Move of the Moment - The Drop Knee
The Drop Knee, also known as the Egyptian or the Back Step, is one of the most useful skills you can learn for steep terrain. Whilst fairly rare to find a good drop knee position on a boulder, these are relatively common on overhanging sport routes.
Before we begin, it’s important to point out that injuries can be sustained whilst engaging in a drop knee. Be careful about how far you twist, or push your knee into position, and never do so in a jerking motion. If at any point you feel pain, immediately drop off the wall.
Today we’ll be getting a demonstration from one of the excellent route setters at Ellesmere Port, Archie, on one of the fantastic Krimptonite Round 4 routes.
In image 1 we can see Archie setting up with feet on opposite sides of his body. Archie’s hips, and therefore bodyweight, are shown by the yellow circle. We can see clearly that Archie’s hips are a long way away from the holds he is standing on, the hold he intends to move to (indicated by the larger arrow), and a long way from the wall itself (indicated by the smaller arrow).
In images 2 & 3 Archie begins to turn the knee on the side of the next hold, pulling his right hip towards the wall. It’s important to drop the knee on the side of the body you want to move to the next hold with – in this case, Archie wants to move his right hand to the next hold. We can see both arrows get shorter as his hip moves closer to the wall, putting more of his weight onto his feet and extending the distance he can reach.
In image 4 we can see Archie move to the next hold, with his knee still dropped. As his hip moves towards the wall and next hold, it also pulls his shoulder on the same side closer to the wall, increasing the distance he can reach. Archie’s knee hasn’t had to move into a deep position to achieve the body position required – the drop knee is such an effective move that just a small twist can make a huge difference!
Images 5 & 6 show a close up of the movement, note how much closer Archie’s hips are to the wall and hold he’s moving to, despite not moving his feet. He’s also not had to pull his body any closer to the hold to reach it, making the movement incredibly efficient.
Remember, only drop the knee as far as feels comfortable; always drop the knee on the side of the hand you want to move; drop off if you feel uncomfortable or any pain.
Want to learn more about this move and others? Why not book on to one of our improver courses: