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Eric Horst: Ondra’s Pendulum Head Helps Him Climb

In early 2018, shortly after Adam Ondra sent Silence 5.15d, top coach and trainer received a call from Ondra’s manager, Pavel Blažek.

“He had a great idea,” notes Horst, “to leverage science in an attempt to unlock some of the things that ‘make Adam, Adam.’”

Horst wrote a report about Ondra’s send of Silence, “in which I documented his remarkable speed of movement—a rate that, at times, approached one new hand or foot move every 1.25 seconds.”

In the end, Horst published a report titled, “What Makes Adam Ondra the World’s Best Climber?” Read it here.

Horst said that Ondra has a “head like a pendulum!” He goes on and notes, “Yes, Adam’s longer-than-average neck is a biomechanical asset. A biomechanics expert, Martin Zvonar, and Adam’s physio, Klaus Isele, have both observed how Adam effectively uses his head like a pendulum and lever to improve balance and foot force vector on the rock, respectively.

“Martin explains, ‘once he finishes a movement, he tilts his head back; the center of the lever is his center of gravity, and as a result his feet cling better to the wall.'”

Summary of Findings

Adam Ondra has really strong fingers
Adam has remarkably strong shoulders
Adam is exceptionally flexible
Adam climbs with extreme speed and economy
Adam’s physical talent stack is multiplied by his passion and climbing-centric lifestyle
A final surprise finding: “head like a pendulum!”