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mikejungle


Mar 16, 2012, 12:17 PM
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Finger and forearm training and gear
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I realize that strength will come with time and that technique is more important than strength, but as a new climber, i find myself following the advice of good climbers and not being able to execute the moves consistently, because my fingers, hands, and forearms get shredded.

So i was wondering what training and what gear I can use to strengthen this aspect when i'm not climbing.

I have been doing pullups and hangs from metolius rock rings, which i think works quite well, but are there any training tools that work to increase finger and forearm strength? Or are they all gimmicks? powerball? rubber rings?

thanks.


Partner cracklover


Mar 16, 2012, 12:52 PM
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mikejungle wrote:
I realize that strength will come with time and that technique is more important than strength, but as a new climber, i find myself following the advice of good climbers and not being able to execute the moves consistently, because my fingers, hands, and forearms get shredded.

So i was wondering what training and what gear I can use to strengthen this aspect when i'm not climbing.

I have been doing pullups and hangs from metolius rock rings, which i think works quite well, but are there any training tools that work to increase finger and forearm strength? Or are they all gimmicks? powerball? rubber rings?

thanks.

It sounds like you already know the answer, you just want to hear something different.

If you want to train when you're not climbing, work on your core. It is likely that it will pay dividends eventually. If you want your climbing-specific grip strength to get stronger, keep climbing.

Sorry, there are no short cuts. Although if you want to believe in something enough, feel free to go buy it. I'm sure you can find someone willing to sell it to you, whatever it is.

When you're stronger (like a 5.12 climber), you may get significant benefit from a simple campus board, but by then you'll already know that.

Cheers,

GO


mikejungle


Mar 16, 2012, 12:58 PM
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huh, yeah...
it's not that i think i can take shortcuts; i just wanna maximize my growth by doing out-of-gym activities. i haven't signed up for a gym yet, because i'm probably moving soon, so it's a bit expensive to pay for a day pass at this point.

i know the best way to gain climbing-specific strength and skills is, basically, to climb. But i figured there might be simulators/analogous training tools that i can use when i'm at the desk, or watching a movie or something.

thanks.


Partner cracklover


Mar 16, 2012, 2:38 PM
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mikejungle wrote:
huh, yeah...
it's not that i think i can take shortcuts; i just wanna maximize my growth by doing out-of-gym activities. i haven't signed up for a gym yet, because i'm probably moving soon, so it's a bit expensive to pay for a day pass at this point.

i know the best way to gain climbing-specific strength and skills is, basically, to climb. But i figured there might be simulators/analogous training tools that i can use when i'm at the desk, or watching a movie or something.

thanks.

If you can't climb, then who knows, there might be some benefit to other things. If you want to do doorframe pullups, go for it. I did a lot when I started climbing. I doubt they helped any, but they were fun, and I liked the idea that they might help.

Cheers,

GO


danger


Mar 18, 2012, 1:34 AM
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Yeah you can do stuff.

The best thing you can do is actually core stuff like others have mentioned, dynamic stretching and/or yoga/pilates type of things to improve your flexibility and usable strength.

A healthy diet is always good. And along with a regular exercise routine of some sort may help you shed unwanted pounds if you have any. Being lighter will help you climber better, and also put less stress on your tendons.

Sleeping better will help you climb better and improve faster as your muscles and tendons heal in your sleep.


And actually the most useful thing you can do as you're progressing is injury prevention exercises.
such as the ones on the nicros training site: http://www.nicros.com/training/

The reason everyone is telling you to just stick to climbing is because climbing is the most efficient and best training for climbing, but also that focussing too hard on getting better can set you up for injury which will set you back A LOT longer than not training enough.


By doing injury prevention exercises you can train your antagonist muscles, prevent muscular imbalances and you will set yourself to be a stronger climber in the long run because your friends are going to rupture their pulleys as they race to V5 in a few months and you will be fine because you're balanced, you're stretched, and as healthy as you can be for climbing.

The main things you can work on:
In the Gym with dumbbells or elastic bands:
different kinds of Shoulder exercises to increase shoulder stability and prevent rotary cuff injury. Work all heads of the deltoid and do some dynamic stretching beforehand to improve range of motion.

