Finger Training for Intermediate and Advanced Climbers


Before I begin, I would like to start off by saying how fragile your tendons are. Finger training is both beneficial and safe when done correctly and with the proper amount of resistance/weight. As I always say, you beginner climbers benefit so much from climbing that you don’t require extra training. This sort of thing may not be for you yet! For you intermediate and advanced climbers out there, proceed with caution. Listen to your body – pain means stop. Persevere through muscle fatigue, not tendon/joint pain. Don’t be crazy.

Now that you’ve heard my warning spiel, let’s get to the fun part! This particular workout has been particularly successful for me these past few months. I’ve noticed an improvement with my grip strength especially with small crimps and slopers. Also, and I don’t know if this is the work of lady luck or a product of finger training, but this is the first year I’ve gone without a pulley injury *I’m currently knocking hard on my wooden desk*. In either case, my fingers feel as strong as ever.

The six grips we will use for this workout.

what you need:

  • weights
  • pulley system (check out my tutorial to build your own here)
  • timer (the “Impetus” app for your phone is highly recommended!)
  • journal for recording

what to do:

1 set = (7 sec hang + 5 sec rest) x 6 reps without stopping

You will do 6 sets in total, one for each grip. Give yourself a 2 minute rest between each grip to let your fingers recuperate!

If you cannot hold the grip the entire 7 seconds for 6 reps, continue with the 6 reps anyway just holding on each time for as long as you can. However, only record your successful reps at the end.

  • If you can hold the grip successfully for all 6 reps, more weight needs to be added or removed next time to increase the difficulty.
  • Ideally, you want to be able to do between 3-5 reps successfully.
  • Less than 3 reps and you need to make it easier. You want to spend just the right amount of time on these grips for this to actually do anything. Figuring out exactly how much weight you need is crucial in the beginning.
Make sure to follow each set/grip with 2 minutes of rest!

Take some time in the beginning to orient yourself to the workout by figuring out what your starting weights will be. You’ll have to play around with this a little at first. The reason you add or remove weights is so that you can actually do the hang. For example, I can’t hold the small rung long enough to be beneficial, so I remove weight (with a pulley system) so I can fall in between that 3-5 rep range. Likewise, if I can easily do all 6 reps, I will add weight in the form of a weight vest or similar to get me in that 3-5 rep range again. Confused? Perfect.

The record keeping component of this is probably my favourite. Nothing is as rewarding as seeing your improvements escalating on paper. Below is how I have been recording my workout to make it both easy to record and compare. You can also see how much I’ve improved in just a month!

My precious journal entries! I highly recommend recording your results, especially for this workout.

I do one rotation, but you can do 2 if that feels more beneficial for you. Remember not to over weight your tendons.

I hope this helps you step up your digit game! Remember to take it slow and listen to your body. Injury recovery time is long and tedious my friend – you’d hate every minute of it. Best of luck!!

Climb on xx