Grip Strength

  • Creator
  • #46341
    W C

    I started climbing last year 2019 in the spring with a series of scrambles, courses, and 1 on 1 guided sessions. I got into ice climbing after this and then Alpinism this summer. My biggest route that I have led to date is North Face Direct on Athabasca. I am a solid 5.8 outdoor lead rock (trad) and WI3 ice, nothing to brag about but I am happy with it so far. My climbing I think is being held back by my grip strength and obviously technique.

    Background: I have been working out my whole life. I started the Transition Training program here recently (currently week 7) and I noticed my grip strength is really holding me back. I added the isometric hangs but my hands just slide off my tools until they get crushed down on the pommels. No matter how hard I squeeze I just slide down until my pinkies and pointer fingers just crush on top of one another and I stop because it hurts the hands, not because I cant hold on anymore. It feels like all the weight is hanging off my crushed fingers with the focal point my pinkie at this point.

    Has anyone has had this issue. I am trying to adjust with a “max strength chin up ” type program (page 228-229 New Alpinism) adding these holds 2 X a week but it feels pointless when I just slide down the shafts. I have tried gripping high on the shafts, I have tried my Ergo’s and holding the offset handles and I have tried straight axes. Just seems my fingers sweat then I slide down on them within 10-12 seconds every time. Id assume the grip strength I have is very weak and that’s why my fingers just slide down.

    Open for suggestions, been bouldering 2X a week (Ice Season started so I may cut bouldering to once a week) figure this could help. But otherwise I feel I am a strong person from my background of lifting weights my whole life. I can do 1 solid, slow chin up with 70lbs (6’2″ 191Lbs) on my back so I’d assume my strength is there.

    Thank you

  • Participant
    Steve T on #46343

    Give this one a try

    I’ve been ice/mixed climbing for many years and it almost always comes down to grip strength. Arm strength is definitely a factor, but almost secondary to grip strength in my opinion and experience. Your difficulty with sliding down tools is mostly grip strength related. Also using good sticky gloves will help.

    jakedev on #46355

    It’s a good article. I’m already in my ME phase and doing MAX 1x week with 1 arm hangs.

    I have a follow on question.

    Is it necessary to do the grip isometric progression if you are doing MAX 1 arm hangs as part of a base building period and ice axe ring rows with ME?

    Or should it have been done in the transition period with general strength?

    W C on #46376

    Also to add from digging around ( and Steve T’s Comment):

    Training for Ice and Mixed Climbing


    Appreciate the feedback. I think this was a matter of “palms are sweaty” – Eminem

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