Written by George in health news on Tue 31 January 2017.
I am often asked about when and how to work finger strength. Many climbers who are new to the sport get very excited about the concept of hanging on the fingerboard in the corner of the gym, buying one for their homes to train on constantly, and buy codeine online learning to campus up and down the campus rungs.
The advice I give to most new climbers is to stay off of these devices until you've been climbing consistently for at least 6 months to a year. This is my best advice based on my own experience and the observations I've made of many, many clients and climbing partners. Because of the demands that climbing places on connective tissues, I think that it's important to allow our bodies - and particularly our hands - to have a chance to adapt to the physical requirements of the new activity before getting too specific. This is especially true for the fingers because their tendons and ligaments are relatively small, AND we ask them to hold the full weight of our bodies - which is not remotely a "normal" activity for almost anyone in daily life before becoming a climber.
It's been my experience that people who jump into very specific finger strength training too soon end up injuring themselves. Forcing your fingers into specific positions and postures before you've built a minimum amount of strength in the hands, forearms and shoulders to maintain those positions can be dangerous. I do think that for those of you who are still new to the sport, hanging from large holds for longer intervals (20-30 seconds) can be beneficial for teaching your body the biomechanics of holding a hanging posture, and can result in safe conditioning for the tendons without putting them at risk.
For those of you who have been climbing regularly for a year or more and have the capability to hold a variety of hand positions without feeling strain in your fingers, it's likely time for you to incorporate some specific finger training. I'll give you some suggestions on how to incorporate fingerboard training into your routine, as the fingerboard is a very good tool for safely building strength. I considered taking the time/space to identify each finger position in detail, but ultimately decided that if you are unfamiliar with the terminology used to describe each type of ...