Climbers today are taking indoor training to the next level and hangboarding is the simplest and most time-efficient method to get strong. You need nothing more than a hangboard and motivation to drastically improve your finger strength. With proper technique and a consistent routine, the hangboard can be the tool to break out of your climbing plateau.
Warming up is crucial to your hangboard workout. You will be putting a lot of stress on the tendons in your fingers, which can quickly lead to injury. Start by doing some simple cardio such as push-ups, bodyweight squats, or even jog in place to get the blood flowing. Another essential is to do both static and dynamic stretching. Not only for your hands and forearms but the chest and back as well. The goal is to engage all your upper body for maximum results.
Dead hangs are the best exercise to start with. Begin on the largest holds and gradually increase the time and intensity of your hangs. Proper dead hang technique entails using an open hand grip. Avoid over crimping to steer clear of blowing a finger pully. Another thing to focus on is keeping your shoulders back instead of pulled up towards your ears. You are trying to engage all the climbing muscle groups rather than hanging from your skeleton. This might seem counter-intuitive to actual climbing where you try to conserve energy. Hangboarding is meant to make you pumped, keeping the back, arms and core tight will expedite your progress.
Once warmed up from dead hangs, the next progression is pull-ups. Once again, start on the larger hold and work towards the smaller pockets. These holds don’t have to be the same size or height either. By utilizing different holds on your hangboard you will be able to more closely mimic outdoor climbing. Find holds that will get you to near failure in less than 10 reps. Rest for 15-30 seconds and start pulling again, 3 to 5 sets is a good starting point.
Climbing isn’t all about finger strength and the core can easily be overlooked. Keeping your body tight will take the stress off your extremities, improving stamina and technique. Ab workouts perfectly coincide with dead hangs by doing leg lifts and L-hangs. In the beginning, find 2 holds you are comfortable on and simply bring your knees up to your stomach and repeat. Once you’ve built enough stamina, the next step is the L-hang. While in a dead hang, straighten your legs and bring them up to form an L shape. Holding this position for 30 seconds and resting between sets will utilize your entire upper body climbing muscles.
Hangboards are a cheap and very effective way to improve your climbing fitness. It’s a small investment towards reaching your climbing goals. Be patient and work hard, strength doesn’t come quickly. With time and effort, the physical gains will follow. You’ll be clipping the chains on projects you never thought possible.
Stop by The Gear Room at 3422 Fort Union Blvd, Cottonwood Heights, UT. Or give us a call at (801) 448-3037 for any questions on using your new hangboard.