UKC

open handing - is it supposed to feel this difficult?

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 cha1n 23 Feb 2011
Hi

A question to all of you that have converted from crimping to open handing (after crimping for a long period of time). Is it supposed to be f' ing hard to do?

An injury has forced me open hand and I've had to drop about 4 grades if not more to get by - this is extremely depressing..

Also, I feel very insecure when open handing. You know the feeling you get when you're climbing on slopers and you feel like you've got limited movement and you constantly feel like you're going to peel off? That's the feeling I get.

And lastly, what's all this about open handing being less strenuous? I've been getting pumped far more quickly whilst open handing.

I hate this stupid grip type, is this going to be a slow improvement? As you may have noticed, it's driven me to insanity..
 thommi 23 Feb 2011
In reply to cha1n: stick with it. dont mean to sound patronising but most probably your injury will be due to crimping. It works like this, whilst its 'harder' to hold open it is less prone to damaging you. in fact it is massively less likely to injure you than crimps. Also the more you work your open grib the stronger both it AND your crimp will become. It simply doesnt work the other way around, that is to say crimping will not benefit your open hand strength. just keep it up, and it'll get easier. you should have made a concious effort in the beginning, now you know go do something about it!!
 @ndyM@rsh@ll 23 Feb 2011
In reply to cha1n: Open handing isn't really any harder than crimping, you've just trained your crimp and not your open handed grip, so of course it feels unnatural and weak in comparison.
1
 Monk 23 Feb 2011
In reply to cha1n:

Yes, is the answer. Open handing takes a bit of learning from both body and mind, but once you have given it a go for a while it makes perfect sense and gets far easier. It's only hard at the moment because you never do it. I still use crimps obviously, but also use open hands a fair bit on holds that will take it.
 Quiddity 23 Feb 2011
In reply to cha1n:

> An injury has forced me open hand and I've had to drop about 4 grades if not more to get by - this is extremely depressing...

Are you training or are you performing? No one is saying don't ever crimp - it's ok in performance situations, some holds do just need crimping. What you want to get out of is crimping everythning habitually. If you are training, then suck it up - you are working your weaknesses, grade is unimportant except as a guideline - ie. if you have to drop 4 grades then you have some serious work to do!

> Also, I feel very insecure when open handing. You know the feeling you get when you're climbing on slopers and you feel like you've got limited movement and you constantly feel like you're going to peel off? That's the feeling I get.

Yeah you get used to that. Crimping I think always feels a bit more secure but most of the time an open hand grip feels *secure enough* and on some holds does actually feel more secure, for some reason.

> And lastly, what's all this about open handing being less strenuous? I've been getting pumped far more quickly whilst open handing.

As I understand it, the involvement of different forearm/finger flexors is different for open handing and crimping, so yes I think it takes a bit of getting used to. Chances are you are probably over gripping until you get used to it as it feels insecure?

> I hate this stupid grip type, is this going to be a slow improvement? As you may have noticed, it's driven me to insanity..

The way to look at it is, the weaker you are on it now, the steeper the learning curve and the bigger improvement you will see when you equalise your strength across grip types. Get to it...
 Quiddity 23 Feb 2011
In reply to thommi:

> the more you work your open grib the stronger both it AND your crimp will become

Out of interest do you have a source for this?

As I understand it this is now generally believed to be a myth, and you need to train crimps to be strong on crimps. See Dave Mac in 9/10 climbers for the 'definitive' explanation, but the caveat is that most climbers crimp far too much and their limiting factor is crimping related overuse injuries and relatively weak open hand strength. Steep 'board style' climbing on blocky pinches basically counts as crimping, even if you think it isn't, as your fingers are usually half crimped with your thumb on.
 thommi 23 Feb 2011
In reply to nick: Metolius i believe, cant remember the bit in 9 out of 10 where he says that, but then i cant remeber much. i'll have a root, but you may well be correct. seemed to be the case for me in training though, i hardly ever 'wrok' crimps and save them for when theyre really needed. proberbly not the correct way to do it.
 Quiddity 23 Feb 2011
In reply to thommi:

> Metolius i believe

That metolius advice has a lot to answer for, I don't think it's actually based on anything other than conjecture, but most people (myself included) just took it as fact.

> cant remember the bit in 9 out of 10 where he says that,

It's on page 61 (why yes, I do have a copy on my desk...)

> i hardly ever 'wrok' crimps and save them for when theyre really needed. proberbly not the correct way to do it.

that's pretty much the advice unless you have a glaring crimp weakness
 thommi 23 Feb 2011
In reply to Nick: wrok!!? Ive created a new word! Im glad im not doing it wrong.
 UKB Shark 23 Feb 2011
In reply to plexiglass_nick: plexiglass_nick:>
> As I understand it this is now generally believed to be a myth, and you need to train crimps to be strong on crimps. See Dave Mac in 9/10 climbers for the 'definitive' explanation, but the caveat is that most climbers crimp far too much and their limiting factor is crimping related overuse injuries and relatively weak open hand strength. Steep 'board style' climbing on blocky pinches basically counts as crimping, even if you think it isn't, as your fingers are usually half crimped with your thumb on.


