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Grip / Forearm Trainer
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By Roman G
From Brooklyn, NY
Oct 28, 2013

I searched MP on this, didnt find what i was looking for.

The reviews on this are mixed as to does it actually HELP in short term or long term in actual climbing.

Has anyone been using them at work? school? Have you noticed any benefits? that actually translate to helping you climb better ( i dont mean as in you start onsighting 11s when you are a 5.9 climber )

Has it helped with strenght? Endurance? Have your crimpers become strong enough to crush apples with your fingers?

There are a few grip and forearm trainers out there, which ones are best? Seems like BD rubber ring is pretty popular as well as the putty. Any recomendations?

Thanks,

Roman


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Oct 28, 2013
Stabby

I always liked the Grip Master.


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By MRock
Oct 28, 2013
Split shin after 5.9+ R lead

Get a bucket of rice and try to make fists in the rice. Made my contact strength way stronger, makes those knifey crimps seem easy. Definitely helped me push into the .10s, along with some pull ups and dips.


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By Jason Todd
From Ranchester, WY
Oct 28, 2013
Moss

Wrist rollers. Easy to make, a piece of PVC, some cord, and a weights.

Gives a quick pump.

Here is an example:

www.t-nation.com/training/best-forearm-exercise


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Oct 28, 2013
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

Jason Todd.... That thing works!!!!

But I never use the brute strenght method shown in the video.

Rather, I use much less weight, mine is made from a gallon jug - add subtract water - and I use a 1.5 inch dia wodden dowel.

Stand up and slightly lean back on a wall... Hold arms out straight... turn-with hands in one direction for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds... go in the opisite direction for 15 second.....
Repete over and over...

also use just your fingers to rotate the tube... first one way then the other.

These were standard issue tools back in the camp 4 training days...

they work

You will climb better, esp in finger and off finger cracks.


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By Brendan N. (grayhghost)
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Oct 28, 2013

Roman G wrote:
. . .does it actually HELP in short term or long term in actual climbing. Has it helped with strenght? Endurance?

No, probably not. We don't really squeeze things together in climbing, we try to hold a static position while resisting gravity.


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By dave wave
Oct 28, 2013
sierras

I use the gripmaster to help me warm up before climbing....works pretty good.

I've used those wrist rollers too...i have 3 differant sizes ranging from 1" diameter to something like 5"(which whips your ass pretty quick)...but i've never actually noticed any gains in climbing from it.


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By Woodchuck ATC
Oct 28, 2013
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

I've still got my pocket sized crusty old Chouinard donut, hard rubber disc for squeezing...works OK for me any time, anywhere.


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By John Shippling
From morongo valley, ca
Oct 28, 2013

I use an orbi-grip from David Hornes world of grip good for staying off the dreaded pump pricy but in my opinion worth it


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By Kyle O
From Tucson, AZ
Oct 28, 2013
Sunset on top of the Goose Head via Golden Egg

Farmer Walks. Get some heavy dumbells (or use 5 gallon buckets filled with water, etc) and walk around holding them in both hands for as long as you can. Used to do these a lot when I was really into weight lifting, the arm pump is incredible. Works your core pretty good too. Use enough weight so walking for 30 seconds is almost impossible.


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By slim
Administrator
Oct 29, 2013
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

MRock wrote:
Get a bucket of rice and try to make fists in the rice. Made my contact strength way stronger, makes those knifey crimps seem easy. Definitely helped me push into the .10s, along with some pull ups and dips.


how would this help contact strength? the rice bucket is pretty slow movement for improving contact strength.


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Oct 29, 2013
Pulling a small roof at 2/3 height on Mission Impossible.  Adam Sanders photo.

Here's a quick tutorial on Contact Strength for those who are curious.


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By pfwein
Oct 29, 2013

Just my own experiences: I've used various spring grippers (Captains of Crush), squeeze toys, wrist rollers.
I wouldn't say using them has been a complete waste of time (they're kind of fun and, when used regularly, I seem to get better at using each device, and they may help some sort of generalized hand strength).
But they haven't helped my climbing at all, or at least the results have been below the noticeable level.
Not that I'm an authority, but if you're serious about training for climbing, read the above post and/or what other reputable folks have to say, and don't expect the squeeze toys to play much if any role in training.


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Oct 29, 2013
Sure, I can belay

Just an observation, I took a Captains of Crush Number 1 (the lightest of that series at the time) to the gym. The 13+ climbers couldn't close it. This suggests to me that it trains a different kind of strength that's not needed or particularly useful for climbing.
But it is kind of fun!


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By kenr
Oct 29, 2013

Mark E Dixon wrote:
I took a Captains of Crush Number 1 (the lightest of that series at the time) to the gym. The 13+ climbers couldn't close it. This suggests to me that it trains a different kind of strength that's not needed or particularly useful for climbing.

Good experiment, thanks for reporting.

Similarly, I sort of remember a study where climbers did not do much better than most athletes on grip strength as measured in the standard device used by Physical Therapists.

