• Building a Better Climber: Final Part
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 7
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 6
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 5
  • The Training Effect: Methods by Steve House
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 4
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 3
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 2
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 1
  • Catch of the Day
  • The Unnatural Way to Climb
  • Too Hard for a Caveman
  • Never Get Pumped Again
  • Should You Add Weight or Use Smaller Holds on a Hangboard
  • Training for Climbing: Injured? Train Your Core!
  • Cheap Tricks
  • How to Mentally Train
  • How to Power Train for Climbing
  • Boost Power With Eccentric Training
  • Tips for Better Onsighting
  • Should You Lose Weight or Get Stronger?
  • Does Running or Biking Improve Your Climbing?
  • Is Protein Important?
  • Getting Strong After a Layoff
  • Training While Hungry
  • HowTo Use Microcycles
  • Improving Slab Technique
  • How to Unlock a Crux
  • Best Ratio of Resting to Bouldering
  • Training During Pregnancy
  • Using Your Hangboard the Right Way
  • Maximizing a Small Home Wall
  • How to Stay Psyched
  • How to Prevent Bonking
  • Using a Weight Belt For Training
  • Regaining Confidence After a Fall
  • Dynamic vs. Static Stretching
  • Overcome Anxiety and Send!
  • The Importance of Finger Strength
  • Do Forearm Trainers Work?
  • Maximum Training in Minimum Time
  • Dialing in Crampon Technique
  • Ultimate Strength
  • Periodized Training For the Year-round Approach
  • The Secrets of Warming Up
  • Beat the Ice-Climbing Pump
  • Resting the Perfect Amount
  • How To Recover On Route
  • Does Creatine Work?
  • Can Old Guys Get Stronger?
  • Recovery Supplement Truths
  • Euro Training Secrets
  • How to Beat Fear
  • How Often Should You Rest?
  • Training With an Injury
  • Avoiding the Gear-Placement Pump
  • How to Develop Sloper Strength
  • Warming Up Without Warm-Ups
  • Beating the Lactic Acid Pump
  • Video Spotlight

    How to Develop Sloper Strength


    What’s the best and easiest way to develop crusher sloper strength, and what’s the best way to grip a sloper?—Duane Raleigh, Redstone, CO

    We naturally gravitate toward the most positive holds, which is why slopers are a weakness for so many of us. Technique and the strength required for using slopers are interlinked.

    Gripping slopers is about being confident and aggressive, and above all, practicing. The secrets are to get as much of your finger surface in contact with the hold as possible, and on larger holds, to use the pads on the upper part of your palm and your thumb as well. If pinching is possible, do so. In some cases you can almost smear your hand into place. Most slopers have a sweet spot that is rarely evident from below. Feel for it. If there is a small incut or crease at the back then it may be preferable to crimp this (if you are a strong crimper), and sacrifice contact with your fingers on the rest of hold. Your ability to use a sloper has more to do with how you move the rest of your body than specific muscle strength. Be stealthy and avoid sudden changes of position. Keep your center of gravity below the hold—too far in and you may swing out, and too far out and you’ll skid off the sloper. On steeper walls, press your feet hard into the footholds and contract both your abs and your lower back to prevent your center of gravity from sagging. Keep your eyes peeled for heel- and toe-hooks, which are crucial tricks for lightening the load.

    Systems boards can be good for developing specific sloper strength and skill, although they only emphasize linear movement. Hang boards will do little for your technique, but they can help build strength, especially if you do pull-ups or hangs on the slopers with your feet held out in front of you to train body tension. If your hang board doesn’t have slopers, a half-crimp grip on the flat edges is a close alternative. Some additional dumbbell training can be worthwhile here, like holding static contraction wrist curls with heavy weights for three sets of four reps for eight seconds at three different wrist angles. The best method of all is to simply look for the slopiest problems you can find, and roll up your sleeves!

    Reader's Commentary:

    Don't want to use Facebook, but still want to comment? We have you covered:

    Add Your Comments to this article: