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New Year’s Training: Hangboard Week 3

This routine is built around increasing your finger strength safely and quickly through volume. This week we increase the resistance.

Week 3:

The Fingerboard:

To begin, congratulations. In these last two weeks, over the course of these last six sessions, you have progressed from being able to hang an edge to mastering that edge. Though it may feel as though you have only increased the set count, you will have noticed that the edge feels “lighter” than it did in Week 1.

The consistency with which you have brought to this program has allowed for adaptation to occur and, at this point, you should feel confident in your ability to hang on whichever edge size you have worked with. Though we could continue to build density, we will instead move on to a smaller edge or an increase in weight.

You will notice that training on a larger grip will have greatly increased your ability to hold smaller grips. This is because finger strength translates to all exercises relating to finger strength. A person does not need to train on the 6 millimetres to be able to hold 6-millimetre grips. You will find that most people that are able to hold small holds train most of their sets on larger grips.

At this point, you must make a decision. The cycle is moving back to the 3 sets of Week 1 so we need to increase the difficulty of the exercise. It is recommended that you drop an edge size or that you increase the weight if you are wanting to do this. Do not drop the edge size by any more than 5 millimetres. 5 millimetres is a lot. If dropping the edge size is not a possibility, or if doing so would mean too great a decrease in edge size, then instead add weight.

It is recommended that you increase the weight by 2-to-10 pounds. 10 pounds is a lot for a finger-strength workout such as this. If you are going to add 10 pounds, do so with great consideration. Whether you are dropping an edge size or increasing weight, it is important to remain in communication with your body. If your fingers are saying that the load is too high, the load is too high. Decrease the resistance immediately.

Last week was our first with one-arm hangs. For many, this exercise will have felt difficult. Do not worry. It will take time for the shoulder to become strong enough to support your weight. Remember, form is everything. If the form collapses, we risk hyper-extending our elbow or straining the ligaments in our shoulder. To that effect, the goal is to have stronger fingers, not to complete the exercise as written. If you are not strong enough to meet the 3 sets of 7 seconds yet, recognize that this will come with time.

3 sets of the openhand position

  • 3 second hang: follow with 10 – 90 second rest
  • 6 second hang: follow with 10 – 90 second rest
  • 9 second hang: follow with 10 – 90 second rest

3 sets of the half-crimp position

  • 3 second hang: follow with 10 – 90 second rest
  • 6 second hang: follow with 10 – 90 second rest
  • 9 second hang: follow with 10 – 90 second rest

3 sets of the three-finger open-hand position.

  • 3 second hang: follow with 10 – 90 second rest
  • 6 second hang: follow with 10 – 90 second rest
  • 9 second hang: follow with 10 – 90 second rest

3 sets of one-arm hangs. Do not increase weight. This will be your training edge until you are able to complete 3 sets of 7 second hangs separated by 3 minutes of rest per hang on your right and left hands.

Form:

You should use a four-finger half-crimp grip with an engaged shoulder and the arm locked off at 120 degrees. Do not allow your arm to lock out strait. This puts strain on your connective tissues as opposed to your musculature.

Once you have achieved the above, you may move down to a smaller edge size. Do not feel rushed. This exercise targets the shoulder, bicep, and obviously the fingers. That means that there are at least three potential points of failure. It might take a few sessions before you are able to complete 3 sets of 7 seconds on both hands, even if you are using a jug.

If you are using a jug, and you still cannot hang from one arm for at least 2 seconds, skip this exercise. It is more important that you focus all of your shoulder stability on the two-arm dead hangs.

Physical Exercise:

Front Lever:

  • 6 sets of 10 seconds

Push ups:

This is for the antagonist muscle training. It keeps your elbows safe.

  • 100 elbows-back, military-style, push ups. Ideally 10 sets of 10, but if you cannot do this, then sets of 5 or even sets of 2 are perfectly okay. If you are completing sets of two, perhaps drop the number to 50 push ups instead of 100. This style of push up isolates the triceps.

Stretch:

It cannot be overstated how useful flexibility is. The more flexible you are, the less strength is required to move your feet up. To that effect, greater flexibility gives the climber a wider range of foothold options. As such there are a few areas that you should stretch specifically, and this is definitely a non-exhaustive list.

Hamstrings

  • Hand to toe-hook matches
  • Heel hooks
  • Drop knees

Hip flexors

  • High steps
  • Drop knees
  • Heel hooks

Middle splits

  • Getting your hips into the wall.
  • Middle splits are very useful. Flexible hip flexors are equally important.

You will retain the additional, non-finger-specific training on your other training days.

Schedule:

Day 1: Train

Day 2: Rest

Day 3: Train

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Train

Day 6: Rest

Day 7: Rest

On day 5 this week you will move up from 3 sets per grip position to 4 sets per grip position. Day 5:

4 sets of the openhand position

  • 3 second hang: follow with 10 – 90 second rest
  • 6 second hang: follow with 10 – 90 second rest
  • 9 second hang: follow with 10 – 90 second rest

4 sets of the half-crimp position

  • 3 second hang: follow with 10 – 90 second rest
  • 6 second hang: follow with 10 – 90 second rest
  • 9 second hang: follow with 10 – 90 second rest

4 sets of the three-finger open-hand position

  • 3 second hang: follow with 10 – 90 second rest
  • 6 second hang: follow with 10 – 90 second rest
  • 9 second hang: follow with 10 – 90 second rest

3 sets of one-arm hangs

  • Right hand: Aim for 7 seconds with 3 min rest
  • Left hand: Aim for 7 seconds with 3 min rest

Featured Image by Tension Climbing of Austin Purdy