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How long does it take to develop open hand/crimp strength?
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bobmcgee3


Jan 24, 2013, 1:21 PM
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How long does it take to develop open hand/crimp strength?
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I'm fairly new to climbing (about 18 bouldering sessions by now) and my ability to hold on to slopers (and crimps slightly) is terrible. I can tell its worse than other things because i have completed all the V2's at my gym except for this one route that has a couple slopers that i cant even hold on to. Im curious as to how long it takes to develop this strength, or do i just naturally have weak open-hand strength?


SE_climber


Jan 24, 2013, 3:13 PM
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Re: [bobmcgee3] How long does it take to develop open hand/crimp strength? [In reply to]
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In a word, years--for crimpers especially. The reason is that your hand is composed of a lot of tendons and only a few muscles. Muscles gain strength quickly, so in your first months/years of climbing you'll notice your forearms, upper arms, back, and core getting really strong. Tendons and ligaments take much longer to build strength. The key to a long climbing career is building that strength slowly because if you push too hard too soon, or train too specifically too soon chances are you will injury a finger (very common among climbers!) So focus on a wide variety of holds, work on technique and footwork, start climbing outside and gradually the finger strength will come.


juststrange


Jan 25, 2013, 6:31 AM
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Re: [bobmcgee3] How long does it take to develop open hand/crimp strength? [In reply to]
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Slopers are often as much about how you hold them as they are your ability to hold them. Think about where your weight is, and the angle that you are pulling at - try to get under the thing as far as possible, bend your knees and get low if you have to. You want to be pulling down on it, not out. Man handling a sloper at full extension above your head is much different than trying to hand on to one at hip height.

Case study - find a sturdy flat surface around shoulder height, put you hand on it and lean back. You need to press real hard and engage your core. Now, kneel a bit so you are pulling on it from below. The force your putting in is closer to "normal" (into) the surface, as opposed to across it.


Kartessa


Jan 25, 2013, 7:11 AM
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Re: [bobmcgee3] How long does it take to develop open hand/crimp strength? [In reply to]
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bobmcgee3 wrote:
I'm fairly new to climbing (about 18 bouldering sessions by now) and my ability to hold on to slopers (and crimps slightly) is terrible. I can tell its worse than other things because i have completed all the V2's at my gym except for this one route that has a couple slopers that i cant even hold on to. Im curious as to how long it takes to develop this strength, or do i just naturally have weak open-hand strength?

A long time


bobmcgee3


Jan 25, 2013, 10:03 AM
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Alright, thanks for the useful tips guys :D
One more thing, should i be focusing to hold on to crimps/slopers? I feel like I should because the one thing I am really lacking in right now is finger strength. The routes i have been failing on recently is solely due to me not being able to hold on to shitty handholds. I've come from a strong background (eg. 25 full pullups) and so i dont feel like i have to work on strength, and my technique has been getting better, so im just confused on what to work on right now


SE_climber


Jan 25, 2013, 11:10 AM
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Re: [bobmcgee3] How long does it take to develop open hand/crimp strength? [In reply to]
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Should you work on slopers? Yes. Should you work on crimpers? Yes and no. Since you have been climbing for only a few weeks or a couple months and are climbing safely at the v2 level, you should begin to try routes in the v3-4 range with smaller holds. You should not, however, focus specifically on a v6 set entirely with crimpers or do fingerboard training.

The best training plans involve climbing slightly below your limit for a few weeks, then climbing slightly above your limit for a week or two. For you, this would mean v0-v1/2 for a few weeks, then v2-4 for a week or two. Then cycle through again--4-5 weeks climbing at v1-2, then 1-2 weeks climbing at v3-4. Rest for a week, then cycle through again. This allows your fingers to build strength gradually to avoid injury. Even though climbing looks like a sport in which the best athletes constantly push their limits, the truth is the best climbers train smart to avoid injury. Is really about patience and dedication.


darylknezevich


Jan 30, 2013, 7:34 PM
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Re: [SE_climber] How long does it take to develop open hand/crimp strength? [In reply to]
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SE_climber wrote:
Should you work on slopers? Yes. Should you work on crimpers? Yes and no. Since you have been climbing for only a few weeks or a couple months and are climbing safely at the v2 level, you should begin to try routes in the v3-4 range with smaller holds. You should not, however, focus specifically on a v6 set entirely with crimpers or do fingerboard training.

The best training plans involve climbing slightly below your limit for a few weeks, then climbing slightly above your limit for a week or two. For you, this would mean v0-v1/2 for a few weeks, then v2-4 for a week or two. Then cycle through again--4-5 weeks climbing at v1-2, then 1-2 weeks climbing at v3-4. Rest for a week, then cycle through again. This allows your fingers to build strength gradually to avoid injury. Even though climbing looks like a sport in which the best athletes constantly push their limits, the truth is the best climbers train smart to avoid injury. Is really about patience and dedication.
yep thats pretty good beta. Be patient it takes a long time to get good. So many new people want to be real good real fast and sadly they just end up hurting themselves. If you are having fun you are climbing well. dont worry about what you cant climb. just have fun on the things you can, and you will see yourself getting better just like that.


bernardo78


Feb 10, 2013, 1:26 PM
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Re: [darylknezevich] How long does it take to develop open hand/crimp strength? [In reply to]
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SE_climber wrote:
yep thats pretty good beta. Be patient it takes a long time to get good. So many new people want to be real good real fast and sadly they just end up hurting themselves. If you are having fun you are climbing well. dont worry about what you cant climb. just have fun on the things you can, and you will see yourself getting better just like that.

SE_climber is exactly right. It took me more than a year of fairly regular climbing to notice a real improvement in grip strength. I was't necessarily concerned with getting stronger faster, but noticing an improvement is a confidence booster and that will build upon itself. So just have fun, and then one day your progress will show itself and you'll start having more fun. Beyond that I like to hang a lot and use the handheld grip exercisers. That stuff can help if you do it regularly.


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