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Beginner Plateau


Original Post
Ryan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 5

I have been climbing casually between classes for two years or so and avoided crimps in the gym like the plague when I first started.  I have hit a spot where I am able to send all the easy stuff, but when the holds get thinner on harder problems, my finger strength seems to be that of a beginner.  I have no problem doing the moves technique wise, but I just can't hold on. 

I am wondering if I am at a point where hangboarding would benefit my climbing.  And if so, what are some good hangboard options with deeper holds and has training plans easily available?  Or is something like a grippul with a cable machine in a gym a better place to start?

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175

climbing friend,

you may toughen yourself up and simply be stubborn working on your projects do not accept defeat do not release your crimps until they pry them from your cold dead hand. you would be getting stronger if you can take the ego punishment.

if you like grope at the hangboard to feel as if you are accomplishing something without the actual climbing on climbing rocks climb on, as we all would do, there is plenty o info on these tubes of internetz. perhaps you read on https://www.reddit.com/r/climbharder/

be warned o friend, you must achieve very high levels of sexual frustration, and even nerd level 9, in order to properly utilize the hangboard and appropriate spreadsheetz.

Andrew Krajnik · · Plainfield, IL · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 324

I've only been climbing 2 years myself, but I'd say you're probably better off just climbing more, and don't "avoid" any specific type of route or hold. When I first started, I sucked at crimps, and slopers, and pinches for that matter. But if you climb enough of them, you suddenly find yourself sending routes that previously would have looked impossible to you. Hangboarding is soul-suckingly boring compared to actual climbing, and if you are able to get to the gym, that's probably going to give you more benefit anyway.

kingfisher · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 0

No need to move into hang boarding territory yet. You can improve, and probably have more fun, by just systematically adding some volume and intensity to your climbing time. Try Steve Bechtel-style Density Bouldering (https://www.climbstrong.com/articles/20130121) or Steve Maisch-style Bouldering Pyramids. 

bkozak · · Sterling, VA · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 70

Judging that you titled this post "beginner plateau", then there is no reason you should need to be doing hangboard exercises, unless your definition of "easy" is vastly different than most beginner climbers.  

Gaining strength in beginning stages isn't very complex.  As with anything, it's all about progressive overload.  Keep doing climbs that target your weaknesses (crimps) and you will get stronger through repetition.  Just don't push yourself too hard too fast and get injured.  

kingfisher · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 0

In a recent Power Company Podcast (powercompanyclimbing.com/po…) that compares hangboarding protocols, Steve Maisch asserts that you really don't need to start hangboarding until you're climbing V4/V5. 

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175

climbing friend,

everyone they tell to the beginner not to hangboard so that they will remain terrible at climbing for longer, and will hopefully stay off my route, becaause

alll your flash are belong to me

all your fingerboard gainz are belong to me

Ryan Bowen · · Bend, Or · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 85

What do you folks think about hangboarding with a pulley to reduce your weight?  I would think (as someone who doesn't think often) that it would be akin to doing bench press with just the bar, and slowly building up to  where it truly becomes a workout, just without the ripped tendons from going all in on day one.

Ryan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 5

Thanks for all the awesome replies!  I'm going to check out all the links you guys sent.  Just for reference, my easy is flashing v2s, sending most v3s in a couple tries, and getting shut down by 5s and up.

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294

The problem with “progressive overloading” while climbing is that it’s hard to control the load. You’ve been working on that V-medium for two weeks, only a small crimp stands between you and the finish jug. You lock off and reach for the crimp, hold it, you taste the sweet taste of victory, you throw for the jug but your feet slipped, “POP!” Now you can’t climb for weeks with a pulley injury.

I don’t see anything wrong with hangboarding now to build up finger strength, as long as you don’t go overboard. Start with a lot of weights removed, and increase the load very gradually (err on the side of too light than too heavy), and don’t use hangboarding to replace climbing as training.

Vaughn · · Colorado · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 50
Ryan Bowen wrote:

What do you folks think about hangboarding with a pulley to reduce your weight?  I would think (as someone who doesn't think often) that it would be akin to doing bench press with just the bar, and slowly building up to  where it truly becomes a workout, just without the ripped tendons from going all in on day one.

I think it's pretty much essential unless you are already climbing very hard. Otherwise you'll either fail miserably and/or hurt yourself.

kingfisher · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 0

Yeah. It's not that hangboarding is dangerous. It's super controlled. You can remove weight and slowly build strength. That's a fine plan. I think the point is that it isn't considered an inherently fun activity. You didn't start climbing to go hang on a board. It's a tool that can help you progress, but people don't recommend it early on because it's assumed that you'd rather improve at climbing by climbing. And, after all, climbing is a skill specific sport, so you (and the rest of us) could benefit from spending more time climbing - improving technique, running skills drills, and increasing volume - than just getting stronger in a non-climbing format. 

