Josh Villeneuve has created a system for training finger strength that I have really been enjoying. This “no hang” system is great because it focuses completely on the fingers. Doing hang boarding or campus board sessions can be helpful, but you are using other aspects of your body in those work outs. For instance, you are engaging your core. The no hang allows you to come really close to isolating fingers and getting a real feel for how strong they are. We are both much stronger at close crimps than open crimps, and this system makes strengthening half and open crimps much easier than some other training options. Like on a hang board it can be really hard to fight that natural inclination.
Another perk is that it is really easy to travel with. If you want to get in a good warm up before climbing outside, that can be hard to do. A lot of people consider the hike in their body warm up, but unless you’re fortunate enough to always climb with easier climbs near by, the fingers can be hard to warm up. A no hang system is easy to take with you. We used this in the parking lot before heading to the boulders, so all the weights were in the car and easy to access. It was really nice.
So what is this made of? What are you even looking at? Well there is a plank of wood with crimps, you can pick the size you want, screwed in. This one has two different sizes, one on each side. There is a hole drilled in a central spot at the bottom to run a sling though. The weight you see hanging is actually a boat anchor. Josh uses this as a way to keep the weights level when they are added on. We use circle weights like you’d put on bar bells. They are stacked on top of the boat anchor. Most people who see it think they’d never be able to do it, but you’d be surprised how strong you are. The first time I ever did this, I was hesitant to try to pick up 45 lbs and then did so effortlessly. My max weight first go was about 65 lbs.
It’s a nice work out because it’s easy to do at home, at the gym, outside or where ever you need it. It takes a very short amount of time. It can be an excellent training tool or warm up tool. Since I recently had a bit of an ankle injury, it is also a great way to keep strong while not being able to use your feet.
The first time you’ll probably need to just figure out your max. Start with a weight amount that you know you can handle, hold it for a few seconds and progressively add more weight. Take rests of a couple minutes between efforts, especially once it gets harder. Your max might be different on each hand. My right hand can handle about 5 more lbs than my left.
Once you know your max, you can start tracking progression by keeping a record and seeing if you can up it each time. So far, I really like this. It’s easy to do, it makes me feel strong, and it just makes sense to me. If it will improve my climbing, is still to be determined. What do you think? Would you try it? Have you tried something like this?