/ which finger is seond-strongest

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kenr - on 23 Oct 2012
I was surprised to find that my 4th finger was much stronger than my 2nd finger, working as an independent hanging point. My 3rd (middle) finger was strongest. (Counting my thumb as 1st finger)

I tried it on my fingerboard, with three different grips: open grip on a small hold (finger bent at first knuckle joint), open on a large edge hold (finger bent at second knuckle away from tip), and half-crimp. With my body in a overhanging configuration with feet supported by a chair underneath - (No I'm not strong enough to hang my full unsupported body-weight off a single finger).

Same result for each of the three grips: 3rd finger strongest, 4th finger almost as strong, 2nd finger significantly weaker (and of course 5th little finger was weakest). Results for my Left + Right hands essentially the same in both relative + absolute finger-hang strength.

I would have guessed that my 4th finger was bad at independent action, and that my 2nd finger rather gets lots and lots of practice at independent movements (even more than my 3rd) ... but I guess static hanging is different.

Contradiction?
When I did the same test with "teams" of two fingers working together, the team of 2nd + 3rd is equally as strong as my team of 3rd + 4th fingers. (Of course the littlest team of 4th + 5th fingers is notably weaker.)

Do other people get different results?

Does this matter for some kind of actual climbing?

Ken
Ava Adore - on 23 Oct 2012
In reply to kenr:

A friend of mine can happily hang on his two smallest fingers, yet struggles with the first two fingers which most people find easier. He is an active climber and fingerboard user so is getting stronger in his first two fingers but he seems to be naturally stronger in his smallest two fingers.
mcgovern - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to kenr:
I recently tried a pockety route at the climbing wall. I found a similar result. If the pocket was deeper that one knuckle, I found it best to use my 3rd and 4th fingers. However, if the pocket was less than one knuckle, my 2nd and 3rd fingers were stronger.
PeteH - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to kenr:
Most people find their ring finger is the strongest individual finger, followed closely by middle, then index, then little finger.

This obviously does matter if you're using monos (holds you can only fit one finger in)!

Pete.
jacobjlloyd - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to kenr: my index (2nd) finger is nearly as strong as my middle (3rd) finger, but my ring (4th) finger is shockingly weak. Works fine on pockets together with my middle finger, but independently is frankly pathetic.
shorts - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to PeteH:
If the ring finger is the strongest why is this the most commonly injured?
In a small survey of the people at work, this was not the strongest, the middle finger was the strongest for all of us. I guess it depends on how you measure strength, we were using a grip dynomometer (sp?).
With no equipment, I suppose you could push one finger from your left hand against a different finger from your right hand and gauge which 'feels' stronger. Using this not hugely scientific method my middle finger is definitely the strongest, though followed fairly closely by my index. Significantly weaker is my ring finger and ten my pathetically weak little finger.
Ciro - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to kenr:

It's not actually that surprising if you stop and think about how your hands have evolved to work - the forefinger and its opposable thumb are mainly there for performing intricate tasks, while the back three fingers are primarily there to provide grip strength.
Tophe - on 25 Oct 2012
My strongest finger is my 3rd, then 4th but the surprising thing is my 5th pinky finger is stronger than my index finger. I put this down the length of my fingers but also that I mostly open hand holds/half crimp, If I full-crimp then I notice the load is mostly taken in my front two fingers. So in my case or people with hands like me I think training front two fingers helps full crimping.
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Monk - on 25 Oct 2012
In reply to Tophe:
> My strongest finger is my 3rd, then 4th but the surprising thing is my 5th pinky finger is stronger than my index finger. I put this down the length of my fingers but also that I mostly open hand holds/half crimp, If I full-crimp then I notice the load is mostly taken in my front two fingers. So in my case or people with hands like me I think training front two fingers helps full crimping.

I think that finger length has a lot to answer for. Currently, my index and middle fingers are definitely my strongest. I don't know if this is because I went through a period of injuring my ring fingers or whether it has always been so. When I open-hand a hold, my little finger is too short to be on the hold too, so normally wafts about uselessly. However, when crimping (full or half) it does help out.

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