When last year released the impressive documentary Free Solo climbing became even hotter and the Internet was obsessed with the topic of Alex Honnold and his "tattered" hands.
If you use more laptop keyboard than hangboard, you can take some steps to get your fingers into shape. Just know that your hands never "swell" if they are not already there – there just is not a ton of muscle there.
"Most of the finger power is based on neurological development and strengthening connective tissue," says Steve Bechtel, Lander, climbing coach in Wyoming at Climb Strong.
But finger training ̵
The Block: Trains Finger Strength
Especially in the category simple / not easy. The Block, by Tension Climbing, is a piece of wood with different finger grips and a string. Tie a weight to the string and go: "Try lifting the weight with just one finger," says Bechtel.
Work slowly, because tendon injuries are a pain. Start with a weight that will allow you to easily do a few repetitions before adding more. "It's crazy how strong some fingers can become," he says.
Powerfingers: Strengthens the Forearms
"Rock climbing generally does a pretty good job of strengthening your lats, pecs, and forearm muscles," says Chi Harris, a coach from Portland, Oregon. "But what's overlooked are the antagonistic muscles – getting used to your main climbing muscles."
If you use only one set of muscles in a particular way, you will be "torn from normal", so your body is out of balance. "Powerfingers helps fix that. To counteract all gripping while climbing, these bands wrap around your fingers and spread them apart, forcing you to exercise the rest of the muscles in your forearms.
The Hangboard: Next Level Training
After Honnold El Cap had played freely, he ended his day on a hangboard with a few pull-up laps – a board that you literally hit hang over your fingers. It looks sick and you want to try it. Unfortunately hangboards are only suitable for advanced climbers, says Harris, who can only use customers with three years of experience. "It takes up to three years for your body to get used to the stress of climbing," he says.
When you're ready, look for a grip that offers a range of grips so you can experiment with the ones you find most difficult. Start with 30 to 40 minutes of climbing before you reach the board, says Harris.
If, as with many people, you can not jump in with pull-ups, you start with repeaters: "You'll repeat the same slope for a series of repetitions, then rest," says Harris. Strive for 5-10 reps of 10 seconds and five seconds off the board. "They will not last very long," he says, but you can slowly build up your ability to endure this hold.