You see it at every climbing gym and it isn’t that one dude who grunts after every move or the classic high socks – rental shoes combo. It’s the fingerboard or hangboard. A fingerboard is a training device that has a varying number of grips and designed to be grasped without any feet touching the ground. It provides climbers a high-intense training stimulus that increases grip strength and endurance and remains a cost-efficient/popular option for climbers looking to get stronger.
Medernach et al. (2015) conducted a study that looked at a 4-week fingerboard-training program in advanced male boulderers (a form of climbing that requires around 4-10 strenuous climbing movements without the use of ropes). The study demonstrated a significant increase in grip strength and endurance without injury or increased pain. However, these were advanced climbers and fingerboard training should only be used if you are an advanced climber. The amount of force and load this exercise places on your muscles and tendons are extreme and pose a risk for injury.
With this knowledge, get strong, protect those fingers, and make sure the training stimulus is “Just the Right Challenge”! Here is the article for advanced climbers if you would like to increase your grip strength and endurance:
Medernach JP, Kleinöder H, Lötzerich HH. Fingerboard in competitive bouldering: Training effects on grip strength and endurance.