Pushups/ tricep work to train your major antagonist muscles(pusing instead of just pulling) and prevent elbow tendonitis - which strikes almost every climber who doesnt do this.

Rice bucket training as outlined here http://www.dpmclimbing.com/...s/view/way-iron-fist to train your finger flexors and hand antagonist muscles. (yes, There are other training tools for this they are just more expensive and awkward.)

I personally also do one legged pistol squats which is body-weight exercises that i believe improves knee stability and balance. since it's body weight it's fairly useful, similar to a high step and wont cause me to put on a lot of useless thigh weight.


(This post was edited by danger on Mar 18, 2012, 10:12 PM)


mrmrkeller


Apr 18, 2012, 5:22 PM
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As I stated on another thread... the Dynaflex Gyro has been both hailed and dismissed by numerous people. However, I use one, and used correctly it has worked very well for my forearms, wrists and hands.


granite_grrl


Apr 19, 2012, 4:55 AM
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Cracklover is right, it's really hard to get the multiple route endurance you're looking for without actually climbing.

If you want to get serious then the one suggestion I have is to make the most of you climbing time by going through a training program instead of just climbing a bunch unfocused.

I couldn't give you a climbing program off the top of my head, but see about buying a copy of the Self Coached Climber. The have example programs at the back of the book for climbers of various levels.


scott.nearing


Apr 23, 2012, 6:01 PM
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dumb bells and plate weights

Wrist curls and reverse wrist curls, 20 strict reps of each and I do the reverse set then regular. Three sets of each.

Follow that up with three sets of simply holding a plate between your fingers and thumbs, wrists on your thighs in a seated position for as long as you can stand to. I'm using a 35lb plate close to 60 seconds.


After too many years of not working out and coasting on fitness gleaned from recreation. I got back in the gym for a college wight lifting class. I asked for a workout to improve my grip and this has improved my climbing dramatically.

I have a Dynaflex Sports Pro Plus too, but think that I need the power starter to get an efficient workout. I spend to much time spinning it up.

A friend HIGHLY recommends the Gripstik. I plan to get one.


bsyed


Apr 24, 2012, 3:48 PM
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theres nothing better than getting stronger in general.
most people tend to specialise their training into a sport/physical activity too early.
over hand deadlifts and heavy dubell suitcase caries should staple of your routine


Partner rgold


Apr 25, 2012, 8:15 AM
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All the usual and unendingly reiterated caveats about focusing on technique rather than strength apply here, but that said, there are certainly things you can do.

Get a hangboard. Mount it low so that your feet touch the ground for all but maybe the topmost bucket holds. Do not hang full bodyweight until you are climbing at 5.11 or beyond, or you risk a serious delay in your climbing career because of injury.

Instead, use the hangboard with one of those 3-step kitchen step ladders, placed so that you are in an overhanging position. The exercise is to grasp some holds (don't use the really small ones and don't use the one- and two-finger pockets), walk your feet up the ladder (putting you in a sequence of increasingly overhanging positions), walk your feet back down to the ground (remember you placed the board so that you can stand on the ground) and repeat. Make up various routines going up and down using different holds, and progress by moving the stepladder back so you overhang more.

When you get stronger, you can do the same routine, except when you get to the top step of the ladder, swing back down the the ground, thereby fully hanging for a second or so. Then walk back up and repeat.

There are three injury dangers associated with this type of training (and, to some extent with all climbing).

1. Shoulder injuries from hanging at full extension. You shouldn't be doing any hanging for a while so this won't be an immediate issue, but the time will come... The best approach is to hang with some bend in your arms rather than straight-armed. Although harder to manage, you can also learn to hang straight-armed but with shoulders shrugged down so that you aren't using the ligament and tendon structures there to bear all your weight. But remember, you aren't starting off with hanging anyway.

2. Traumatic finger tendon and/or ligament injuries from imposing loads that are too high for your current strength level. This shouldn't happen with the stepladder method, but stay away from small crimps and one- and two-finger pockets.

