Saturday, 12 September 2015

Steel Fingers 1

In my bid for fingers of steel, and after a long lay off from climbing, I have formulated the following finger program based upon Encores and Repeaters and Ben Davidson's program.

My digits are weak at the moment so I need to use two handed hangs.  I've been foot-on laddering twice a week for a few weeks in an attempt to condition my fingers, but now is the time to specialise!

A quick word about my warm up prior to the climbing routine.  It is similar to my generic warm up - joint rotations and limb swings.  Then to a bit of rope climbing to work shoulders and elbows, and to give the full hand a shakedown.  Finally I do some light finger work on the campus board - all foot-on, and then with a few foot-off moves.  This takes around 20 minutes.

Terminology & Broad Outline
  • The basic exercise is a HANG which comprises 7s Time Under Load (TUL) with 3s rest for a chosen GRIP.
  • The hang is repeated five times (so six hangs in all) - which means 60s of work.  This is a SET.
  • Three SETS form a BLOCK.
  • Each of the three SETS within a BLOCK uses a different GRIP.
  • The GRIP chosen will be one of:
    - Full crimp,
    - Half crimp, and,
    - Open crimp. 
  • Rest times between each SET within a BLOCK is 180s (3 minutes).
  • Each BLOCK is repeated for a total of three times with
    - Arms almost straight,
    - Arms at 90 degrees, and,
    - Arms in a full lock position.
  • The rest between BLOCKS will be 5 minutes.

Chose a hold that causes failure (ideally) only on the last set of the last block.  If you fail to complete all the work in each block then you need to lower the intensity (so use a bigger hold).

The same holds will be used for any one grip type - so you can select holds that challenge each grip accordingly.

You might also want to vary two and one handed work.  I have a pulley system set up so I can incorporate lock-off training which I use when working the half-crimp grip.  Otherwise I adopt two handed work on my fingerboard.

I recommend some intraset work - wrist push ups are prehabilitive and mandatory when working lock-offs in particular.  I sometimes throw in splits and other leg-flexibility work to break the boredom!

At the very least, if you want to get stronger then just follow the steps above above at least twice a week (not more than 3x - and listen to your body), and after 37 minutes, you'll feel your fingers and arms are battered.  Stick with the same routine for six weeks before changing it up.  Then take a week off from the program.  This should give your fingers, joints and tendons time to adapt and recover.

I hope that this gives you some ideas. In my next post I will illustrate my program with an example.

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