Guest post by Tom Seng.
Our hangboarding story starts at the beginning of March, where yours truly went on a trip to the mecca of bouldering: Fontainebleau.
Well, you guys know what happened and yeah.. shit pretty much hit the fan. On highspeed.
After one day of climbing we were sent back to Germany. If that wasn’t depressing enough, things even got worse. Corona declared war on everyday life and the great lockdown of all boulder gyms began.
But in times of need there will be always an unsung hero. Well, more like an unsung hangboard.
I tried the STOAK-board from Nature Climbing. The word hangboard triggers everyone’s association of a beastmaker-style wooden board. In the picture below you can check out the perks and look of this beauty.
And yes, you can trust your eyes. It has freaking granite slopers. My skin got the taste of real stone despite not being at the crag. Combined with solid oak wood it is easy to say that this is pretty much the most beautiful hangboard I’ve ever thrown/laid my eyes on.
The edges are smoother than your average gym holds. Friction impacts how difficult or easy a hold is. The more friction you have, the easier it is to hold, the less technique you need. With less friction, it’s harder to hold, but your technique will vastly improve and it’s a lot less damaging to your skin.
Installing the board
I put my board on an individual structure because I was too afraid to screw my walls. Also, I planned on mounting some negative pinches in addition to the hangboard.
And the results?
I’ve been using the STOAK-Board for about 4 months. To sum things up: It feels better than regular hangboarding. Not only is it useful, but it’s beautiful to stare at. (Okay my girlfriend (@itm_kampfkeks) burned drawings of mountains and clouds into the wood, so that might make it a little extra fun for me)
You can perform pretty much any hanging exercise you can think of. When it comes to sloper-training the granite helps to condition and maintain the balance for my skin. The first usage may be a bit rough, but nothing a little bit of chalk and teeth clenching can’t solve.
Limited time offer
You can get -15% on the STOAKED and STOAKED XL hangboards with the code “bestoak” in the Nature Climbing Shop until 14th of December.
(This is an affiliate code – You get -15% off and I get a small commission fee for directing you to their shop)
My Training Routine
DISCLAIMER: I’m not recommending anything to anyone. This routine is working well for me. If you want to give it a try, feel free. If you think my routine is wrong or is lacking some depth – I want to hear your thoughts.
!!!!! If you are new to climbing don’t use the hangboard as a strengthening tool for your fingers. !!!!!!
If you are new to hangboarding, hanging on the 25mm rungs 2-4 times for 10 seconds with 2-3min break in between should be more than enough. Strength wise you should be capable of maintaining your grip for 3-4 seconds more than your hanging time (But obviously you let go once you hit the 10 second mark).
I warm up on the 25mm rungs, 2 times for around 30-40 seconds, with 1min rest in between. After that I’m using rubber bands for some finger extensors. Slow and steady not counting the reps for about 30-40 seconds. Sometimes I involve pull ups and handstands into my warm-up routine. It’s important to get some red life juice flowing through your arms to the tips of the fingers.
I divide my routine in two parts changing every 12 weeks, depending on future projects or form. I have 3 training-days and 4 active rest-days (Go ride a bike or do yoga. Just do something).
- Maximum weight
- 15mm edges with added weight (15kg) for 7-10 seconds for 3 sets, after every week I add an additional set to a max of 5 sets. After 5 sets I start with 3 again, using more weight (+1,25kg).
- 3 min break in between.
- Small rungs
- 10mm edges for 7-10 seconds for 3 sets, after every week I add an additional set to a max of 5 sets. After 5 sets I start with 3 again, using the next smaller rung or add a little weight.
- 3-5 min break in between.
Lucky for us, we are living in 2020 and the internet is not shrouded in mystery anymore. To take off some load of your hard working shoulders let me brief you with some good-to-knows about shredding your fingers to a state where bouldering just scourges your body and not your gripping tool of choice.
1. Finger/grip position
I’m using these finger positions most of the time while hangboarding.
Mainly I’m training in the half-crimp position since I got the feeling that training in that position translates to climbing performances on the wall or outside the fastest and most efficient. I’m using either 4, 3 or 2 fingers on the half crimp position.
I try to focus on the ~90° angle in my middle, index & ring finger (my pinkie is a little bit crooked that’s why it’s hard for me to bend it). Make sure that your joints are feeling comfy – it’s called training not suffering.
Three finger open/drag grip
In this position I drop my pinky and the remaining 3 fingers are extended. I got the feeling that this grip position transfers pretty good to pocket/sloper dominant routes or climbing areas. Also I don’t feel the urge most of the time to full crimp, which comes in comfy for a theoretically finger pain free everyday life.
2. Shoulder engagement
Make sure to retract and lockdown (cries internally) your shoulders so you secure your shoulder/body from rotating too much. This makes sure your shoulders are staying happy and healthy. I find my ideal position by reaching up to the hangboard and slightly rotating my elbows in (towards my ears). To sum this up: your body is in a good position when your elbows are slightly bent to a point where your chest is not activated and your lower back isn’t arched. Oh and don’t forget to engage your washboard muscles (talking about core cough cough)
On top of each routine, I add pinch and sloper training if I’m feeling it. From Experience I know most of my fellow climbers don’t feel too excited about hangboarding since it’s a rather monotone and boring routine. But I can promise you from my own history that once you embrace the suck and invest time and nerves into hangboard training it’s a matter of months (or corona) before your newborn strength translates into a massive climbing boost. Right now I swiggity swootied into the second lockdown but lost zero to none finger strength during the first one. During the interim-not-so-locked-down phase, boulder gyms reopened and my performance was pretty much the same as before the lockdown. I was able to enter and also stay pain free. Thus I apply hangboarding to every lockdown corona or other diseases bring.
For an overall training routine or climbing related discussion make sure to follow my Instagram (@crimp_reaper) till then stay safe and respect social distancing :).
Want some hangboard lockdown stickers? Check out the BestBoulders Etsy shop. 🙂