I hate to be that guy, but I can’t lie to you guys. Don’t worry—I’m not about to concede that bouldering helps sport climbers climb powerful sport routes…but I have to say that hangboarding has made a major difference in my climbing since I added it to my training. Everyone always claims that hangboarding is good for the tendons, but I couldn’t bear the boredom of hanging on a little ledge for 20 minutes.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with hangboarding, the basic idea is that you improve your grip strength by hanging on certain holds for consistent periods of time. Be sure to research whether you should start hangboarding before you jump on a new routine; it can cause issues with tendons on newer climbers. Even more, improper hanging technique can cause issues with joints like the shoulders or wrists. So, while hangboarding can be powerful, it can also injure climbers without the proper background.
My current hangboarding routine is taken from 99Boulders, and I don’t plan on dropping it any time soon. Hangboarding with the crew is the way to go—no boredom, and you get to suffer together—but even alone there are ways to keep it interesting. The smaller sets keep you from giving up, and the longer rests between sets gives you some time to stretch (you know you need it), catch up on texts/emails, etc. You can even have your TV show in the background so you don’t even notice the pump. No matter how you manage to stay engaged, you’ll be glad you did because of the results on the wall.
You guys may remember from In the Spirit of Halloween or Decking that I have some fears with lead climbing. Now, I can commit to moves that are not to massive jugs—I know I can stay on the hold once I hit it. I can sit all day on little crimps, lock-off on feet…I can do some things that made me gawk in amazement at the “good” climbers. All because of a little routine that I do twice a week for 10-20 minutes. Not only do I feel myself climbing better, but the grades I send reflect it, too. I had been sitting at the same grade for almost years now, but now I’m flashing what was only my best redpoint just a couple of months ago.
If you’re not already convinced, there are finger health benefits as well. Crazy holds don’t feel so tweaky on trained fingers, and so many boulderers hang to prevent injury. Those routines may differ from routines that help performance, but it’s worth looking into in order to prevent weeks off from climbing.
Find out if hangboarding is right for you, and if you already have a routine that you love please share it with us!
featured image credit: Momentum Climbing