Training is so hot right now. More and more climbers are incorporating resistance training into their climbing training. And we’re not just talking about your legs and arms –we’re talking about your hands, too.
Remember, never stretch or exercise your fingers statically. There are no muscles in there, only tendons and pulleys. If you try to stretch statically, you increase your risk of tears. Glides and other movement exercises and stretches are the healthiest way to get strong, mobile fingers.
Finger strength is key to becoming a great climber. But how exactly can you keep your fingers in shape with so much going on throughout the day?
Here’s a rundown of a few silly (but surprisingly effective) finger exercises you can do outside the gym.
Let’s jump in!
1. Squeezing Can Help to Build Your Finger Strength
For starters, you can squeeze your way to stronger fingers. Pick up a stress ballor a squeeze ball and hold your squeeze for between 10 and 20 seconds. Then, release the ball and rest for about 10 seconds.
Besides a stress ball, you can also use a medicine ball that is partially inflated or a rubber ball. A tennis ball can also provide a decent amount of pressure for working your fingers.
2. Bending and Folding
Performing bend-and-fold exercises on your hands at the same time is another method of strengthening your fingers.
To do this, hold both of your hands up, and face your palms away from you. Then, bend each of your outside fingers at its second knuckle, starting with your little finger.
While you’re bending each finger, be sure that all of your other fingers remain still. To help with this, imagine that all of your fingers are doing pushups individually.
Rotate through your fingers 10 times. Bend-and-fold exercises are excellent because they not only strengthen your fingers but also help with developing finger independence –a handy skill in climbing.
3. Pen Rolls
To do this exercise, place a pen beneath your first knuckles and fold your fingers over the pen. Using only your four fingers, try to pull the pen up into the crease of your hand. This is done with a rolling motion of your fingers. Do this for one minute on each hand with four minutes of rest in between. Don’t worry, everyone has a dummy hand that is twice as hard as the other (and it’s not always your non-dominant hand, you’d be surprised!). This glide exercise will help promote blood-flow to the fingers which prevents injury and increases strength gains.
4. Thumb Opposition
This exercise is excellent not only for strengthening your fingers but also increasing your flexibility.
With the thumb opposition exercise, you hold a hand up and point your fingers upward. Then, you apply your thumb firmly to the tip of your little finger and press hard for five seconds. Next, move the thumb to your next fingertip and follow the above step again. Do this three times for all four of your fingers, and then, repeat this on your other hand.
5. Tapping and Pushing
To complete this finger-strengthening exercise, hold both of your hands together in a praying position, keeping the palms together. Then, move your fingers away from one another, and tap two times.
After you tap your fingers, hold them together, and push to your left side followed by your right side. In other words, the movements you make should be as follows: tap, tap, push, push. Do this exercise about 10 times for the best results.
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