I suspect a big part of the explanation is that most metal-spring-grippers (and the measurers for PT) contact the fingers across the PIP joint (2nd joint from the tip). Closing the distance at this point of contact requires changing the angle through the MCP joint (3rd from the tip), and perhaps also a joint or two near the base of the Thumb.

But climbers on non-jug holds are mainly interested in applying force through the Tip or near it. This requires major torque through the DIP and PIP joints. But those are driven by completely different muscles (FDP + FDS) than for the MCP joint. There does need to be sufficient torque through the MCP to support what's happening out at the tip, but normally it's not the critical performance bottleneck for climbing grip.

So ...
Climbers tend to develop their MCP-activator muscles (interosseous and lumbrical) only far enough to provide stable support for the truly critical work of the FDP and FDS muscles -- which turns out to be not enough to excel with spring-grippers.
Spring-gripper Masters have developed way more MCP-activation strength than they need to support climbing grip, but usually do not gain much FDS+FDP strength for the truly critical action out at the fingertip.
(Now if some indoor climbing route had all its holds shaped like spring-gripper handles, spaced far enough out from the wall to contact at MCP joint ... likely the Spring-gripper Masters with a month or two of specific practice, could show remarkable holding strength + endurance doing laps on that route).

----------------
Of course often there's more than one configuration to grasp a grip-trainer. So if you grasp it out closer to your fingertip or DIP joint -- and close the gripper hard enough so you can take lots of muscle fibers to near-failure in say 6-12 reps -- then you'll likely get some hypertrophy in the FDS (and FDP) muscle. But the benefit from that likely would not show up in your actual climbing until after another month or two.

This idea applies to the Black Diamond rubber ring just as well as the metal-spring grippers.
Spring-grippers designed for climbers (e.g. ProHands) usually are shaped to make it easier to grasp near the fingertips.

Ken


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By Brendan Blanchard
From Strafford, NH
Oct 30, 2013
Obi Wan Ryobi - Darth Vader Crag, Rumney NH

kenr wrote:
Good experiment, thanks for reporting. Similarly, I sort of remember a study where climbers did not do much better than most athletes on grip strength as measured in the standard device used by Physical Therapists. I suspect a big part of the explanation is that most metal-spring-grippers (and the measurers for PT) contact the fingers across the PIP joint (2nd joint from the tip). Closing the distance at this point of contact requires changing the angle through the MCP joint (3rd from the tip), and perhaps also a joint or two near the base of the Thumb. But climbers on non-jug holds are mainly interested in applying force through the Tip or near it. This requires major torque through the DIP and PIP joints. But those are driven by completely different muscles (FDP + FDS) than for the MCP joint. There does need to be sufficient torque through the MCP to support what's happening out at the tip, but normally it's not the critical performance bottleneck for climbing grip. So ... Climbers tend to develop their MCP-activator muscles (interosseous and lumbrical) only far enough to provide stable support for the truly critical work of the FDP and FDS muscles -- which turns out to be not enough to excel with spring-grippers. Spring-gripper Masters have developed way more MCP-activation strength than they need to support climbing grip, but usually do not gain much FDS+FDP strength for the truly critical action out at the fingertip. (Now if some indoor climbing route had all its holds shaped like spring-gripper handles, spaced far enough out from the wall to contact at MCP joint ... likely the Spring-gripper Masters with a month or two of specific practice, could show remarkable holding strength + endurance doing laps on that route). ---------------- Of course often there's more than one configuration to grasp a grip-trainer. So if you grasp it out closer to your fingertip or DIP joint -- and close the gripper hard enough so you can take lots of muscle fibers to near-failure in say 6-12 reps -- then you'll likely get some hypertrophy in the FDS (and FDP) muscle. But the benefit from that likely would not show up in your actual climbing until after another month or two. This idea applies to the Black Diamond rubber ring just as well as the metal-spring grippers. Spring-grippers designed for climbers (e.g. ProHands) usually are shaped to make it easier to grasp near the fingertips. Ken


From that, wouldn't the logical benefit of doing any sort of Grip Master style training be injury prevention, specifically by building the supporters of the FDP and FDS? I've torn my FDP for the pinky/ring finger, it wasn't nice...

Also, don't the forearm rollers work mostly on the extensors, NOT the flexors, which are primarily responsible for climbing strength. Extensor work does carry a lot of benefit for injury prevention and elbow maintenance though.


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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Oct 30, 2013
You stay away from mah pig!

Uhh, maybe I'm missing something, but aren't hangboards one of the best ways to build forearm/grip/finger strength? Why has nobody mentioned that?


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By doug rouse
From Denver, CO.
Oct 30, 2013

Black Diamond rubber donut, 1-hour guitar every day, wanking when necessary, repeat.


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Oct 30, 2013
Sure, I can belay

Brendan Blanchard wrote:
Also, don't the forearm rollers work mostly on the extensors, NOT the flexors, which are primarily responsible for climbing strength. Extensor work does carry a lot of benefit for injury prevention and elbow maintenance though.


If you use a wrist roller with your palms facing up, rolling the bar towards you, you will work the wrist and finger flexors. Although I doubt it will help your climbing.


