Mountain Project Logo

ring sizing


Original Post
Eric Fjellanger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2008 · Points: 840

So here's a dumb question. Do your fingers change size much, based on your climbing fitness/strength?

I've never worn a ring before. I'm about to start. I generally don't climb much in the winter, so my climbing fitness varies a lot seasonally.

I looked around for info about this but found a lot of conflicting opinions. Some say theirs have never changed, some say their fingers have gotten thicker because of climbing, some say their knuckles swell after a workout but later return to previous size.

I actually have a silicone ring that might make this a non-issue, but I'm thinking about getting a metal one to wear when I'm not being active.

Have any ring-wearing climbers noticed your ring fitting differently based on your fitness level?

reboot · · . · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 125

Yes. And you'll end up loosing a bunch of them. Seek acceptable alternatives first.

Still don't understand why this is in the training forum.

Eric Fjellanger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2008 · Points: 840

Still??

Because I'm asking if training changes the size of your fingers.

Next?

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

As a climber, a better option for ring wearing is to wear it on a necklace a la Frodo in Lord of the Rings. If you try to wear a ring climbing you will either be taking it on and off constantly or leaving it on and risking degloving your finger. 

Eric Fjellanger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2008 · Points: 840

That is not my question, I won't be wearing a a ring while climbing, also, the silicone ring is safe to wear for climbing if I chose to do so.

reboot · · . · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 125

If you think you are asking a dumb question, why are you surprised people aren't directly answer it?

Training is a matter of intent, not the actual stress on your fingers.

If your knuckles didn't get larger from climbing, it'll likely won't get larger thru your idea of "training" either.

But sounds like you just want to hear your knuckles will stay the same size, so yeah, knock yourself out.

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 275

Sheesh, not very helpful, is it?

I can't tell you about training, exactly, but anything that makes your joints inflamed and swollen will be problematic for wearing rings. Even seasonal temperature swings can be enough to make them difficult.

Hubby and I got married almost 25 years ago, and the rings have been off for maybe ten years now. Knuckles swollen, or, back and forth. Now, we have a set of necklaces that are my design, which have even more meaning for us than the rings.

With climbing being so hard on hands, I would expect you'll be in the same boat, soon enough. Just be sure to check often, and get it off if it gets tight.

Hope this at least nets more responses. 

And congratulations, perhaps? :-)

Best, Helen

Em Cos · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 5

Climber or not, your hands are unlikely to stay the exact same size for the rest of your life. Get a ring that fits you well today, replace or resize as needed. 

Eplumer400 · · Cleveland, OH · Joined May 2016 · Points: 100

When going to a metal band, look for a metal that can be resized for the future when your fingers significantly change size. Don't get tungsten carbide, as it can't be resized. 

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

Yes, your finger will change sizes a bit 

I got married in Sept and I wear my band whenever I'm not climbing- at least, whenever I'm not climbing and it will go onto my finger. Most days it will go on- most mornings, it won't come off for an hour or two. 

If I'm planning a climb in the early morning, I won't wear the ring to bed.

Invest in some ring glide if you go for a metal band.

Size in when you're at a maintenance point in your training, as this will minimize dealing with the ring either not going on or being too big. 

Size fairly snug over your knuckle.

Make sure you only have one or two places you keep the ring if you're not wearing it (i have one at work, two at home)- that way you'll be less likely to lose it.

Good luck, congrats, and yes, I'm planning on buying a silicone ring for travel- since the ring does have to come off and on regularly, a long trip would be asking to lose it.

will ar · · San Antonio, TX · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 250

I've noticed the fit of my ring changes quite a bit, but it usually seems to be based more on the season/temperature than training. Regardless it's always taken me a good amount of effort to take on and off so my wife and I recently got silicone rings and they are awesome. I'll throw my metal ring on for certain occasions, but I'm usually wearing the silicone one.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

Fingers swell throughout the day and in response to different seasons, weather, how much water you drink, etc.  loading your fingers causes swelling, which will obviously make your fingers fatter.  Most metals will stretch and eventually fall off when your fingers shrink back down, which is why I like my Tungsten Carbide ring, although it can sometimes be painful to get off if your fingers are swollen.  Still, it's not going to ever fall off on its own.  Oh, and don't even think of climbing with it.  Google "degloving" if you have to wonder why.

D B · · Denver · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 205

^

Here's a related question: how often do you guys see people climbing with rings? And do you tell them it's dangerous?

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530
D B wrote:

^

Here's a related question: how often do you guys see people climbing with rings? And do you tell them it's dangerous?

Generally we let people know when they come to the climbing gym for the first time not to climb with a ring. 

In my experience, it's pretty rare to see people climbing with them outdoors or even the gym if they aren't super new to the sport.

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

To answer the original question: No, your fingers won't get significantly "bigger" because of developing hand strength. You actually tend to develop tendon strength through climbing more than finger muscles. My wedding ring fits exactly the same as it did 20 years ago, and my hands are a LOT stronger now. As others noted, your hands will swell sometimes but that's a different story. 

Only advice I'd give about ring sizing is to size it big enough to put on and off easily for the reasons cited by people above about not climbing with it on.

Andrew Vinzant · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 358

After becoming a climber my hands went from a large glove to xtra large, no joke.

Lena chita · · Cleveland, OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 250

None of the rings that I had ~ 12-14 years ago (before i started climbing regularly) fit me well. Some of them were too big before and are snug now, some used to fit on middle finger, and now only barely fit on ring finger.

But it is the joints specifically that got bigger, not the entire finger. 

Baba Fats · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

I resized my wedding band after I started climbing because my fingers got much thicker. it took a few weeks of not wearing it at all before I decided that they stopped changing enough to settle on a new size

AndrewArroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
Lena chita wrote:



But it is the joints specifically that got bigger, not the entire finger. 

That's interesting. Do your fingers have pain, too? Because chronic joint swelling is a symptom of arthritis or other inflamation. There's no muscle in your joint that could "grow" bigger from exertion. 

Brian Malone · · Olney, Maryland · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 3,750

You should not wear rings while climbing. I once saw a person mess-up their finger while climbing and their ring had to be cut off to save the finger (and he ended up losing the finger because of the ring anyway).  If you wear it on a necklace, make sure the chain is break-away.  If your wife loves you, she will also accept the extra safety precautions to save your fingers.

Don't wear rings or bracelets unless you are willing to lose a finger or hand.

Lena chita · · Cleveland, OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 250
AndrewArroz wrote:

That's interesting. Do your fingers have pain, too? Because chronic joint swelling is a symptom of arthritis or other inflamation. There's no muscle in your joint that could "grow" bigger from exertion. 

Nope, no pain at all. The joints aren't so much "swollen" as "flattened" maybe? I am not saying that it is a muscle in my joint that is growing bigger. It is the bone itself that got bigger.

Here's an article from couple years back, looking at finger joint changes in climbers. The gist of it that climbers aren't at increased risk of osteoarthritis, but do have widened/thickened fingers, and the extra bone deposits are correlated with duration/frequency/difficulty of climbing. Sport climbers and boulderers had the biggest bone density/size changes, and harder/more frequent climbing also had more of an effect on finger bones.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2100343/

if the OP is training hard, it is quite likely that his fingers will get thicker, eventually

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply