Hand Jam: How to Do Hand Jam Climbing


Learning how to crack climb is intimidating for most people, especially if you are a beginner. To make things easier, it is best to start with the basic techniques, such as a hand jam. By learning how to do the hand jam properly, you will have a strong foundation to master more complicated techniques like finger cracks.

Are you interested in learning the basics of hand jam climbing? Keep on reading and learn from the insights we’ll share. 

What is Hand Jam? 

Hand jamming is the easiest and most reliable jamming technique that any climber could learn. It is also the most secure, making it crucial for your safety and the prevention of common climbing injuries. The technique involves placing the finger on the crack instead of climbing holds, slabs, or faces. 

Simply put, hand jamming requires rolling the thumb under your palm until your hand becomes wide enough to stick to the crack. 

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Do Hand Jam Climbing 

Now, let’s talk about the specific steps for hand jamming. This is easy for anyone to learn and will be the foundation of other more complicated climbing techniques

  • Mind Your Feet 

Like in any other climbing maneuver, the most important is to mind your feet. Your feet will come first. Your lower body will be dominant as it assumes control of your upper body. Make sure to improve your climbing footwork to make the most out of your feet. 

You need to wear the right crack climbing shoes, which will have a huge impact on your comfort and performance. It should not cause too much pain when you place your foot in the crack.  

  • Insert Your Hand 

Once your lower body is all set, it is now time that you work on your hands. Start by wedging your hand in the crack. There are two main ways in which you can do this. 

The first is with your thumb up. Insert your hand in the crack with your palm facing inward and your thumb pointed up. Tuck the thumb in your palm and exert pressure to the point that it will be tense. From here, you can now hang the weight from your wedged hand. 

Another way to do it is with your thumb down. It is the opposite of what has been mentioned above. Your palm will be outward, and your thumb is down. Because of the orientation of your shoulder joint in this position, the distance that you can move will be shorter compared to the thumb up position. 

  • Shuffle Your Hand 

In doing the hand jam, another crucial thing to learn is how to shuffle your hand, which is what will let you move through the crack. Start by moving your top hand first. Next, lift your bottom hand and do the hand jamming technique on the top of the other hand. 

While you are moving your hand, make sure that you do the same in your feet so that you can move up the crack. Pull your foot out of the crack, place it on the top of the other foot, and wedge. Keep doing this along with your hand until you finish the climb. 

Tips and Tricks

To make the most out of hand jamming, below are some of the most important things to keep in mind: 

  1. Search for constrictions in the crack that will match your hand’s shape. This will make it easier to jam your hand in the crack. If it does not fit well, you will find it more challenging to move your hand. 
  2. If possible, keep your arm straight while you are hanging in the crack. This will lessen the strain in your muscles. It is an effective way to minimize fatigue while also lessening the chances that you will have a painful body once you are done with the climb. 
  3. Use your knees and legs. Earlier, we talked about the importance of footwork. Equally crucial is the way you work your legs and knees. The right motion and position will keep you in a secure position while also making your movements more fluid. 
  4. Rhythm is important in hand jamming. Once you get the swing of things, it will be easier to move your hand, feet, and the rest of your body at the same pace. This will lessen the strain that your body feels as you complete the climb.


Before we conclude this post, allow us to answer a few questions you might have about hand jam climbing.


Q: How do you fist jam?


To do a fist jam, start by inserting your fist in the crack. Make sure that the crack is big enough for your fist to fit. Insert a loose fist and apply pressure once it is inside. Then, add tension to the fist while it is inside, making sure that it stays and does not slip

Q: How do you jam a finger?


To jam a finger, insert your finger straight into the crack and drop them down. Slot your finger into the crack until the second or third knuckle is locked. This will serve as the nut. Use your thumb outside the crack to add more pressure to let you move through the crack.

Q: How do I restore my hands from climbing?


To restore your hands from climbing, immediately wash once you are done. Apply lotion, balms, and salves, among other products that will have moisturizing benefits. Wrap your hands with a cold drink or apply a cold compress. Keep your hands dry and allow them to rest.

Globo Surf Overview 

Hand jam climbing is an easy technique to learn for every beginner. As noted above, all that you need to do is to insert your hand in the crack, apply pressure, and move up. You can do this either with the palm facing inward or outward and with your thumb up or down. Aside from the proper hand movements, your footwork is also crucial.

More Climb Reviews:

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!