Hangboard exercises for beginner climbers

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The bible of climbing: practical exercises, by Martin Mobråten and Stian Christophersen, is a collection of easy-to-follow exercises designed to help climbers train technique and strength without relegating themselves to the dusty weight room in the corner of their gym.

The book certainly has hangboard and campus protocols (these are some of the most useful training tools for the motivated climber), but it also outlines wall exercises to improve footwork, body tension, warm-ups, and much more.

The climbing bible It begins with an introduction to technique, with an emphasis on footwork, grip positions, balance, direction of force, and dynamics. Next comes a section on strength and power: wall exercises, finger and fingerboard strength, arm training, and more. There is even a chapter dedicated to coaching children and adolescents, with the specific coaching considerations that such an assignment requires. Authors Mobråten and Christophersen highlight their favorite climbing games, technique drills, and how to approach strength training for kids.

The climbing bible houses 200 colorful photos of techniques and actions with frequent asides from leading Scandinavian climbers and authors to clarify drills and provide key information. Below is an excerpt from the “Strength and Power” chapter, highlighting several isolated strength exercises.—Ed.

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There are many advantages of strength training on the gymnasium, but some physical properties are so essential that it may be a good idea to supplement our training with isolated exercises. This gives us the opportunity to target a select few items at a time in a controlled manner, and this could lead to better results than training them in combination with other items. We recommend isolated exercises for finger, arm and core strength to improve performance on the wall and reduce the risk of injury.

Different types of finger grips for climbing training.
Four different grip positions for hangboarding. Listed clockwise from top left: open middle two fingers, open front three fingers, back three fingers, front three fingers. (Photo: Climbing Bible: Practical Exercises)

dead spots

as we write in The climbing bibleDeadlocks are one of the most specific and controllable methods we have for training finger strength. Previously, specific finger training was considered very risky with regards to finger injuries for both young and old climbers, but this comes down entirely to the training method and how high the training dose is. Finger strength training can be done using safe and controlled methods that will generally put the climber at a lower risk of injury than in a normal climbing session. In addition, systematic finger strength training over time will also strengthen muscles, tendons, joints, and ligaments, further reducing the risk of injury. The important thing is to train with proper technique and under control, and focus on training dose, such as how much and how hard you train per session, per week and over a longer period.

Photo of a small hand-held climbing rung for training.
The climbing bible Recommend to default to use the half crimped grip when hanging. (Photo: Climbing Bible: Practical Exercises)

In The climbing bible We present a small selection of exercises for finger strength training. Here we introduce more methods to train different properties, to ensure progression and variation in finger strength training. If you had to choose to train only one grip position, we recommend training using the half grip. This is more useful for most holds and is also more specific than the open hand grip when it comes to using small holds, which is often the case when it comes to difficult climbs. Still, it’s wise to vary your grip positions so that you also get stronger when using an open-hand grip, and on slopes and pockets. The following exercises can be performed using any grip position, but unless another grip position is specifically mentioned, we recommend the half grip as the standard grip position.

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In principle, anyone can train deadhangs, it’s just a matter of how much of your bodyweight you need to unload. For example, a climber weighing 70 kilograms (154 pounds) can unload 35 kilograms (77 pounds) and thus train with half his body weight. This will allow them to train with efficiency and control, focusing on proper technical execution and with a lower risk of injury compared to regular climbing. As you become more comfortable with the hanging position and are able to do each hang with a slight margin, meaning you can hang much longer than the number of seconds described for each exercise, you can gradually decrease the number of kilograms unloaded to ensure that he is training. on the correct load. To offload some body weight, we recommend using a simple pulley system with a harness and weights, as shown in the photo below.

Climbers use a hang board and pulley system to train themselves to climb.
Remember to pull your shoulders down and rotate your elbows slightly toward each other. (Photo: Climbing Bible: Practical Exercises)
The man trains to climb by hanging on the tips of his fingers.
(Photo: Climbing Bible: Practical Exercises)

resistance hangs

The goal of this exercise is to hang for 30 to 40 seconds per hang. Choose a grip position or edge depth that only allows you to hang for 30 to 40 seconds. If you can hang for more than 40 seconds, use poorer grips. You can start by hanging from a pull-up or jug ​​bar and gradually work your way up to hanging from poorer holds. Complete four to six hangs with a 2-3 minute break between each hang.

Sleep time: 30–40 seconds

Number of hangs per game: one

Number of games: 4–6

Rest between sets: 2–3 minutes

Margin*: none

* By margin we mean how much longer I might hung up If we say you should have a 3-second margin for a lock that should last 10 seconds, you should drop it after 10 seconds, but you should have enough margin to have held for an additional 3 seconds. No margin means hanging until exhaustion, which means you can’t take any more.

Repeaters 1

Choose from four or five different grip positions, for example, four-finger half-crimp, slanted, three-forward open-grip, and three-finger half-forward crimp. Complete the following for each hold position: hang for 7 seconds, rest for 3 seconds, and do seven hangs, so that you’re close to exhaustion by the last (seventh) hang. Take a 2-3 minute break and repeat for the remaining grip positions.

Sleep time: 7 seconds

Number of hangs per game: 3

Number of games: 7

Rest between sets: 2-3 minutes

Margin: Near exhaustion from the last suspension of each series

repeaters 2

Choose a grip position you want to improve and do the following: hang for 10 seconds, rest for 5 seconds, and do four hangs, so that you’re close to exhaustion by the last hang. Rest for 3-5 minutes and complete another three sets. This is supposed to be a more challenging exercise than Repeaters 1so the holds should be leaner, or you should offload less weight or add more weight to your body weight.

Sleep time: 10 seconds

Number of hangs per game: 5

Number of games: 4

Rest between sets: 3–5 minutes

Margin: Near exhaustion from the last suspension of each series

The man trains to climb by hanging on a toe board with weights.
(Photo: Climbing Bible: Practical Exercises)

Maximum weight

Start with a relatively deep rim so you can add additional weight. Use the curly medium and do the following: hang for 10 seconds, rest for 3 minutes, and do five hangs total. Allow a 1-3 second window for each hang, so you can maintain a good grip and body posture throughout the hang, and can get your feet back on the ground while still in control after 10 seconds. If you can hang for more than 13 seconds, you can add more weight.

Sleep time: 10 seconds

Number of hangs per game: one

Number of games: 5

Rest between sets: 3 minutes

Margin: 1–3 seconds

shallow edge

Hang using a medium crimp grip from the shallowest edges possible. Do the following: hang for 10 seconds, rest for 3 minutes, and do five hangs total. Allow a 1-3 second window for each hang, so you can maintain a good grip and body posture throughout the hang, and can get your feet back on the ground while still in control after 10 seconds. If you can hang for more than 13 seconds, you can choose an even shallower edge.

Sleep time: 10 seconds

Number of hangs per game: one

Number of games: 5

Rest between sets: 1-3 minutes

Margin: 1–3 seconds


To read more of Climbing Bible: Practical Exercisesyou can get a paperback copy here.

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