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294

The OP asked if hangboarding can help his climbing. He didn't ask if hangboarding is fun. I think it's pretty obvious that hangboarding isn't as fun as climbing, but sit around watching climbing videos for 6 months because you have a pulley injury isn't as fun as climbing either (look around the forum, happens very often). The OP said he doesn't have problem with technique, so presumably he wants to work on his weak grips by hangboarding. It's not a bad idea to target weak grips on a hangboard to gradually increase his finger (and tendon) strength over a long period of time, this will also serve to reduce the likelihood of finger injuries.


The only time I had a finger/hand injury was pulling too hard on a two-finger pocket trying desperately not to fall off on a route. Once my hand healed, I started training two-finger pockets on a hangboard, even though this is a grip that I don't often encounter. Now when I do encounter pockets on a route, I can pull on them with confidence.

Ryan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 5

So I was checking out the beastmaker 1000.  Anyone a fan of that specific model?

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

A doctor is in my circle of partners. After one of US did a self inflicted "spirol fracture" to the bone that goes from your little finger to your wrist, whilst cranking really really hard on a project. Remarked "well we know Kris has worked through his grip reflex...." The doc explained...."everybody is born with it so we don't go around overtaxing our hands and with training-- or certain types of work- Steel Worker.... for example... you can loose it." 

Just keep climbing..... and hit the hangboard, take it easy. 

 

 

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 745

IMO hangboard doesn't make sense unless you are climbing 11+/12-. You say you've been climbing casually for two years, and avoiding the crimps. How about increasing the frequency of your climbing sessions, and not avoiding any particular hold types? 


Pavel Burov · · Russia · Joined May 2013 · Points: 50
Ryan wrote:

hangboarding would benefit my climbing

Most likely it would benefit your orthopedic doctor's bank account.

Jason Kim · · Encinitas, CA · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 255
Ryan wrote:

I have no problem doing the moves technique wise, but I just can't hold on. 

This is the part that jumps out at me.  I am a huge fan of hang board training, even for beginners, but if you've only been climbing casually for a couple of years, there are almost certainly gains to be had in the technique arena.  Don't sell yourself short and discount them!  

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,576

Boulder. Lots. And don't avoid crimps. There are three general criteria that define the difficulty of routes. The size of the holds, the angle of the terrain, and how far apart the holds are. You don't climb harder by avoiding small holds- it's a key component of what defines the difficulty of a route.  If you've been avoiding crimps, you'll be woefully unprepared to utilize a hangboard to increase strength. Move into it gradually. Pick routes that are just barely out of your reach and have small holds in between good rests with big holds. Same with bouldering. Start on vertical/near vertical terrain, then increase the angle and difficulty incrementally. Build a strong base of routes. If you've topped out at say 5.10a, send every 10a in the gym, then start working your way up. If you get stumped on a route, ask yourself why. Solicit advice from stronger, more experienced climbers. Often you'll find it's not JUST your finger strength that's the catalyst for your plateau. The overwhelming majority of climbers go through this in their first year or two. Do some research, stay motivated, and leverage all the potential sources for improvement around you. You'll get past it.

Pavel Burov · · Russia · Joined May 2013 · Points: 50
Ryan wrote:

I have no problem doing the moves technique wise, but I just can't hold on.

I suspect the lack of technique. Namely, the lack of body positioning (more flexibility workouts and do some core workouts) and footwork (more feet precision drills, more dynamics to foot movements drills). When a climber just cannot hold on it is due to bad technique (bad body positioning due to lack of flexibility and core strength, too static foot moves due to lack of feet placing precision) at least 99% of the time (except elite athletes).

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175
Guy Keesee wrote:

A doctor is in my circle of partners. After one of US did a self inflicted "spirol fracture" to the bone that goes from your little finger to your wrist, whilst cranking really really hard on a project. Remarked "well we know Kris has worked through his grip reflex...." The doc explained...."everybody is born with it so we don't go around overtaxing our hands and with training-- or certain types of work- Steel Worker.... for example... you can loose it." 

Just keep climbing..... and hit the hangboard, take it easy. 

 

 

climbing friend,

once the hangboard is utilized, you may also be telling on to your friends that your overzealousmasturbation injury is due to "hangboarding"

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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