I think it is important to make a fuller distinction between a full crimp (full-on boning down) and a half crimp where the fingers aren't at such an acute angle with perhaps the the thumb against the knuckle of the index/forefinger. Dave Mac doesnt differentiate between the two but seems obvious that the half-crimp is a much less stressful grip and safer to train (unless injured obviously).

Also its a problem on the decline which I think Dave Mac has noted as climbers are using a wider variety of gripping positions rather than crimping everything. The friendliness of resin holds, better knowledge and the decline of brick edge old skool traversing having something to do with it no doubt. Its hard to properly crimp anything on the beastmaker.

In summary my view is mainly (but not solely) train for crimping by using the half-crimp and deploy the full crimp sparingly and when you need to.
 cha1n 23 Feb 2011
In reply to cha1n:

Thank you for the replies.

I'm lead to believe that training open doesn't train closed aswell. Dave, mac says that training on pinches still flexes the PIP joint as per crimping.

I've been experimenting with why open feels so i'm insecure (difficult to find edges to hang from in the office) and it's definitely got something to do with wrist angle. As you may know, when hanging a sloper, the advice is to stay low on the hold to keep your COG below it but maintaining the wrist parallel to the wall must also be a big part of it.

When crimping I'm able to move my wrist away from parallel when locking off on a hold. However when climbing open, it seems that keeping the hand and wrist angles the same is more important for maintaining friction.

Or am I just making up excuses?
 Quiddity 23 Feb 2011
In reply to cha1n:

> When crimping I'm able to move my wrist away from parallel when locking off on a hold. However when climbing open, it seems that keeping the hand and wrist angles the same is more important for maintaining friction.

No I think you are right on that. After a while climbing open handed you do get used to keeping your wrists aligned with the best direction of pull (which is actually a better way to climb anyway, for the same reason that polished footholds sharpen your technique by getting you weighting your feet from the best angle and not moving them around.) In some situations eg. if you need to properly lock off and bone down on something than changing it to a crimp gets you a bit more height as you can get greater movement in your wrist. Harsh on your elbows though if you do it repeatedly.
 cha1n 23 Feb 2011
In reply to cha1n:

That explains a lot. There were some climbs that I was trying last night which I'd previously onsighted on crimps that I shouldn't even work using open handing. There's a definate reduction in reach for me at the moment .
 krank 23 Feb 2011
In reply to cha1n:
>
> I'm lead to believe that training open doesn't train closed aswell.

I trained for 6 months before a font trip, I open handed everything, didnt use my thumb to pinch holds and didnt use half or full crimp at all. I found i could crimp harder than ever while on the trip. I would agree that you should train what you want to be good at but i definately had a good ammount of strength gain in crimps without training them.
 mrjonathanr 23 Feb 2011
In reply to krank: Because you'd increased the tendon and flexor unit strength I should imagine. Julian Saunders (of athlon.au) seems to believe open-handing realises crimping gains too btw. As I'm nursing an A2 I'm a convert to this thinking right now.
 koalapie 23 Feb 2011
In reply to mrjonathanr: This seems like the logical explanation to me. Subsequently when you lock the thumb over you would expect a correlated increase in crimp strength, although it's probably not 1:1. It's likely the crimp provides some extra 'passive' strength and this combined with the awkward positions for joints and pulleys creates the injury risk. I would suspect the crimp also inhibits your lumbricals which I imagine are working reasonably hard whilst open handing. k
Could somone point to a good explanation of the differences between "Open Handing", "Half Crimping and "Full Crimping" etc. preferably with clear photos ?

- The reason I ask is that I have recently been training with my fingers on the holds and my thumb across my palm. I thought that was open handing but am now not sure....
 MJ 24 Feb 2011
In reply to cha1n:

How times change.

In Ron Fawcetts book, Fawcett on Rock, he advises putting your thumb over your fingers for more strength.
He also advises using a beer towel as a handy mat for bouldering.



 Lemony 24 Feb 2011
In reply to Steve Waters, Mynydd: http://www.beastmaker.co.uk/grips.JPG

Chisel and dragging are open handed grips on this. It's all about the angle of that finger joint.
 Quiddity 24 Feb 2011
In reply to MJ:

> In Ron Fawcetts book, Fawcett on Rock, he advises putting your thumb over your fingers for more strength.

That was before pulley ruptures and elbow tendonitis were invented.
 summitjunkie 24 Feb 2011
In reply to Steve Waters, Mynydd:
good piccies and descriptions here, Steve;

http://climbing.about.com/od/cliimbingtechniques/a/OpenHandGrip.htm
 cha1n 24 Feb 2011
In reply to Steve Waters, Mynydd:
> Could somone point to a good explanation of the differences between "Open Handing", "Half Crimping and "Full Crimping" etc. preferably with clear photos ?

Understanding open handing would be easier if you knew what you're trying to achieve by changing the angles in your grip. What you're attempting to do is minimise the flexsion in your hand so that less strain is applied to the supporting structure of your hand. This minimises the chance of pulley/tendon injuries. See below for an explanation:

http://www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=14209

You want to keep the hand as straight as possible when gripping like so:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_dDUHPa7QgaM/S5V3RE-0n6I/AAAAAAAADGM/DXLZP9W97z0/s400/Medium+Edge+Open+Hand...


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