A solid grip and strong fingers are necessary in the world of rock climbing or bouldering. This is why athletes must train their fingers and forearms to develop muscular endurance and finger strength. If you plan to enter the sport (maybe you were inspired by climbing movies you watched or climbing books you read, or simply want to enjoy the health benefits of rock climbing), then you’ll need to incorporate finger strengthen exercises in your training routine. Below we have 10 of these exercises, all of which can be done either at home or at your favorite gym.
10 Exercises to Develop Finger Strength
The following exercises are supposed to help train your forearms, which in turn will help develop your wrists, hands, and fingers. This will improve your grip strength overall making them excellent finger strengthen exercises. You can also put your rock climbing shoes or bouldering shoes, climbing pants and other rock climbing gear aside for the moment since these exercises won’t require their use.
1. Fingertip Pushups
Regular pushups generally target the chest while at the same time working out the shoulders and the arms. Climbers looking for finger strengthen exercises can do a variation that will help put more focus on their fingers: the fingertip pushups.
To do fingertip pushups, you first need to get into a pushup position. But instead of placing your palms flat on the ground, you’ll be supporting your weight with your fingertips only. To make the exercise even more challenging, raise your feet by putting it up a chair or a step. This will allow more of your weight to be transferred to your upper body and provide more weight-bearing resistance for your fingertips.
2. Barbell Lift
Barbell lifts help to train your forearms which is where your finger strength generally comes from. The mechanics of the exercise are pretty straightforward. First, place a barbell on a squat rack just a little lower than your waist. Then, step forward and stand in front of the barbell with your feet shoulder-width apart. Next, bend a little and grip the barbell with your palms facing down and lift it. Hold the position for as long as possible, then slowly lower the barbell back to the squat rack. Repeat the exercise 12 times for 3 sets.
3. Pull-up Bar Hang
Pull-ups are commonly known as a back exercise, but they can also help your fingers strengthen since the said exercise also activates the forearms. But unlike your regular pull-ups, you won’t be pulling yourself up in this variation of the exercise. As the name suggests, you’ll simply be hanging from the bar.
To do the exercise, jump up and reach for the pull-up bar with your palms facing away from your body. With your arms bent slightly, hang from the bar for at least one minute before coming down. Repeat the exercise 3 times.
4. Finger Pull-ups
This exercise takes the pull-up bar hang a notch higher, and should only be attempted if you have developed considerable finger strength. For this exercise, start by hanging on the pull-up bar with only your fingertips. Then, slowly pull yourself up using your fingers only. This can be very challenging for beginners, but they can stand up on a stool to help them up. Just remember that you should be pulling with your fingers and not pushing yourself up with your feet.
5. Standing Barbell Finger Rolls
The motions involved in this exercise will predominantly target the fingers, although it is primarily geared to developing the forearms. To perform the exercise, place a barbell on a squat rack about waist high. Then, with your palms facing outward grab the barbell closing your palms around it and lift it off the rack. Now, lower the barbell until your arms are slightly bent. In this position, slowly open your palms and let the barbell roll down your fingers. Then, roll the barbell back up using your fingers until your palms enclose the barbell again. Repeat the steps 12 times for 3 sets.
6. Behind-the-Back Finger Rolls
The exercise is pretty much the same with the exercise above, but now you’ll be doing it with your arms and the barbell behind your back. So you’ll start with the barbell on the squat rack, then turn around and move backward until you can grasp the barbell behind you. Carefully lift the barbell and hold it firmly until your palms envelop the whole barbell. Then let the barbell roll down by opening your palms until it rests on your fingers. After that, roll up your fingers until you’re holding the barbell with closed palms.
