More and more climbers are learning about the benefits of general strength training. That’s why you see climbers deadlifting, squatting, and swinging kettlebells. These climbers are doing it right. Training general strength helps climbers become more well-rounded, durable athletes.

However, when it comes to developing grip and finger strength, we all still turn right to the hangboard. We aren’t for a second going to say that hangboarding isn’t the gold standard in training finger strength. However, would working on general grip strength, in addition to hangboarding, produce greater climbing specific finger strength gains?

To help answer this question, here’s an article by trainer and coach Steve Bechtel of Climb Strong about how he is incorporating general grip strength training into his finger strength training protocols.

“I’m not going to tell you to stop your specific training, but I suggest adding some of the following exercises to your climbing strength plan. By doing flexion and extension at the wrist, finger extensions, and doing some “crushing” movements, you’ll increase your general hand strength and might see some nagging problems drop away.” – Steve Bechtel

Developing General Grip Strength

Bechtel’s theory behind working general grip strength is that it reduces the risk of overuse injuries, eliminates muscle imbalances, and can help you break through finger strength plateaus.

Ultimately, Bechtel definitely doesn’t suggest abandoning the hangboard. Instead, he is pointing out that we should train finger strength the same way we train strength for the rest of our bodies: both general and sport-specific. By training in this way, we can become not only stronger climbers, but also more well-rounded athletes that are less susceptible to injury.

When programming for his athletes, here are the exercises Bechtel recommends:

  • Wrist Curls
  • Reverse Wrist Curls
  • Crushing
  • Wrist Rotation

Click through below to read about exactly how to integrate these general grip strength exercises into your training.

Full Article: Climb Strong – Developing General Grip Strength


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