Training tools for rock

Rock Climbing training holds

Well, this complexity means that in order to master the pinch, it is necessary to practice with a wide variety of holds in addition to changing several variables like the following ones:

  • Depth of the hold: 1, 2 or 3 phalanges.
  • Orientation: vertical, diagonal, etc.
  • Shape/positivity: shallow, rounded, sloping, incut
  • Width/span: distance from the thumb to the other fingers:

Eva López. White Zombie, 8c. Baltzola (Vizcaya)

We can propose different exercises at this point:

a) The two already described

b) Working half crimp and open hand on the hangboard, and training the thumb by itself with a contraption like this:

But keep in mind that we will only get better at the posture we choose to hold the weight:

c) Working the pinch rather than just the thumb with a device like this that we built ourselves, and that allows for adjustment of the width and depth of the hold:

Or with any of these that I have found around the net:

e) And, of course, including pinches in our training routes or boulder problems, making sure we have access to many different shapes. This will allow us to train the gesture both in a specific way and as part of a real climbing situation:

  • Vertical or slightly slanted pinches make for a sensational work of general hand strength. This is because we need to firmly oppose the thumb to 'crush' the hold and generate enough friction on all the fingers; in other grip types, the force against the hold surface is usually provided by gravity (apart from finger strength, of course).
  • If we choose shallow, narrow (less than 5 cm), wide (more than 8cm) or finely textured holds, we will have to focus on making the right amount of pressure and managing the contact surface of the hand.
  • Lastly, the fact that how much force we can generate depends on achieving the optimal posture, this will greatly promote our body positioning awareness.
  • Dave Graham, Humildes Pacasa, 8b+, Oliana (Lleida). Photo: Keith Ladzinski.


With this grip type we will improve not only our hand, shoulder or chest strength, but also our feet placement, body position and technique in general. Climbing efficiently on pinches forces us to place our center of mass in a different and more subtle fashion than what is needed for more 'stable' holds like edges and pockets.

See also:

  • Rego check

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