Hangboard training for climbing

January 10th, 2022

Introduction to get strong fingers

Deadhangs are one of the most popular exercises among climbers, and the ones that provide the best results. Hangboard training is one of the most effective training to increase finger capabilities. The most worked capacities are strength & power and the power endurance. Depending on your goal or weaknesses you will need specific deadhang training. However, wrong execution of this training workout can lead to injuries.

At climbingPlan, we provide you with a personalized hangboard and finger strength program adapted to your equipment and time availability. We have prepared this post so that you get more knowledge to train better and know how to fingerboard.

Basics to start training with hangboards effectively

These are some recommendations we have picked from one of the climbing training authorities Eva López (we totally recommend you visiting her site, downloading her app and following her in social media):

Every time you carry out a hangboard workout you must have rested at least 48h-72h from the last deadhang session!

As Eva Lopez suggests in her blog:

  • A good warm-up is essential.
  • Never start full crimping.
  • Avoid swinging, put your center of mass under the edge of the hangboard.
  • Lift your feet slowly
  • Do not extend your neck, not shrugging.
  • Keep your shoulders low and tight
  • Avoid spreading your elbows.
  • Do not raise your legs.

Take such "not to do" as signs of fatigue, and that you are entering the muscle breakdown zone, increasing your risk of injury.

Types of hold techniques

These are the most common hold téchnicques: deadhang techniques

Open crimp/ Extension:

Depending on the size of your hand, you can do it with 4 or 3 fingers. Be careful with your wrist. In case that you are forcing your wrist, use only 3 fingers.

Open crimp or extensions strengthen the tendons. Best way to increase tendon strength In this way, you can later train 2 finger pockets. It is the least damaging, and the one that makes the muscles and tendons involved work the most. The angulation formed by the phalanges must be 135º or higher.

According to Eva López, the tension to the A2 pulley is 36 times less than when crimping. It is also 4 times lower on the A4 pulley.

Half crimped:

Four fingers whose phalanges create an angle of 90 degrees. The most natural and used by the majority during climbing, certainly. It is more harmful than the previous one as it creates more tension. It's the kind of grip on which most deadhang studies and techniques are based. This can be used to avoid a2 pulley injury.

Full crimped:

It is the most damaging type of grip. It is formed by 4 fingers with the thumb on top. Good way to make your finger pulleys stronger. High risk of injury. However if you don't train this technique, you may get injured when climnbing outdoors because we use this holding technique when the fatigue is high.

Pinch grip:

They are characterized because the thumb is in opposition to the other four fingers. It can vary according to the width, position, and number of fingers involved.

Fingerboard climbing training methods

At climbingPlan we use the following ways of hangboarding:

POWER LOAD: dead-hang adding extra load. Typical added load: 5 – 55 kg.

POWER MIN EDGE: dead-hang without extra load.

ENDURANCE: we differentiate anaerobic and aerobic endurance hangboard training.

INTERMITTENT:also known as repeaters. The key point is to vary hanging positions, for example: for full crimping to half crimping. [Here][1] you can find a very complete post by Eva Lopez.

OTHERS: of course fingerboards can also be used as "hangboard pull up bar" and to work leg raises.

Deadhang training variants

There are plenty of variants. However, at climbingplan we work with the different variants depending on the training method:

Training with load: Typical added load: 5 – 55 kg

During each set take into account:

  • If you feel like your margin exceeds 3 seconds, add 2 – 4 kg for the next set, depending on the margin.
  • If you feel like your margin is less than 3 seconds, remove 3 – 5 kg for the next set, depending on the margin.

Training without load: During each set take into account:

  • If you feel like your margin is greater than 4 – 5 seconds, reduce the edge depth by 1 – 2 mm, depending on the margin.
  • If you feel like your margin is near zero, increase the edge depth by 1 – 2 mm, depending on the margin.

How to plan your hangboard workout for climbing training

Depending on you climbing level, at climbingPlan we are sure that the following training plans will work for you:

Intermediate deadhang training example , <7a, <5.11d, <v6:

intermediate deadhang routines training for climbing example

Advanced deadhang training example, 7a<8a+, 5.11d<5.13c, v6<v12:

deadhang training example for 8a climbers

Aliens deadhang training example, 8a+<, 5.13c<, v12<:

Aliens deadhang training example

It is also important to note that deadhang training should be mixed with isommetric training.

Best hangboards to improve your climbing

Lately, there has been a boom in hangboards due to covid-19. Among its benefits is the possibility of using them at home without installation, taking them to the wall or in the suitcase of any trip. The Covid-19 quarantine has forced many people to train at home for the first time. A lot of climbers have turned to a portable board for its versatility, convenience, and lower cost. However, are they the best for climbing?

While resin continues to dominate in hangboards, wood is gaining protagonism. The skin of your hands will thank you for its more pleasant touch. In addition, its worse grip will force you to tighten more to the edges.

When buying a hangboard, you have to think about what its main function will be.__ If the goal is to train at home, and you can afford it, a fixed hangboard will be more convenient.__

There are many models and options available in the world of hangboards. These are just a few points to follow. However, we recommend you checking a model review at: [99boulders][4]


Finger training is critical for climbing. Scientific experiments actually point to grip strength as the key component in the success of sports climbing.

We have attempted to offer some basic instructions in this article to get started in the field of deadhang. There are several approaches available, however. Others are more empirical, and some are based on their creators' knowledge. Some are simpler, others more complicated. The key is to understand the best training for your body, hear your body and avoid injuring.

But there are also many other aspects that you should not ignore: technique, strategy, psychology, physical qualities, and flow with the rock. Each of them will help you optimize the others. That is, a good foot technique will save you finger strength. If you climb calmly and without fear, you will spend much less energy in each step. And the strategy with which you face the project can make the difference between one attempt and the other.

Your body will adapt to the climbing activity. If you accompany these physiological and mental adaptations with adequate and personalized training, you will reduce possible risks. Of course, a correct diet must also be given the importance it deserves.

And you, how do you usually train finger strength? Something different to contribute?

At climbigPlan we offer your the opportunity to prepare a hangboard/deadhang training personalized to your climbing level, goals (bouldering, lead, power…), and available equipment, days, and time! Prepared by our coaches and proven by ourselves.