7. Seated Wrist Curls
Like many of the exercises mentioned above, this one will help develop your forearms while at the same time training your wrists. To do the exercise, grab a barbell and sit on a chair or a flat bench. Then place your forearms on your legs with your wrist and hand hanging over your knees and with your palms facing the ceiling. Now loosen your grip on the barbell and let it roll down to the tip of your fingers, then roll your fingers back up. With your palms completely grasping the barbell, pull your wrist up as far as you can go. Repeat the process at least 15 times for 3 sets. Remember, only your wrists and fingers will be moving during the exercise. Your forearms should always remain resting on your legs.
8. Seated Reverse Wrist Curls
This is a variation of the previous exercise and works in the same areas as well. To do the exercise, grab a barbell and sit on a chair or a flat bench. Then place your forearms on your legs with your wrists and hands hanging over your knees. However, this time your palms will be facing the floor instead of the ceiling. Grasping the barbell firmly, pull up your wrist as far as it can go then slowly let it back down. Repeat the exercise 15 times for 3 sets.
9. Wrist Rotation
This is a simple but very effective exercise that will target your forearms and wrists. To do the exercise, grab a barbell bar and let it hang right in front of you. Place your hands close together in the middle of the bar. Now, move your right hand so that the barbell bar rotates forward, then do the same with your left hand. The objective here is to keep the barbell rotating forward continuously and as quickly as possible. Do this for 1 minute. Immediately after, do the reverse so that the barbell will now be rotating backward instead of forwards. Again do this for 1 minute. After that, take a quick 30-second break and repeat the exercise at least 3 times.
10. Reverse Barbell Curl
This variation of the barbell curl targets the forearms and other parts of the arms. With the regular barbell curl, you’ll be using an underhand grip. For this variation, you’ll be holding the barbell with an overhand grip, then proceed to do bicep curls.
Q: How can I make my fingers stronger?
To improve your finger strength, you can do various exercises that focuses on the fingers, palms and forearms. Along with the ones mentioned above, you can incorporate other exercises like farmer’s walk, dumbbell head grabs, and more. Rock and wall climbing on a regular basis can also help.
Q: How long does it take to build finger strength climbing?
Accordingly, it will take about one to two years before you see significant improvement in your finger strength. However, this will still depend on a variety of factors like the frequency and intensity of the finger training and exercises that you do.
Q: What is your grip strength?
Grip strength refers to the measure of muscular strength generated by a person’s forearm muscles. This is measured by gripping a hand-held dynamometer with all the person’s strength. This is done three times for each arm, and the average score is calculated by taking their average.
Q: How often should I train grip strength?
There are several variations as to the answer, but most agree that training your grip strength at least three times a week is ideal. Start your training with – warm-up sets, followed by 2-3 maximum-effort sets. Remember to warm up before exercising to avoid injuries.
Q: What finger is strongest?
That depends on the type of strength being measured. That is, when straight-strength is being measured the index finger is deemed the strongest, even capable of supporting the entire body to a certain degree. On the other hand, if it is arched strength being measured then the strongest finger would be the middle finger because of its position and length.
Q: What exercises help grip strength?
There are plenty of exercises that you can do to improve your grip strength like farmer’s walk, dead hangs, and wrist curls. You can also do deadlifts, plate pinches, dumbbell head grabs and several others. In any case, always remember to warm up before doing any of this exercises to avoid injury.
Q: Can you build muscles in your fingers?
No, you can’t build muscles in your fingers simply because there are no muscles there to develop. The muscles that control the bending of the fingers are actually located in your palms and forearms which are connected to your finger bones by tendons.
Globo Surf Overview
Rock climbing and bouldering are extreme sports, and although they can provide you with an exhilarating experience and adrenaline rush, they are quite dangerous and should be not be attempted by those without any prior experience. Fortunately, the sport can be made much safer with the use of climbing gear like climbing helmets, climbing ropes, climbing harnesses, and others. However, more than the gear you need to strengthen yourself physically, and this includes doing finger strengthen exercises. But remember also that although these exercises can help, nothing beats an actual climbing session to develop your finger strength and climbing techniques. These exercises are not designed to substitute actual climbing training but are instead used to supplement your training regimen.