Ice Climbing Training: The Grip

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By Steve House, Uphill Athlete co-founder.

The dreaded pump. Every climber has been there: You. Can’t. Hold. On. Any. Longer!

Rock climbers’ best training-weapon for this the hangboard. And for ice climbers it is weighted-hangs. Here is a tried and true way to increase your ice-tool-specific grip strength. You will need a place to hang from both ice tools. Start by hanging with only your body-weight for 10-12 seconds out of every 60 seconds for five minutes. If you have a bouldering wall, do five minutes of easy bouldering, followed by 25 Burpees at a moderate pace, followed by 20 TGU’s (Turkish Get-ups) with appropriate weight (10/side), followed by 10 dips (bench, rack, or ring depending on your strength). Then another five minutes of body-weight hangs 10-12 seconds out of every 60 seconds. Finally, it is wise to complete a little shoulder mobility work. Remember, we have this video for you to follow-along to. 

Now the workout.

Hanging from both arms, with shoulders activated, don’t hang slack on your shoulder-joints. You may want to wear gloves, depending on your tools and the grips. I recommend using the largest, bottom grip of your ice tool as that’s the grip you use most often. Determine what the most weight that you can hang from your body that only allows you to hang for 10-12 seconds before you’re 90-95% ‘done’ and have to drop off.

Complete this workout 2x/week for four weeks

Week 1: 6 minutes of 10-12 sec hangs per minute followed by 3 minutes rest. Go through this circuit until you can no longer consistently hang for 8-10 seconds.

Week 2: Hold the weight steady from last week’s workouts. 8 minutes of 10-12 second hangs per minute followed by 4 minute rest. Go through this circuit until you can no longer consistently hang for 8-10 seconds.

Week 3: Increase the weight by approximately 15-20% over last week’s workouts. 6 minutes of 6-8 second hangs per minute followed by 3 minutes rest. Go through this circuit until you can no longer consistently hang for 6 seconds.

Week 4: Hold the weight steady from last week’s workouts. 8 minutes of 6-8 second hangs per minute followed by 4 minute rest. Go through this circuit until you can no longer consistently hang for 6 seconds.

These progressions are adapted directly from isometric training theory and will increase the strength capacity of your grip in this position. Therefore you will require a lower percentage of your absolute strength when gripping and swinging ice tools. Happy climbing and let us know how it works out! #weareuphillathlete or coach@uphillathlete.com

 

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