out of a knee-bar/scum with a pad. I think using a pad teaches you what a kneebar can really do, and will motivate you to find them and use them more.

@maxdtaylor One other thing I noticed in your photos is your shin is vertical in all these kneebars. Try making one up where your shin is more horizontal as these tend to be more technical and I feel like most knees bars I find that aren’t super obvious are with a horizontal calf position. It’s like creating compression with your knee, much more core involved in leveraging these types of kneebars as well.

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Hey Adam, thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it.

I really haven’t thought at all about orientation of my shin, what you’re saying makes a lot of sense. I’ll play around with it the next time I climb.

And I should just bite the bullet and get a knee pad

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Here are two that I have just set, one is a good bar and the other more of a scum. I will be looking for mroe and building some problems around them. From the small bit of experimentation I’ve done it seems like wood holds are the most comfortable since they don’t rip up my knees so badly.


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Those look super cool.

The pain of the plastic hold knee bars is real but I think that’s where the pad comes in

So the follow-up question is, what is everyone’s favorite knee pad for the home wall? And is it the same for outdoor climbing as well?

Send mini strap on for general use. And I have the send slip on (more comfortable )that I tape on for longer climbs. I also sometimes tape on the strap on as well.

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I’ve found this to be TOUGH but a worthwhile endeavor, and I echo Kris’ sentiment. Try, fail, reflect, try again, succeed?, reflect, try again… Home walls, for me, are just generally hard because I’m still new to them, so I find friends who are better (gym setters!). That helps.