As you may already know, climbing and bouldering are the keys to becoming a better climber or boulderer. However, what if you have a busy office job and spend a lot of time at your desk? Does it make sense to use grip training tools to at least develop SOME grip strength? Will these devices help or are they just decoys? We investigated a bit and tried to learn as much as possible. For this post, we have also reviewed popular grip trainers, so read on if you’re interested!
Are Climbing Grip Trainers effective for climbers and boulderers? When you use grip trainers, you can increase your grip strength even if you work at a desk. Climbing training will not be required, but these exercises are superior to doing nothing at all.
- The Benefits of Additional Grip Training for Some Muscle Groups
- Working Principles of Most Grip Trainers
- Gripper training versus hangboard training
- A Cheaper Alternative to Climbing Grip Trainers If You Want to Train Pinch Grip Strength
- Rice-Bucket Training: A Martial Arts Alternative to Grip Trainers
- The 6 best rice bucket exercises for rock climbers and boulderers
- Grip Trainers We Reviewed
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
The Benefits of Additional Grip Training for Some Muscle Groups
Climbing or bouldering requires flexor tendons and forearm and hand muscles. Several muscles can be seen in the picture. Green are the flexors and red are the extensors. When you climb, you don’t use the extensor muscles very often so they become neglected. Those imbalances can limit your climbing strength and also lead to imbalances. Extensor trainers like the PowerFingers tool work on these underutilized extensors. Other training devices, such as the Black Diamond Grip trainer, help with base conditioning and injury recovery.
For strengthening your grip, try climbing more or using a hangboard. When you are traveling or abroad, portable hangboards are great. Nevertheless, if you cannot do this, you might have no option but to use a grip trainer. The majority of grip trainers on the market are of no use, as they offer no overload or progression, as well as being not as monotonous as they could be. However, there are some devices designed specifically for climbers. When you don’t have the opportunity to climb, these can be a good substitute.
Working Principles of Most Grip Trainers
Most grip trainers work by letting the trainee squeeze something with their forearms. The method emphasizes the positive motion of the forearm, whereas real climbing involves more isometric exertion, since your forearms typically contract to hold your body weight.
Grip trainers typically involve a lot of resistance training, which is ideal for rehabbing injuries or creating a strong grip after they have been injured. However, there are also grip trainers that target the forearm extensors.
Since climbing underuses arm extensor muscles, devices that train them are ideal for any climbing training. When you cannot go climbing for real, you might be better off working on muscle groups that are typically underdeveloped when training climbing. It’s always a good idea to attack a weakness! Climbers often have weak extensor muscles, resulting in elbow injuries and pain, biceps tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and other hand and tendon injuries. With high resistance training, you will also become better at isometric holds if you train your extensors!
Gripper training versus hangboard training
When you train on a hangboard, your training is very climbing-specific. While climbing, your tiny muscles in your forearms and fingers are actually engaged. When you squeeze and extend on a grip trainer, each action is different and it is not designed to mimic climbing or bouldering, and it can be used for any activity that benefits from grip strength.
A Cheaper Alternative to Climbing Grip Trainers If You Want to Train Pinch Grip Strength
If you want to increase your grip strength for pinch holds, you can just buy a 2×4 wooden board and hire some static rope. Afterwards, attach a 20-lb backpack and a small carabiner with rope to it. Now try walking around with a pinch grip on the board – you’ll have a tough time holding the board above ground, and it’s a great training method for pinch grips.
Rice-Bucket Training: A Martial Arts Alternative to Grip Trainers
You might know rice bucket training from some cheesy 80s martial arts movie: Dip your hands into a bucket of rice or grain and squeeze and trust me it is really a super intensive support training, and i’ve seen many people recommending it.
Rice bucket training is not a silver bullet, but it is useful for building some base strength in your forearms for climbing and bouldering. Rice bucket training allows you to develop relatively well-connected forearm muscles without strong imbalances, since it leads to weak muscles becoming stronger over time. Your muscles will respond quickly to this type of training, but it’s best to start slowly and not overdo it at first. You should do two or three sessions per week, with each exercise lasting about 50 seconds, and extending it over time. Once your forearms get used to it, the training won’t be painful anymore, and then you’ll have a solid foundation!
The 6 best rice bucket exercises for rock climbers and boulderers
Although the exercises have funny names, they are very effective!
Exercise 1: Iron Fist
Make a fist and stabbing your fingers into the rice bucket. Hold the fist for 50 seconds, then take a 2-minute break. Repeat three to four times.
Exercise 2: Screaming Talon
Open your fingers wide after stabbing them into the rice bucket. Then close it again, then open it again, and hold it for 1-2 seconds. Repeat eight to ten times. Perform three sets of eight to ten reps.
Exercise 3: Fists of Fury
Rotate your fingers continuously in one direction for 30 seconds, then change directions for another 30 seconds. Let’s pause for two minutes. Repeat three to four times.
Exercise 4: Screaming Talon
Open your fingers wide after stabbing them into the rice bucket. Hold for 1-2 seconds after closing and opening again. Repeat eight to ten times. Perform three sets of eight to ten reps.
