Finger strength and technique are essential to climbing, and regardless of whether you are a beginner or an experienced climber, training is crucial. While they can’t be considered a product that a person would use when they are climbing, like a good headlamp or climbing shoes, rock climbing hangboards, also called rock climbing fingerboards, can be considered an essential tool for climbers.
This product offers a great opportunity for training to help you increase your finger strength and endurance, and improve your experience. Hangboard training should be a part of a larger training program, that includes endurance training, fitness training and, of course, climbing. While hangboarding is primarily used to build finger strength for climbing, it can also be used for other training purposes.
What Is a Hangboard?
As the name suggests, a climbing hangboard is a board, typically made of wood or plastic. This board contains a number of holes or grooves that allow you to grip, using your fingers. Different models contain a different number of holes differently shaped and placed. Their purpose is to simulate the motions of rock climbing, allowing you to train your fingers, increase strength and improve technique. To use it, the climber needs to attach their hangboard to a wall or a beam.
How to Choose the Right Hangboard?
To start hangboarding, the first thing you need to do is find a board suitable for your needs. There is a wide range of good quality hangboards for climbing to choose from. Climbing fingerboards come in different shapes, designs and sizes, and they are either made of wood or plastic. You can choose one according to your skill level, the board’s material, the design etc. Moreover, setting your goal in advance can help you make the best decision.
There are two main factors that can help you determine whether a hangboard is good for you. First of all, it’s really important that the unit has a symmetrical design because this will help you avoid injury. Secondly, it should allow for a good grip. Furthermore, some hangboards for climbing are designed for good ergonomics, which encourages better shoulder and elbow position, helping you develop better habits.
When it comes to the material, both wood and plastic have their own advantages, and ultimately it depends on your personal preference. Many climbers prefer wooden hangboards because they are more comfortable for training with added weight, and they are friendlier on the skin. Nevertheless, they can be slippery as they have less friction. Plastic hangboards are made of different materials, but they feel similar to the holds at the rock-climbing gym. They are a good option for people with sweaty hands.
How to Properly Train with a Hangboard?
Hangboard training is proven to be an effective way to improve finger strength. Before starting your training, it is important that you have a plan as to what you want to achieve with your training. Typically, hangboarding is used to target any weaknesses, which is why you should think about all the hand positions and grips you want to practice and improve. If you are new to hangboarding and climbing, you might want to start with one or two training sessions per week, combined with moderate climbing and other training. For advanced climbers and “hangboarders”, more training sessions are probably fine, up to 5 per week. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t always work out with maximum weight.
It’s crucial that you go slowly, keep it simple and avoid starting with something too hard and complicated. And, as with any other workout, you should always listen to your body t, and if something feels weird stop it. This will help you stay safe and avoid injuries. Furthermore, to protect yourself, you should also always warm up before training, and after each hang board training session, you should rest at least one or two days. Generally, you need around three training sessions per week for four weeks.
There are several important things you can do to ensure you are training properly with your rock climbing hang board. First of all, you should make sure that you reach it without having to jump. Secondly, when you are using it, you should avoid shrugging your shoulders, keep them away from your ears, and keep your shoulder blades engaged. You should also always avoid locking your elbows, keeping them slightly bent when you hang. Moreover, you should always use an open-handed grip.
The best thing about hangboard training is that whether you are a beginner or an experienced climber, you can customise the training session according to what you want to achieve. For instance, you can start by grabbing a pair of holds with four fingers using an open-handed grip, and hang for 10 seconds. Repeat this three times, with one-minute rests between each rep. As you progress, you can increase the difficulty and intensity – add a few seconds, use smaller holds, and so on.