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Pinch and Sloper Strength

Original Post
J T · · Anywhere dry · Joined Nov 2018 · Points: 0

Anyone have any training exercises and protocols for improving pinch or sloper strength?

dave rosen · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 159

Slopers use primarily just forearm flexors with some extensors for stabilization. Hangboarding will improve muscular strength. A lot of technique is involved in learning to hang from slopers, though, so practicing on a system wall or certain route types will help. Pinches also use primarily forearm flexors, but also engage some intrinsic hand muscles. Pinch blocks or pinching free weights is an easy way to train. In general, unless you are training for a very pinch-heavy climb, or you are climbing at a high level, simply hangboarding consistently on edges will improve the main muscle groups you will need for all hold types.

J T · · Anywhere dry · Joined Nov 2018 · Points: 0
dave rosen wrote: Slopers use primarily just forearm flexors with some extensors for stabilization. Hangboarding will improve muscular strength. A lot of technique is involved in learning to hang from slopers, though, so practicing on a system wall or certain route types will help. Pinches also use primarily forearm flexors, but also engage some intrinsic hand muscles. Pinch blocks or pinching free weights is an easy way to train. In general, unless you are training for a very pinch-heavy climb, or you are climbing at a high level, simply hangboarding consistently on edges will improve the main muscle groups you will need for all hold types.

This contradictory, you say there is a lot of technique involved, but then later say that hang boarding will improve this type of strength. Can you clarify what you mean?

 In my experience, hangboarding has not helped. Currently, I can max hang (5 seconds on the 15mm) with 150% body weight, however whenever I get on any V7+ sloper or pinch problem I begin to struggle and am often left not being able to do pinch/sloper type moves. 

Kevin MP · · Redmond, OR · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 623

Climbing slopers usually relies on a good amount of core tension and compression, more so than positive holds you cal pull outward on. I'm no training expert but heres one opinion: Boulering on those types of holds would be the first choice if possible, to improve technique and body position. Otherwise I would focus on training core and muscle groups in the shoulders, chest and arms. Last would be some hangboarding on open hand grips and slopers, but I doubt finger strength is your limiting factor.

Allen Sanderson · · On the road to perdition · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,188

My sloper pinch ability is rather pathetic. But I do pilates for my core strength which pays off in aces on many boulder problems.

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 16,643
dave rosen wrote: Hangboarding will improve muscular strength. A lot of technique is involved in learning to hang from slopers, though, so practicing on a system wall or certain route types will help. . . .simply hangboarding consistently on edges . . .

Yes - Excellent (and not "contradictory").

Sloper technique is about
(1) body position - (with long legs + arms often disadvantageous) - (why slopers are so important for competition).
(2) smooth motion; and
(3) my latest theory about the physics is that on difficult slopers a key strategy is to focus the fingers on a small area of contact with the hold -- exactly the most favorable small area on the larger hold. Not to go for a large contact area (like using the palm). So need to get good at finding that small best contact area (and perhaps getting creative about "most favorable" in the context of different possible body + leg configurations).

Focusing downward pressure on a small area but not immediately over an edge is basically _crimping_ -- which will require lots of good-old-fashioned finger strength. Especially if you're going to make a move off that sloper, not just hang while re-arranging your feet.

So training finger strength on a fingerboard should help: Especially the "non-closed" crimp grip (without folding your thumb over your forefinger).
Hanging off larger rounded holds on a hangboard is not likely to help with tricky slopers in real climbing situations (according to my theory) - (but might be useful for other purposes).

Another thing to help with slopers is "plié" stretching of hip-abduction (to enable a more favorable body position).

Ken
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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