Exercise 5: Wax On, Wax Off
From left to right, from right to left, move your hands sideways. Keep repeating this motion for a minute. Take a two-minute break. Repeat three to four times.
Exercise 6: Gouge the eye
Try digging your thumbs as deep as you can into the bucket. Then pause for two minutes and repeat. Repeat three to four times.
Exercise 7: Crush the pebble
Hold handfuls of rice between your fingers and squeeze them together to make dust. Make a pause of 1-2 minutes after repeating motion for 45 seconds. Then repeat 3-4 times.
Grip Trainers We Reviewed
The Marcy Wedge:
If you need a grip training device that will work both flexors and extensors, this is the right choice. You work your muscles by rocking your wrist forward and backward. The grip and resistance can be easily adjusted. In addition, it does not allow you to build the grip strength needed for climbing, so it is best used after an injury or as a foundation builder.
The old-fashioned way to exercise your grip. You can target specific fingers, and there are three different models with varying levels of resistance. Although there are some climbing-specific training routines, the device is primarily used for rehab and conditioning. You can use it if you need to work on isolated fingers.
The Gripmaster has been reported to cause injury due to too much training intensity!
Captains of Crush Grippers :
Captains of Crush Grippers
- Cost- $70- $110
- Expensive and not good for climbers
Trainers like these torson spring grips help you strengthen your hands. You can buy them in ridicolously strong levels, if you want. They are very popular in the weightlifting community. By the way, there is a book published by the company that has a lot of information about exercises, and it will tell you many different exercises. There are no exercises specifically designed for climbers. Squeezing training can be incorporated with bouldering and campus board training if you wish. Do not expect them to work wonders for your grip strength, though!
The PowerFingers :
- Cost- $30
- Great equipment to train antagonist muscle
- Score- 4.5/5
In order to strengthen forearm extensors, Powerfingers are used. They offer five levels of resistance and train each finger loop separately. Because of that, they are perfect if you want to control the level of resistance during your workout.
As with most grip trainers, you can use them to work out muscular imbalances, do base conditioning, and work on injury rehabilitation and prevention. However, these actually work very well for strengthening as opposed to others. This grip trainer allows individual fingers to be trained, while most other grip trainers do not. You can also train fingers with high levels of resistance, making them perfect for strengthening your fingers!
When training, you should remember that opposition strength of your muscles is important. In order to unlock the full potential of your muscles, antagonist muscles need to be developed. You can train these antagonist muscles with Powerfingers. Include training on rest days when you don’t climb anyway, so you should do three sessions per week. Following that, hold each contraction for 3-4 seconds as you do sets of 10 to 15 repetitions, with 4-6 sets of each exercise. After using Powerfingers for a while, climbers reported increased finger strength, as well as fewer injuries. Therefore, we believe these are a great addition to any climbing training regimen.
Black Diamond Forearm Trainer :
Black Diamond Forearm Trainer
- Cost- $5-$10
- Good and pocket friendly basic trainer
- Score- 4.5/5
Simple rubber rings squeezed together create these devices. Despite being a simple design, they actually work well. They are also cheap. It’s an excellent tool for long drives or at work, basically anywhere you aren’t climbing. You’ll get a forearm pump, just like climbing.
You can also use them to soothe sore finger tendons and warm up your hands and forearms. In addition, they’re a great way to relieve stress at work.
Metolious Climbing Grip Saver plus :
Metolious Climbing Grip Saver plus
- Cost- $15-$30
- Don not expect miracle from them
- Score- 4/5
Developed by a doctor, Metaloid Grip Saver helps you improve your grip. While they aren’t great for strength building, they are good for prevention and rehabilitation. They are available in three levels of resistance, and start at $15.
Additionally, you can use them to train antagonistic muscles and work off residual soreness in your forearm.
The Gripster :
- Cost- $55
- Expensive can be good
- Score- 5/5
While it’s expensive, the Gripster is an excellent tool to train No Hangs. Hangs are a great exercise that you do where you lift weights off the ground. With finger isolation, it works just as well as hangboard training, but without the overhead arm stress. That’s much better for your shoulders.
Gripsters is a device designed specifically for this kind of training. It can be used to prevent injuries and to rotate your shoulders.
You can use climbing grip trainers as an extension to your climbing training. If you have time (pun intended), try some finger exercises. Keep in mind, however, that climbing grip trainers will not replace real climbing trainers!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Are grip trainers good for climbing?
Yes, grip trainers are good for climbing because they improve your grip strength, even if you work a desk job. You should keep in mind that they will not replace a real climbing workout, but they are better than not exercising your grip.
How often should I use grip trainers?
Heavy Grips should only be used 2 to 3 times a week. As opposed to the grippers sold at department stores, our grippers were designed to work your muscles at a moderate level of resistance by using low repetitions. (squeezing grippers less than five to fifteen times)
How to use grip trainers?
If you want to know, that how to use grip trainers then check out this video!