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By Nate Reno
From Highlands Ranch, CO
Oct 31, 2013
Ellingwood Point Summit, Little Bear in the background.

kenr wrote:
Good experiment, thanks for reporting. Similarly, I sort of remember a study where climbers did not do much better than most athletes on grip strength as measured in the standard device used by Physical Therapists. I suspect a big part of the explanation is that most metal-spring-grippers (and the measurers for PT) contact the fingers across the PIP joint (2nd joint from the tip). Closing the distance at this point of contact requires changing the angle through the MCP joint (3rd from the tip), and perhaps also a joint or two near the base of the Thumb. But climbers on non-jug holds are mainly interested in applying force through the Tip or near it. This requires major torque through the DIP and PIP joints. But those are driven by completely different muscles (FDP + FDS) than for the MCP joint. There does need to be sufficient torque through the MCP to support what's happening out at the tip, but normally it's not the critical performance bottleneck for climbing grip. So ... Climbers tend to develop their MCP-activator muscles (interosseous and lumbrical) only far enough to provide stable support for the truly critical work of the FDP and FDS muscles -- which turns out to be not enough to excel with spring-grippers. Spring-gripper Masters have developed way more MCP-activation strength than they need to support climbing grip, but usually do not gain much FDS+FDP strength for the truly critical action out at the fingertip. (Now if some indoor climbing route had all its holds shaped like spring-gripper handles, spaced far enough out from the wall to contact at MCP joint ... likely the Spring-gripper Masters with a month or two of specific practice, could show remarkable holding strength + endurance doing laps on that route). ---------------- Of course often there's more than one configuration to grasp a grip-trainer. So if you grasp it out closer to your fingertip or DIP joint -- and close the gripper hard enough so you can take lots of muscle fibers to near-failure in say 6-12 reps -- then you'll likely get some hypertrophy in the FDS (and FDP) muscle. But the benefit from that likely would not show up in your actual climbing until after another month or two. This idea applies to the Black Diamond rubber ring just as well as the metal-spring grippers. Spring-grippers designed for climbers (e.g. ProHands) usually are shaped to make it easier to grasp near the fingertips. Ken


Ken, every other post of yours contains FDP/FDS/BLT/STD/ETC, do you have a link to a good diagram of all this crap so I can no longer be confused!


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Oct 31, 2013
Pulling a small roof at 2/3 height on Mission Impossible.  Adam Sanders photo.

Nate Reno wrote:
Ken, every other post of yours contains FDP/FDS/BLT/STD/ETC, do you have a link to a good diagram of all this crap so I can no longer be confused!


You may have to translate the acronymns, but this should help (that is if you're not distracted by the other photos on the page).


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By Nate Reno
From Highlands Ranch, CO
Oct 31, 2013
Ellingwood Point Summit, Little Bear in the background.

Cute hand-streches model!
Unfortunately my projects wouldn't qualify as warmups for her =p
I have successfully been de-railed


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By Chris Rice
Nov 21, 2013

Grippers have little carryover if any. I have closed the COC #3 but it doesn't help climbing any.

Thick bar training makes for a generally stronger grip but not in a manner specific to climbing. But being all over stronger in the hands etc does have value during long days climbing.

Pinch training at different widths does carry over to pinching moves on climbs.

Levering helps quite a bit for crack climbing but not much for face.

High repetition wrist curls "may" increase vascularity over time - which could help with the dreaded pump. You can find writings both ways here.

Probably the greatest value from lifting weights etc is is working the opposite side of the hands and forearms for balanced strength across joints - in the long run this will lead to fewer injuries - either from overuse or catastrophic ones. Reverse wrist curls or opening the hands with rubber bands around the fingers are simple enough to add into a program.

I have been climbing for 30 years and doing something called Grip Sport for 10. Pretty much any targeted training will of course help somewhat. I am very familiar with most devices that might be used to develop finger - wrist and forearm strength. I have found only one machine that seems to actually target the hands in the same manner climbing does -
atomicathletic.com/store/index.php/atomic-athletic-aftermath>>>

It's stupid expensive but I made my own a lot cheaper (I'm pretty handy).

Still the best training for climbing is going to be climbing and the hangboard is probably the best single development tool specific to our needs.

No doubt the single best way to get stronger hands is to lose body weight. It's still a strength per pound sport.


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By Walter Edly
From Thomasville NC
Nov 21, 2013

There is a gyro based exerciser originally called the dyna bee, Dick's had them for 19.99. The more you work it, the more the resistance increases. Just bought my third one last month. Incredible burn.


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By kenr
Nov 22, 2013

Chris Rice wrote:
I have found only one machine that seems to actually target the hands in the same manner climbing does - atomicathletic.com/store/index.php/atomic-athletic-aftermath>>>

Looks very impressive -- like a way improved climber-specific version of Titan's Telegraph Key.

Thanks so much for posting that suggestion.

Ken


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By MRock
Nov 22, 2013
Split shin after 5.9+ R lead

Hmm I guess you're right slim: rice grips just strengthen the flexors of your fingers, not the actual contact strength. I see now they're more to be used in conjunction with a more strength oriented excersize to keep the flexors flexy, or something :D


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