3. Lateral or medial epicondylitis (tennis or golfer's elbow). This is an overuse injury and you can get it even from the stepladder approach if you do too much and don't rest enough. The rehab exercises for this are probably best done prophylactically before you incur this injury. The exercises consist of reverse dumbbell curls in which you use the free hand to position the dumbbell at the position of full forearm contraction and then you lower the dumbell slowly with muscle power, reposition with the free hand, etc.

Some people have found icing the elbows after exercise to be helpful.

Any soreness in the elbows is a sign to at the very least back off and, in most cases, stop both climbing and training exercises for a few days or a week and then reinstitute activity gradually. A full-blown case of epicondylitis is horrible; it will keep you from climbing and interfere with the most mundane ordinary activities (like shampooing your hair), so any losses of time and progress due to prevention are far better than what will happen if you persist in the face of pain.

Once again, learning appropriate technique is far more important, and wiil make things doable that you misinterpreted as requiring more strength. On the other hand, training hand strength and endurance in a very controlled environment such as the one described above is a safer than relying on, say, only bouldering and climbing to do the job.

Then there is the boredom factor. Not much one can do about that.


olderic


Apr 25, 2012, 8:56 AM
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rgold wrote:
you can also learn to hang straight-armed but with shoulders shrugged down so that you aren't using the ligament and tendon structures there to bear all your weight.
.

Interesting idea that I should try. I'm not sure if I buy the idea that it keeps force/weight off the tendons though. I can see where it would relieve the ligaments but to maintain the shoulder shrug you are going to use muscle and thus tendons I would think. Maybe avoids weighting the tendons when stretched out.


Partner rgold


Apr 25, 2012, 10:27 AM
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Eric, I think you are right about the tendons. The shrugging is meant to keep from stretching the shoulder structures and so contributing to possible future shoulder instability. I suppose the primary structures involved are ligaments, and, if anything, the tendons might be subjected to higher loads.

Another thing one can do to spare the shoulders is to hang ever so slightly levered, looking up rather than straight ahead and with the arms distinctly forward of the head as opposed to being aligned with the ears.

Of course, as I said above, the OP shouldn't be hanging at all for a while.


olderic


Apr 25, 2012, 10:33 AM
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Well since 62 years of abuse led me to destroy my rotator cuff in a big way - followed by the inevitable big surgery and now the endless rehab - all of a sudden I am interested in these things that I previously poo-poo-ed


Partner rgold


Apr 25, 2012, 10:39 AM
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I think both hanging techniques reduce the stress on the rotator cuff, and should have mentioned that originally.

If you are rehabbing a rotator cuff injury, I think you would want to be extremely careful about hanging. If it was me, I would either use substantial counterweights or a good tight latex tubing set-up to work very gradually back to a full hang.

But as much as I could, I think I'd try for bent arm hangs. If you have set your hangboard up so that you can step down on the floor at any point, then you don't ever have to fully straighten your arms for a hang.


olderic


Apr 25, 2012, 10:51 AM
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I'm still very early on in the rehab schedule - mostly passive stuff. I am doing some stuff equivalent to counterweight exercises - the counter being my good arm and rigged up to a pulley setup - doing stuff with that that for hours but primarily for range of motion. The real - "take some weight off while hanging/pulling" - stuff that you describe is still several months off. Then I will probably try your latex tubing approach.


Partner rgold


Apr 25, 2012, 11:01 AM
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I'm starting on month 3 of rehabbing an arthroscopic ACL reconstruction, so I understand what such processes are like. My philosophy, after many years of doing the opposite, is take it slow, and doing a little less than you might have been capable of is a whole lot better than doing a little more...Good luck.


olderic


Apr 25, 2012, 11:23 AM
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With age comes wisdom? Probably not in my case. Good luck to you too.


shimanilami


Apr 25, 2012, 12:28 PM
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rgold wrote:
I'm starting on month 3 of rehabbing an arthroscopic ACL reconstruction ...

Do you mean reconstruction of acromioclavicular ligament? I've got a degenerating shoulder ACL and am speaking with the doc next week about scheduling the this procedure. It sounds like you're a little bit ahead of me. I would be very interested in learning from your experience.


Partner rgold


Apr 25, 2012, 1:37 PM
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No, sorry, ACL = Anterior Cruciate Ligament in my case---a knee problem, not a shoulder problem. Blew it out jumping off a boulder problem...


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