Improving Grip Strength for Advanced Climbing

Are you a passionate climber struggling to scale harder routes due to weak grip strength? We totally get it, having grappled with the same challenge and discovered that effective grip training is our secret weapon.

This blog post is chock-full of exercises and best practices that will significantly improve your grip strength, taking your climbing skills to new heights. Get ready to conquer those crags like never before!

Exercises to Improve Grip Strength for Advanced Climbing

To improve grip strength for advanced climbing, there are several exercises that can be incorporated into your training routine. These include weighted pull-ups, finger curls, pinch blocks, dead hangs, farmer’s walks, and push-ups or planks on fingers.

Weighted pull-ups

Grip strength is a crucial component to advanced rock climbing, and one effective exercise to build this strength is weighted pull-ups. Let’s delve into the benefits and techniques of this training method.

  1. Weighted pull-ups entail wearing additional weights while performing traditional pull-ups.
  2. They’re an ideal workout for stimulating grip strength advancement.
  3. This unique activity targets the hand and forearm muscles directly.
  4. It also enhances finger strength which is vital for superior climbing performances.
  5. The exercise not only builds upper body strength but also improves our endurance on the rock wall.
  6. We suggest starting with a weight that allows us to complete at least five pull – ups without reaching absolute fatigue.
  7. Over time, we can gradually add more weight to increase the challenge and continue building our grip.
  8. As we progress, it becomes possible to hang from one arm or even two fingers during weighted pull-ups – similar to elite climbers who have superior finger grip in their dominant hand.
  9. Weighted pull – ups are not just about increasing strength; they help in managing finger strength gains as well.

Finger curls

To improve your grip strength for advanced climbing, one effective exercise to incorporate into your training routine is finger curls. Finger curls target the muscles in your forearms and fingers, helping to enhance your overall grip strength. Here’s how you can perform finger curls:

  1. Start by sitting on a bench or chair with a dumbbell in one hand.
  2. Rest your forearm on your thigh or the edge of the bench, ensuring that your palm is facing up.
  3. Allow the weight of the dumbbell to hang from your fingers, keeping your wrist relaxed.
  4. Slowly curl your fingers towards your palm, lifting the weight as high as you can comfortably go.
  5. Hold this position for a second and then slowly release the weight back down, straightening out your fingers.
  6. Repeat this movement for a desired number of repetitions, typically 8 – 12 reps per set.

Pinch blocks

Pinch blocks are a fantastic tool for improving grip strength in advanced climbing. These blocks are typically made of wood, plastic, or other materials and are designed to be held between the thumb and fingers in a pinching motion. They can be used for various exercises that target the hand and forearm muscles involved in gripping during climbing.

  • Grip it and lift: Simply hold the pinch block with an open hand position and lift it off the ground. Start with lighter weights and gradually increase as your grip strength improves.
  • Endurance holds: Hold the pinch block for as long as possible without dropping it. This exercise helps build both grip strength and endurance, which are crucial for advanced climbing.
  • Weighted pinch: Attach weight plates or use a weighted vest to add resistance to your pinch holds. This will challenge your grip strength even further and promote muscle growth in the hands and forearms.
  • Wrist rotations: Hold the pinch block with your hand in a neutral position (thumb facing up) and rotate your wrist inward and outward. This exercise targets the muscles responsible for wrist flexion, which is important for maintaining a strong grip while climbing.
  • Finger extensions against resistance: Use a rubber band or resistance band to perform finger extensions against resistance provided by the band. This exercise works on strengthening the finger extensor muscles, which can help improve overall grip strength.

Dead hangs

Dead hangs are a crucial exercise for improving grip strength in advanced climbing. Hanging from a bar with an open hand position helps to strengthen the muscles in your fingers, hands, and forearms. Here’s how to perform dead hangs effectively:

  1. Find a sturdy pull – up bar or fingerboard that can support your body weight.
  2. Start by hanging with both hands on the bar, ensuring that your arms are fully extended.
  3. Keep your shoulders engaged and avoid shrugging them up towards your ears.
  4. Focus on maintaining a relaxed grip while keeping tension in your fingers and forearms.
  5. Aim to hold the hang for as long as possible, gradually increasing the duration over time.
  6. To challenge yourself further, you can try one – arm dead hangs or add weight using a climbing weight belt or backpack.

Farmer’s walk

The farmer’s walk is a great exercise to improve grip strength for advanced climbing. It involves walking with heavy weights in each hand, which challenges your grip and strengthens the muscles in your forearms and hands. Here’s how you can incorporate farmer’s walks into your training routine:

  1. Start by selecting a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells that are challenging but manageable.
  2. Stand tall with a straight posture and hold the weights at your sides with an open hand position.
  3. Take small steps and walk for a set distance or time, focusing on maintaining a strong grip.
  4. As you progress, gradually increase the weight of the dumbbells or kettlebells to continue challenging your grip strength.

Push-ups or planks on fingers

To further strengthen your grip for advanced climbing, incorporating push-ups or planks on fingers into your training routine can be highly beneficial. These exercises specifically target the muscles in your hands and fingers, helping to improve their strength and endurance.

  1. Start by getting into a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. Instead of placing your palms flat on the ground, bend your fingers and distribute the weight onto the fingertips.
  3. Lower yourself down as you would in a regular push – up, maintaining control and stability through your fingers.
  4. Push yourself back up to complete one repetition.
  5. Aim for three sets of 10 – 12 repetitions, gradually increasing the intensity as you progress.


In conclusion, improving grip strength is essential for advanced climbing. By incorporating exercises such as weighted pull-ups, finger curls, and dead hangs into your training routine, you can effectively strengthen the muscles in your hands and forearms.

Consistency and gradual progression are key when it comes to building grip strength, so make sure to prioritize these exercises in your climbing journey. Keep pushing yourself and never underestimate the power of a strong grip!


1. How important is grip strength for advanced climbing?

Grip strength is crucial for advanced climbing as it allows climbers to securely hold onto small holds and maintain control while navigating challenging routes.

2. What exercises can I do to improve my grip strength for climbing?

Some effective exercises to improve grip strength for climbing include finger hangs, wrist curls, forearm curls, pinch grips, and using grippers or hand strengthening devices.

3. How often should I train my grip strength for climbing?

The frequency of grip strength training will depend on your current level of fitness and goals. However, it is generally recommended to incorporate grip training into your regular workout routine at least 2-3 times a week.

4. Are there any specific techniques or strategies to help improve grip endurance in climbing?

To improve grip endurance in climbing, you can try performing longer duration hangs on a hangboard or rock wall, gradually increasing the time as your endurance improves. Additionally, practicing sustained climbs that require continuous gripping can also help build endurance in your hands and forearms.

Calvin Rivers

Hey, I’m Calvin Rivers, a climbing veteran with 10+ years on crags and walls around the world. I can’t wait for you to explore our site and fall in love with the outdoors just like I have.

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