Beginner Hangboard Workout for Climbers

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Have you ever seen that strange board hanging in the corner of your local climbing gym that’s covered in tiny holes and wondered how to use it? Well, then this article is just right for you. Regardless of if you’re coming to hangboarding as an experienced climber looking to up your game or a totally new climber who is a little obsessed with climbing and training for climbing, we have the workouts for you.

 

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In general, a hangboard is a board that is covered in holds, like you would find on a climbing wall, of a variety of sizes. This allows you to train your fingers on all different types of holds without needing different boards to do so. Many hangboards also have slopers along the top that you can use to train as well, giving you even more variety.

First Things First: Why Use a Hangboard? First Things First: Why Use a Hangboard?

A hangboard is a great way to help strengthen your fingers. If you feel like you have plateaued in your climbing ability or are just ready to push yourself to the next level of climbing, a hangboard can be a great way to help strengthen your fingers. Strong fingers are also less likely to get injured, so developing a good workout routine now can help minimize the likelihood of injuries later.

Hangboards also offer a good amount of variety. Instead of having to buy one set of finger exercisers now and another set later when your fingers are stronger, a good hangboard will have a solid selection of larger holds for you to start out working on as well as a number of smaller holds for you to progress towards. They also are a great long-term investment if you are looking to start training more at home since it’s only one piece of equipment that you can use for so many different workouts.

When Should You Start Hangboard Training?

When Should You Start Hangboard Training?

There is no rule for when you should start hangboard training, but there are some guidelines for how to progress with your training. Some people find that they reach a plateau in their climbing ability that they are able to overcome by using a hangboard or other off the wall training program. If this sounds like your climbing trajectory, then maybe now is the right time for you to start using a hangboard.

That being said, if you are just starting out climbing, but want your fingers to start getting strong now, then you can totally start incorporating a hangboard workout into your routine now. Just make sure that you don’t rush your body into something that it isn’t ready for. Hangboards can be pretty hard on your fingers, so make sure you start out easy and slow and don’t strain your fingers.

How Many Times a Week Should You Hangboard?

How Many Times a Week Should You Hangboard?

Most climbers like to supplement their climbing with hangboarding anywhere from 2-4 times a week. It is important not to overdo hangboarding since that can make you more prone to injuries. Starting out with hangboarding two times a week and slowly increasing the frequency to three or four times a week as your fingers get stronger is a great way to do it.

Hangboarding is not something you want to rush, since your fingers are so important to climbing and are also pretty easy to injure. Make sure you really take your time with your hangboard workouts and don’t push your fingers too fast. The key to seeing results from a hangboard workout is doing a small workout at an interval, say every other day, over a long amount of time, say two to three months.

How to Prevent Hangboard Injuries?

How to Prevent Hangboard Injuries?

The best way to prevent injuries from hangboarding is to not push your fingers to do more than they are ready for. There are a few ways to do this, but the most effective ways to minimize your risk of injury are to take it slow, as we talked about above, and to fully warm-up before you work out and cool down after you work out.

Establishing a good warm-up routine is essential to minimizing your risk of injury. Make sure you do a little bit of cardio to get your blood pumping and do some dynamic stretches to get your muscles moving. Take some time to warm up your fingers, your arms, and your shoulders before you even think about starting your hangboard workout.

To warm up your fingers, we recommend opening and closing your fists a few times to get the muscles in your fingers all warmed up. To warm up your wrists, simple wrist rotations are a great place to start. Ten in each direction for each wrist is a good place to start. Work your way up your arms and do some windmills with your arms. This is a great way to get the blood flowing and to start moving your shoulders as well.

Dedicate some time to focus on warming up your shoulders before you start your hangboard workout. Doing some dynamic stretches, like shoulder rolls, is a great way to start out any hangboard session or climbing workout. Another great way to get your shoulders warmed up is to climb a few easy boulder problems to help get all your muscles moving before you move onto the hangboard.

You should end your hangboard workout with a good cool-down routine. This is a great time to incorporate some static stretches to help your body release any tension and help minimize soreness and stiffness later on. Stretch out your fingers, wrists, arms, and shoulders, since hangboarding can really put a strain on all the muscles and tendons there.

3 Beginner Hangboard Workout

3 Beginner Hangboard Workout

There are so many hangboard workouts out there, but here are some of our favorites. Remember that you can use a hangboard to work more than just your fingers, so these workouts will include some for your arms and your core.

Dead-hangs

 

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Dead-hangs are a great beginner hangboard workout. Start by choosing a hold on the hang board that is comfortable for you to fit all your fingers onto. Next, figure out your grip. In general, there are three types of grips that climbers can use on crimps, an open hand, a half crimp, and a full crimp. You should aim to do your hangboard workout mostly using a half hand crimp since that’s where you’ll get the most out of the workout with the least chance of injury.

 

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Try to avoid training with a full crimp too much. Although since many climbs really need a full crimp, it can be nice to train a full crimp some. Full crimps are where you are most likely to injure yourself, so just be very careful.

Once you have your hold and your grip, a dead-hang is simply hanging off the hold with the grip of your choosing. Make sure you keep your shoulders engaged, not up by your ears. Keep your core engaged to prevent your lower body from swinging around. We recommend hanging for 10 seconds and then taking 1 minute off.

If you want an intermediate hangboard workout, or you want to be able to slowly up the intensity, you can modify how many reps of your dead-hang you do or the amount of time you hang for. You can also work towards using the smaller holds on your hangboard or even hanging off the sloping holds on the top.

Pull-ups

 

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Hangboards are also a great place to work on your pull-ups. Again, select a hold to use and a grip that you will be working on. Pull-ups take time to build up the strength, so don’t rush it. Start with adding one pull-up to your hangboard routine. After a week or two of that, add another pull-up.

If you can’t do any pull-ups, you can train towards doing a pull-up by doing a reverse pull-up. To do a reverse pull-up, have something to push off of so you start at the top of a normal pull-up. Keep your arms, shoulders, hands, and core engaged and try to lower yourself down as slowly as you can to where you would start a normal pull-up. This is a great way to build up strength in your arms and core.

Leg Lifts

 

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Leg lifts can seem hard at first but are an amazing way to strengthen your core muscles as well as your fingers. Start in a dead-hang position. Make sure to keep your shoulders engaged as you slowly pull your knees up towards your chest. Pay attention to your back and make sure that you don’t curl it up as you pull up your legs by using your core.

Keeping your legs curled will make this workout easier, but if you want an added challenge or something to work towards, try to hang with your legs straight and bring them up in front of you, so you look like you’re sitting in a chair. This is a great core workout but can take a while to work up to, so just take it slow.

 

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To make any hangboard workout easier, try adding a box below to rest your feet on and take some of the weight. You can also add a band to help support some of your weight and slowly ease yourself into taking your full body weight.

Wrapping Things Up: Beginner Hangboard Workout

Hangboarding can be a great way to start your climbing training routine. It can be done at the gym, or you can invest in a hangboard for your home. Companies like Metolious and Trango make some amazing hangboards, but there are tons of smaller companies that make hangboards too. Find a hangboard that works for your space and your needs, and you’ll have the start of your very own at-home gym!

 

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Make sure to take your hangboard training slow so you don’t hurt yourself, since if you hurt yourself training for climbing, then you can’t climb. Use the exercises we’ve recommended here or go out and find some of your own to create your own custom hangboard routine. Remember that it can often take a few months to fully see results from hangboarding, so just keep at it.

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