Health & TrainingClimbing magazine brings you the latest and greatest in training tips and health advice. Strengthen your fingers with our three-month training program, increase your flexibility with certain yoga poses, learn about the most common injuries, and more! Left: Hayden Kennedy on his first ascent of Carbondale Short Bus (5.14-), Indian Creek, Utah. Photo by Andrew Burr
Digit DialingFollow this 12-week program for stronger hands and fingers - Any serious climber knows the value of training. And when it comes to tenuous pocket holds, it’s especially important to prep the muscles and tendons that run through your fingers, hands, and forearms. Dave Wahl, a strength and conditioning coach in Denver, believes that a proper training program is crucial for developing strength. We asked Wahl to give us a three-month training program for building your finger brawn.A Question of BalanceSix essential yoga poses for climbers - My physical therapist, a triathlete, recently told me that climbing puts more intense stress on my body than any other sport does. “Your lats are overdeveloped, your shoulders pull forward, your neck is strained, your hamstrings are tight,” she told me. “Just stop climbing.” Of course, I won’t stop climbing. So what to do? Start stretching consistently. And the smartest way to stretch? Yoga. Tech Tips: Contact!Hangboarding 101 - Hangboard training is one of the most time-efficient ways to build hand and finger (or “contact”) strength, especially if you can’t train at a climbing gym. Two or three 30-minute workouts per week can deliver excellent results. All you need is a hangboard—many models are available for about $50— and a little motivation. The basic exercise is a dead hang from small holds. Mount the board so you can easily reach the holds. Tech Tips: Finger YogaLimber up those climbing hands - “Extremities need yoga like every other part of the body,” says fingeryoga.com. “To a certain extent, hands represent a microcosm of the organs of action.” I’ve found that finger yoga helps keep my climber fingers from becoming painful claws after hard climbing. Of the many possible stretches and “poses,” the ones described below are my after-climbing favorites.