In every adventure sport, we emphasize on the core strength, stamina, and many other things. Rock climbing, abseiling, sports climb, all these outdoor adventure activities require core strength.
However, we often forget about the importance the fingers of our hands has in these hard activities. Especially in rock climbing, the power, gripping capability and flexibility of the fingers are everything.
The whole body depends on the fingers and how the fingers grab the rock. If we do not have strong fingers, it’s impossible to climb a rock. Weak fingers can’t grip the holds for a long time. A skilled climber is he who can grab hold for five seconds to a maximum of ten seconds.
Not having enough strength in the fingers is normal as we don’t put a thought on them. Rock climbers don’t have the opportunity to ignore it. So, if you are a beginner and training for climbing, then you must train your fingers as well.
Training the fingers will allow them to grab the tiniest and sloppiest of the holds for comparatively longer seconds. It will improve rock climbing and make it easier. So, here we are going to discuss the steps we can take to increase the finger strength.
Finger strength is the key to become a great climber and regular exercise is the key to increase the strength of the body. So, to increase the finger strength the first step should be finger exercise.
There are a few finger exercises which work to improve the finger strength. Start with squeezing a stress ball and holding it for 20 seconds. Release the squeeze and rest for 10 seconds.
Then there is pen rolls exercise where a pen is placed beneath the first knuckles, and you have to bend the fingers over the pen. Thumb opposition, bending and folding, tapping and pushing are other exercises to increase the strength of the fingers.
The best way to learn how to climb a rock and to increase your finger strength is to climb. Now, a new climber can’t at once start climbing on a rock as it is dangerous. So, we can opt for bouldering instead.
Bouldering requires small artificial rocks and people boulder with high protection. So, this is the best way to start training your fingers for climbing. It will not only increase the strength of your fingers but also will give you the rock climbing training.
In bouldering, you are doing everything that you are going to do while climbing a rock. It will offer a better understanding of the way the fingers work.
At the beginning of bouldering take it easy and increase the difficulty level gradually. It is essential to push the limits to make your fingers adjusted with the toughest situation.
Slowly push your limits in bouldering, and you will notice how the same process of holding the rocks does not seem difficult and exhausting like it did the previous day. Constant practice makes us adjusted to every difficult task and increase our strength and skills.
Fingers are the weakest links in rock climbing but have the most importance. Before starting rock climbing, practice hangboarding. Training from hangboarding will slowly increase the strength of the fingers, and the holds which seemed impossible to grab will gradually become easy.
Different forms of grips on holds in hangboarding like dead hangs and pull ups help to increase finger strength. Hangboarding is not for the beginners and those who have injured fingers in the past. The new climbers must try easy bouldering or route climbing for at least 20 minutes before hangboarding.
Hangboarding does what bouldering or route climbing can’t do. The movement during bouldering will gradually prepare the fingers but cannot directly translate into finger strength.
Hangboarding will prepare the fingers for intense training by making the fingers strong and increasing their endurance level. One can increase isometric strength through hangboard training.
Isometric strength has to built through holding static poses. Isometric exercises create tensions without actual movement. So, one has to gradually increase the timing of the different form of holds to build finger strength. Do not overdo the hangboard training as it can have an adverse effect.
Increasing finger strength is a slow process. Take it very slow and do it within your capability. One must avoid constant finger exercising. Providing sufficient rest to the fingers is a must especially for the new climbers.
In the meantime, one can have small sessions of finger exercises. Within a month result will be felt. So when you observe you are getting too comfortable in the position, increase the difficulty level by wearing a harness or carrying a load on your back.
There is no alternative to practice to become a skillful climber especially when the skills directly act as a life saver. So, practice and repeat until you gain expertise.