Rock Climbing Grips

Best Ways to Improve Rock Climbing Grips

Rock climbing, the exhilarating sports that saw its foundation laid in the late 19th century and has progressed ever since to become one of the fastest rising silent sports globally, features some of the most dynamic and technical movements in sports.

The basics of these movements, rock climbing techniques, feature a central element; grip. The majority of rock climbing techniques effectively rely on a climber’s grip.

From bouldering, top-rope climbing to traditional climbing, every method carried out in these climbing disciplines involves gripping. Thus, Climbing Apex gives you an insight into the best ways to improve your rock climbing grips.

The Problem

For beginner climbers, weak rock climbing grips strength is a challenge they always combat, hoping that persistence climbing would improve their grip strength.

While this is true, it is also a long-term solution to a problem that has a short term and more effective solution. Several exercises and tactics exist to improve rock climbing grips strength, and some are explained in detail in this article.

The Solution

Rock Climbing Grips
(Credit: kingmaphotos/Pixabay)

Hang boarding for Fingers of Steel

The fingers form the core basics for a sufficient grip. As a result, building the finger’s strength makes muscular grip strength achievable. An improved finger strength would make climbers better prepared for climbing rugged terrains.

Building finger strength can be achieved by engaging in intensive climbing that taxes the fingers.

Note; Before engaging in hang boarding, climbers should ensure fingers are in good condition. Attention should be given to how each finger feels after each hang boarding exercise.

Before hanging boarding sessions, it’s recommended that climbers engage in 30 minutes bouldering. The boulder should be a bit intensive so that the finger can be flexible and more rigid.

For hang boarding sessions in locations with no climbing routes such as the home, climbers can warm up by engaging in exercise such as pull-ups, and some jogging, which will get the body warmed up. The fingers can be warmed up by making use of a stress ball.

It’s also a good idea to carry out 10 to 15 hangs on the most extensive parts of your hang boards before beginning your hang boarding session. Pull-ups of the same number (10 – 15) are also recommended.

Climbers can move on to shorter hangs. This is recommended to enable sure the fingers are warmed up to prevent injuries that could keep climbers out of action for months.

In summary, ensure you play around with your hang board for as much as 15 minutes before beginning your hang boarding session.

The Work out

Just like every other exercise such as push-ups, which exercise the joints abs muscles through motions in various angles, to get the best result, climbers should hang the board in the same position assumed when climbing. The positions include;

1. The full crimp position, where the second knuckle sits above the first.

2. The half crimp position, where the two knuckles sit in the same position.

3. The open hand position, where the second knuckle sits below the first.
Whatever position is picked, climbers should approach the hang board at an isometric angle (hands at about 45° to the body).

The “dead hang” should be adopted, where the joints are static. The positions indicated above can all be tried. It’s best climbers approach the hang board gently to prevent injury.

  • To begin a hang board session, climbers can use a broad edge, small edges or crimp, 2 to 3 finger pockets, and a sloper. For every edge used, climbers should assume the open hand position, except for small edges. The full crimp position is reserved for advanced climbers as it can result in injuries.
  • Climbers should hang on the first hold for 10 seconds, then rest for 5. This should be repeated five consecutive times, which totals 50 seconds of hanging and 25 seconds of resting before taking a 3-minute break.
  • Climbers should hang again with the same hold but change the grip pattern. Ten seconds hang, 5 seconds rest. Repeat five times, then 3 minutes rest. Climbers should move on to the second hold, hang for 10 seconds, and relax for 5. The process should be repeated five consecutive times before taking 3 minutes break.
  • Climbers hang on the second hold with different grip styles, hang for 10 seconds, and rest for 5. Repeat five times. Three minutes of recess afterward. The process should be repeated for the remainder holds (5 holds in total) until ten sets are completed.

Going Forward

For beginner climbers unfamiliar with hang boarding, two hang boarding sessions can be carried out weekly. After the first sessions, the climber should wait for 48 to 72 hours before commencing their second session.

After weeks of getting acquainted with this, sessions can be carried out three times weekly with 48 -72 hours intervals. Do not extend sessions to four or more times weekly.

After weeks of getting acquainted with your hang boarding routine, it may seem easy. That probably is the best time to take things to the next level. Attach weights to your hang board. 1.5 pounds or 2.5 pounds if weight is ideal. Choose the weight to be added based on your weight.

When weights are attached, make use of the belay device and harness. Each week add more weight (1.5 each). But after the 6th week or do, do not add to it. If you feel you cannot cope with more weight after the sixth week, then there’s no problem.

Other forms of grip strength exercise are;


A gripper consists of two handles and a torsion spring. You exercise your forearms by placing the handles in both arms’ palm and trying to bring them to each other. Repetitive closing exercises your fingers.

Player Lifts

This involves making use of the fingertips in lifting a gym plate. Climbers pinch the plate with their fingertips and try to bring it up to their chest, thereby building the fingers strength and, in turn, grip strength.

Fingers Extension

This requires climbers to fit their fingers into the elastic extension band and fully spread their fingers. Climbers can start with a 1cm extension band. Before moving on to thicker or longer bands, do as much as ten extensions.

Climbers have to be careful when trying out fingers extension to strain the finger and cause injury.


Rock Climbing Grips
(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A climber’s grip not just determines how fast and effectively he ascends challenging routes but can sometimes prove to be life-saving. When climbers have to hold on to holds or the climbing rope for considerably long periods, the extent of a climber’s grip strength comes to the fore.

In notoriously difficult terrains, climber’s grip strength determines the success of their climbing expedition.


These rock climbing grips aid an effective climbing experience but as you embark on your climbing journey remember to keep your body weight centered over your feet.

This is to help keep most of your weight off of your hands to aid a smooth climbing experience.

Please let us know your thoughts on our article (best ways to improve rock climbing grips) in the comments section below. Read more on Sportrock.

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