Climbing Hangboard Training - How To Get Stronger on Small Edges

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This exercise concentrates on finger strength and will help you develop the necessary claw for hanging onto small edges.

When you first started climbing you may have noticed that it's hard to hold and pull on crimpers. It's just unnatural for human beings to grasp such sharp edges and it's also a bit painful...

In order to be able to hang on small holds you need to gradually train your fingers for this very specific type of effort. While training, tendons and fingers are liable to injury so start working on it having modest goals at first. Just a few short hangs (3-5 seconds) will be fine if you're new to climbing. Don't overdo it as an injured finger or a stretched tendon can keep you out of the game for months!

The exercise goes like this:
  • warm up thoroughly - especially your fingers - twist, massage, bend, friction warm-up, etc.
  • hang on a medium crimper - open handed grip for ten seconds
  • rest ten seconds
  • hang on sharp edge - crimped fingers
  • rest another ten seconds
  • hang another ten seconds on medium edge - open handed
  • rest ten seconds
  • hang ten seconds on small crimper
  • repeat this process according to the above described algorithm
  • stop when you end a three minute cycle
  • rest three minutes
  • start again
The text in red covers the first minute of the exercise and the blue line covers the first task in the second minute, as depicted in the image above. You can repeat the cycle a few times and you can also do one pull-up per each effort time if you consider the exercise to be too easy.

I recommend to have at least a day's rest after a workout like this. You'll let your fingers recover from the unhealthy stress and you'll decrease the chances of injury.

Other fingerboard exercises here and here.

Train wisely and go climbing!

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