How to improve your grip for climbing

A workout to strengthen your hands and fingers for climbing

This finger workout will help your hand and contact strength out on the rocks


Credit: Mark Landkroon

4 Fingers

Start by hanging off a pull-up bar or a large hold on the hangboard with four fingers and gradually decrease the number of fingers you use.

Credit: Mark Landkroon

Credit: Mark Landkroon

Credit: Mark Landkroon

1 Finger

If you’re really feeling confident, try one finger. If you’re using a hangboard, try holding small edges with a closed grip, crimped (with your thumb on top of your fingers) or open handed, and pinch the lateral grips and hang.

Credit: Mark Landkroon


If it’s all too easy, try pulling up into a chin-up while doing them, or add some weight.

Credit: Mark Landkroon

Getting your grip

In every sport, the human body has one weak link—the part of the body that fails while the rest is still good to go. In rock climbing it’s the fingers. “It’s what separates the world’s best climbers from the really good climbers,” says Canadian Sonnie Trotter, one of the world’s best climbers. Trotter credits a lot of his climbing success to the many hours he’s spent on a pull-up bar or hangboard. “These are easy to install, take up no space and with some determination, you can have a pretty amazing workout,” he says. Hangboards are particularly good for building hand strength; they’re designed with steel fingers in mind.