If you have been up in the mezzanine area of Sender One LAX and the bouldering area of Sender One SNA, you'll most likely have seen our hangboards. What's a hangboard? The name is aptly called so, because you simply hang from a board! Hangboarding is one of the most efficient ways of increasing strength in your arms, hands and fingers; it's a climbers best friend (other than chalk). Exercising with a hangboard can help you with almost any problem that you're having while climbing. It helps overcome those small holds that get the best of you, those scary overhangs, increases your finger strength and overall confidence to send your projects.
One thing to keep in mind - don't expect immediate results! Much like any other form of exercise, it will take time and effort to see improvement. Remember: hangboard for endurance, not for power!
It's important that you warm up. Cardio is a great form of a warm up to get the blood flowing throughout your body and your core temperature up. Dynamic stretches, focusing on shoulder, chest and tricep/bicep are all good to hit before hopping on a hangboard to avoid injuries. Another good warm up is to jump on a couple of easy to medium grade climbs to get the blood pumping and the muscles working. It's not a good idea to start your workout with a hangboarding session, because it will increase the chances of injury.
To avoid injury, there are a few things to know.
- When hanging, make sure that your shoulders are not scrunched up next to your ears. Have them drop down and focus the tension on your arms and fingers (have a slight bend in the elbows).
- Always use a open hand, or half crimp. Never do a full crimp!
- When you're in position, slowly begin to raise your feet off the ground. It's important not to jump off the ground as it can lead to injury.
Workout for beginners (1-1.5+ years of consistent climbing experience)
- Find a pair of matching holds on the hangboard and use an open hand grip with 4 fingers (index, ring, middle and pinky)
- Hang for about 15 seconds
- Rest for a minute
- Repeat 3x
After a hangboard workout, make sure to stretch afterward to ease the tension in your muscles. If you feel that you are uncomfortable or sore at the fingers or elbows, take some time off and ease back into it.
If you're looking for motivation, check out Alex Honnold's workout routine here and how hangboarding prepared him for the free solo on El Cap in Yosemite National Park.