I have decided I want to work on my Finger Strength, and have come across this on You Tube, youtube.com/watch?v=qGaFpQP1n9o& , and my first thought is, Grip Strength the same as Finger Strength.
I have a Fingerboard, but it does worry me that incorrect usage could injure me, and as I have effectively lost the last two years of climbing, I am very wary of injury.
I have used one of those Grip spring strengtheners in the past, and I think that caused me tennis elbow, or maybe more accurately my incorrect use caused Tennis elbow.
But the object of this thread for me is to ascertain if Grip strength is the same as Finger Strength.
On the video, if Larry Grayson and Dick Emery had done it, it would be comic gold, oh, you are awful.
Haven't watched the video, but I have pondered this in past discussions and my feeling is that grip strengtheners work primarily to develop 'concentric strength', if that is the right term, whereas what is needed for climbing, and is developed by fingerboards, is 'eccentric strength'. What I'm not clear on is whether there is a real distinction between these types of strength (whereas there is a clear distinction between concentric and eccentric exercise).
> Haven't watched the video, but I have pondered this in past discussions and my feeling is that grip strengtheners work primarily to develop 'concentric strength', if that is the right term, whereas what is needed for climbing, and is developed by fingerboards, is 'eccentric strength'. What I'm not clear on is whether there is a real distinction between these types of strength.
Isn't climbing (and fingerboarding) mostly isometric strength? Eccentric would imply the fingers opening and concentric the fingers closing I think.
Good point. Although if I could develop my 'eccentric strength' I suppose I would fall off more slowly
> Good point. Although if I could develop my 'eccentric strength' I suppose I would fall off more slowly
Or you might just have time to grab the next hold as your fingers uncurl.
> But the object of this thread for me is to ascertain if Grip strength is the same as Finger Strength.
Since neither 'Finger Strength' not 'Grip Strength' are consistently or unambiguously defined, any answer are most likely to be inconsistent, ambiguous or just plain wrong.
So to go with that proviso... as I understand it, most developed 'strengths' are very geometrically specific - e.g., strength in open handed pulls does not mean you have strength in crimps, or vice versa. When you train for strength, the strength you gain is very specific to the points in the muscle extension at which the max load was applied. Hence the need to strength train over the full range of positions (because climbing generally involves isometric strength) at which you want to get strength gains.
You can now decide whether the above was "... inconsistent, ambiguous or just plain wrong".
I would say that is a pretty good theory. Having come to climbing later in life and having been in to weight lifting earlier in my youth, the ability to previously hold on to a 140kg barbell and deadlift it has had zero benefit in being able to hold on to small edges with my fingers.
I think your thinking that strength is very sport specific is correct. Being able to hold on to something heavy well most likely doesn't make for good finger strength. Therefore id say grip strength and finger strength are somewhat separate.
No, it's not the same but it is related.
For climbing finger strength you have to assume very different postures than simply gripping with something akin to a closed fist. That requires you to build other muscles (eg the ones on the back of you forearm) and develop other tendons and different coordination.
You'd expect someone with good finger strength to have reasonable grip strength but you might not assume that someone with good grip strength can bone down hard on a tiny edge in a full crimp.
Thank you for the replies so far.
I am doing some fingerboarding and have started trying the tap tap, press press exercise from here https://www.sportrock.com/post/5-ways-to-improve-your-finger-strength.
Its easy to do, I can see no possibility of injury, can even do a session sat at the traffic lights.
Just to continue from my previous post...
Given your initial questions, you should also consider the distinction between developing 'strength' (the ability to exert force) and developing 'toughness' (the ability to avoid injury when overloaded). The two are not the same - in fact a common factor in injuries is the development of the former (which can be done quickly) without the latter (which takes more time). I'm certainly no expert, so I'll leave it to your own research, but I gather that 'eccentric' exercises (loading muscles while lengthening) are useful in this regard - they supposedly strengthen (toughen?) tendons/ligaments without increasing muscle strength too quickly.
I don't know what that tap, tap, press press exercise is meant to be doing, but I think a finger board will be more effective. The finger board is much safer than leaping around a bouldering wall in my experience as there is no dynamic movement involved. That said, I'm not going back to training endurance on a finger board, as I got elbow problems after that.
I am sorry but you have me very confused here. You have recommended fingerboarding, then promptly said it gave you an injury. I did say in the OP I am very wary of injury.
Sorry. I shall be more specific. I just mean that trying to hang on for ages with a decreased weight (my feet on a chair) injured my elbows.
Injuries in fingers are unusual by trying to improve max finger strength on a finger board (5-10 seconds then long rest before repeating).
I always thing grip strength is a measure of how hard you can squeeze something, whereas finger strength is holding your fingers in a fixed position (such as half crimp) with more weight, or off a smaller hold etc...
Some holds are all about grip, such as a flat pinch, or a tufa others are all about finger strength, such as a small crimp on limestone...
But of course some are a bit of both, like when a pinch or large grip hold also has a bit of a lip on it that allows you to crimp it too.
This is probably all bollocks, but that's the way I think of it anyway.
> Sorry. I shall be more specific. I just mean that trying to hang on for ages with a decreased weight (my feet on a chair) injured my elbows.
How much did you warm up? I'm guessing that it was probably a lack of this. You need to do as much if not more warming up than you would do at a climbing wall because you're going straight into fairly rigorous work. I did "walk past pull ups" on a door mounted fingerboard for a few weeks and ended up with severe tennis elbow which I put down to lack of warm up.
I am surprised how little the UKC hive actually know about this.
From what I am reading, the fingers have no actual muscle so the goal is to work/stretch the tendons and elastic bands in the fingers, so they can transmit the power from the muscles in the Forearms.
I have ordered the Thera bar as seen in the video, as not only does it develop muscle it also is an aid in recovering from Tennis Elbow, which appears to be a recurring theme.
Possibly a few minutes with the Thera Bar, then a hang on the fingerboard, as I will be warmed up.
The Tap Tap, Press, is just stretching the muscles gently in the fingers, and I can see how this will work.
Thanks for all the input.
Don’t waste your money or time on the gizmo. The best way to warm up / get recruited is to progressively increase the load on the fingers with a series of medium duration hangs - say 5-10secs per hang.
The default training hang is a half crimp but also good to do full crimps and drags (aka open hand) too.
> I am surprised how little the UKC hive actually know about this.
> From what I am reading, the fingers have no actual muscle...
> The Tap Tap, Press, is just stretching the muscles gently in the fingers...
The UKC 'hive' is quite familiar with many contradiction. Thank you for another one.
Tennis or Golfers elbow?
Whenever I overdo the pull ups I get twinges of golfer's but never tennis...
Thought tennis was the more common climbers ailment.
I generally did at least some warming up, often lots. I think it was more that I went from rarely finger boarding (once per week perhaps) to many times per week including power endurance, strength and endurance in the first lock-down. It's not a surprise that it went wrong really, is it?
The problems subsided when I dropped the endurance stuff and just did repeaters and max strength. I'm still doing the physio to learn my lesson now.