Finger strength is one of the most vital aspects of training for rock climbing. Without the fingers of steel, it’ll be really hard for you to manage all sorts of holds including crimps, jugs, slopers, pinches, or pockets. If you have stronger fingers, you can easily manage smaller holds.

You’ll notice a difference in your climbing performance if you add finger strength training in your rock climbing training regime. Here are some tips which will help you increase your finger strength for a better and safe climbing. But before learning about it, you should know the framework of the fingers.


Fingers don’t have any muscles. They have only tendons which are linked to the muscles in the forearms and hands. So, if you work on strengthening your fingers, the ligaments in the wrists, hands and forearms will also get stronger.

The tendons in the fingers are attached to bone through connective tissues, called pulleys. During climbing, the pulleys are more prone to injuries as they put in efforts to hold narrow or small handholds. The A2 pulley is located between the first knuckle and the hand. It is one of the pulleys which is pressurised up to 3-4 times more than fingertips.  The pulleys, ligaments, and tendons take more time to become flexible and stronger than muscles. Therefore, you should work slowly to improve their strength and flexibility, otherwise there is a high probability of getting injured.

 Training Methods to Strengthen Fingers

  1. Bouldering

When you start climbing, you should start off easy and move further slowly and steadily. You’ll notice a great amount of improvement in your performance over a period of time. You should try to climb often to build tendon and muscle strength. You can start with bouldering as you’ll climb boulders without using a harness or climbing rope. You’ll be able to concentrate on hard rocks which will help to push the limits of overall strength of your body.

  1. Isometric Strength Training

Isometric strength training focuses on building finger strength by holding static positions. Once you’ve gripped a climbing hold, your fingers tend to remain in the same place and focus on gripping dead-hangs for more than a few seconds. Make sure you warm-up properly by doing jumping-jacks, push-ups, etc. to prevent the risk of injuries.

Many training sessions include dead-hang sets on various small holds like slopers, crimps, pockets, etc. with an open-hand position. You can practice a cycle of 5-10 seconds of dead-hang and take an interval for the same amount of time. Repeat the same for 5-6 times. Take  rest before starting your next set. Don’t forget to do stretching on completion of the session.

Practice this twice a week and take 48- 72 hours gap in between workouts to give adequate rest to your fingers.

  1. Hangboard Training

Hangboard training is a part of most grip strength training. It includes a variety of holds which are designed to strengthen your grip. Dead hang from small handholds is the basic exercise in hangboard training. You can select a type of hangboard at your climbing training gym and practice the same.

Here also same rule is applied, start off easy and increase weight after a few weeks. It is advisable to consult your trainer before trying half-crimping and full-crimping as they will strain your pulleys and tendons a lot more than pull-ups, increasing the risk of injuries.

These are some of the exercises which will help you improve your grip for a safer rock climbing.