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German Finger Flexor Training Device (for climbers)
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Apr 19, 2011
Rock Climbing Photo: “Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and t...
I've never seen this before. Anyone heard of this training device? Somewhat like a hangboard.

Most of the site is in English, but I would be interested to know the translation of the doc's bio if anyone reads German.

It appears many of the photos are of the inventor out climbing.

Interesting to me:

"TURNTILLBURN allows exceptionally well exercise with only one finger because there is no friction force between the finger and the contact area. The load applied to the finger has to be hold completely by the muscles otherwise TURNTILLBURN gives way by rolling out. This mechanism decreases the load to the soft tissue components of the finger like skin, ligaments and capsules. Therefore it is possible to exercise at high intensity while the soft tissue is stressed minimally."

Okay, clearly there are friction forces occurring, but I am thinking they mean the shearing forces imparted are less than, say, what you would get with a hangboard. Or perhaps they are referring to the frictional forces between the finger pulleys and tendons (there is a link to a study on this topic on the site).
From Los Alamos, NM
Joined Mar 5, 2007
2,394 points
Apr 19, 2011
Rock Climbing Photo: old rag summit
From the videos on the website, it looks like its a body weight form of a "heavy finger roll" which is on the Nicros website here: Crossing
From Breinigsville, PA
Joined Apr 5, 2010
880 points
Apr 19, 2011
Rock Climbing Photo: Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo: Adam Sanders.
Ya, looks like Heavy Finger Rolls with a more sport-specific position.

IME, heavy finger rolls are not very effective, but that's just one data point. The research I've found indicates isometric training is more effective at training specific joint angles (and the converse), suggesting that isometric finger flexor training is optimal for climbers.
From Morrison, CO
Joined Oct 26, 2006
17,741 points
Apr 19, 2011
Rock Climbing Photo: North face of Ama Dablam - taken on approach to Ko...
Monomaniac wrote:
IME, heavy finger rolls are not very effective...

Not very effective at what?... pure strength gains, or hypertrophy? I like the theory/idea of using the exercise for hypertrophy, after which focusing more on isometric, but since you've given it a go I'd be interested to hear your opinion.
Erik W
From Boulder, CO
Joined Mar 8, 2007
313 points
Apr 19, 2011
I agree with the posts above, and will add that IMO it is helpful to stress your skin during training to prepare it for climbing hard routes. However, if you were looking to do additional work after a climbing day or warmup/cooldown work, it might be nice to avoid stressing your skin. Mike Anderson
From Colorado Springs, CO
Joined Nov 15, 2004
3,253 points
Apr 19, 2011
Tony Yaniro made and used something similar in the early '80s, he called it the fingerlicker. Dana Bartlett
From CT
Joined Nov 18, 2003
968 points
Apr 21, 2011
Rock Climbing Photo: “Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and t...
Thanks for the feedback. I agree with the isometric training notions in general.

I think the guy was trying to differentiate this product a bit from heavy finger rolls (which can be done with any weighted bar). I saw he posts pics of how it can be used isometrically as well (the way it is designed, you can hang on and resist rolling I think), and he explicitly stated it does not work all the variety of grip positions climbing requires and is supplemental in nature.

He mentioned specific biomechanical aspects you could perform with this which is not achieved as easily with other methods of finger training for climbers (I think....I'm going off memory here).

For instance, I think the decreased frictional forces and stresses to "soft tissue" referred primarily to the gliding that occurs between pulleys and tendons during gripping. So, my take was this guy was trying to develop a product that assisted in finger recruitment training but decreased incidence of injury associated with this kind of training.

Then again, it could be a glorified steel tube. It would be awesome to test the biomechanical stresses in vivo on the pulley-tendon unit with this vs a steel tube.
From Los Alamos, NM
Joined Mar 5, 2007
2,394 points
Apr 21, 2011
Rock Climbing Photo: Nice view
Looks like something that cost a little bit less could be used with you receiving the same results. Owen Darrow
From Garmisch,
Joined Feb 22, 2010
1,933 points
Apr 21, 2011
Rock Climbing Photo: El Chorro
I've used a makeshift version of one of these... it was made out of PVC and rope kind of like a Bachar Ladder except that the PVC rotated like this steel tube. The PVC was about twoce hte size of this steel one... same size as on a standard Bachar Ladder.

It takes a lot more coordination to use than a barbell and mimics a climbing position better than the heavy finger roll. I had a pretty hard time doing pull ups on the one I used and ate it when I tried to hang from my feet. Disclaimer: I was a few drinks into the night.
Ryan Williams
From London (sort of)
Joined May 10, 2009
1,468 points
Apr 21, 2011
Rock Climbing Photo: Afrika Bambatta V12 Elkland
I have been working on shifting grip positions on an edge as part of a finger board/campus board workout recently. On a campus board, it involves doing a move with the lower hand in crimp position and then grabbing the next rung in open-hand position, shifting the upper hand to crimp position and moving again. I have found that in many situations, after sticking a move in open-hand position, I must switch to a crimp position to make any further progress.

This device would appear to give some benefit in training this particular motion but I think you could get the same effect by switching grips while hanging on a generous size edge. The exercise would be sport-specific and the equipment a lot less expensive. The finger roll positions are rarely seen in climbing itself, especially the fully contracted one.
Peter Beal
From Boulder Colorado
Joined Jan 1, 2001
2,056 points

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