• Coming Back From Injury
  • Get Trip-Fit Fast
  • Systems Wall and Symmetrical Training
  • Coaching Climbing - How To Train Juniors with Care and Caution
  • Grip Trainers - Gimmicks, or Worth the Money?
  • Hangboarding for Endurance: Not Just for Power
  • Simulation Training: How to Do a Move You Can't Do
  • Planning a Year's Climbing
  • Portable Training Rigs - How to Stay Fit on the Go
  • How to Keep Your Job and Family and Still Climb at Your Limit
  • Suspension Training for Rock Climbing
  • Eat Fat, Climb Harder - The Ketogenic Diet
  • Witness the Mental Fitness: Set Thought Aside to Improve Performance
  • Mental Training Made Simple
  • Counterintuitive Climbing Tips to Change Your Game - Part 2
  • Endurance Training Tips for Winter
  • Five Counterintuitive Climbing Tips to Change Your Game - Part 1
  • Staying Power - How to Last All Day at the Crag
  • Attack and Defend - Tips for Effective Resting
  • Change Up - Plug the Gaps In Your Strength Training This Winter
  • Training While Injured
  • The Hard Way, Easier: How to Cope with Redpoint Nerves
  • Climbing Literacy - Get Better Instantly by Reading Routes
  • The Numbers Game - How to Use Your Age to Your Advantage
  • Injury-Free Bouldering: 15 Tips to Keep You Healthy and Strong
  • Injury-Free Boarding: 14 Training Tips to Save Your Fingers
  • The Truth About Caffeine and Climbing
  • Pushing Past Your Training Plateau
  • Five Strategies to Sharpen Concentration and Climb Better
  • Five Ways to Get Better Without Training
  • Beat the Burnout: Only Ondra Should Train Like Ondra
  • Effective Gym Training Strategies (for Route Climbing)
  • Should You Add Weight or Use Smaller Holds on a Hangboard?
  • Map Out a Plan with the Radar System
  • Managing the Fear of Falling
  • Projecting 101 – 6 Tips For Sending
  • Slowing the Pump Clock - Three Strategies to Prevent the Pump
  • Training on the Go
  • How to Train for Compression
  • Nutrition: Eating Your Way to Better Climbing
  • How to Dyno
  • General Conditioning for Climbers
  • Transitioning from Gym to Crag
  • Staying Strong to Perform Your Best All Season
  • How to Lose Weight for Climbing
  • Building a Better Climber: Final Phase - Peaking
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 7 - Power Endurance Training
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 6 - Endurance II
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 5 - Strength and Power II
  • The Training Effect - Steve House and Scott Johnston
  • Training for Climbing: Injured? Train Your Core!
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 4 - Power Endurance
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 3 - Strength Training
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 2 - Low-Intensity Endurance
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 1 - Conditioning Phase
  • Gain Confidence by Learning Not to Fear Falling
  • Get Better When You Are Scared and Pumped
  • Never Get Pumped Again
  • Gutbusters - Core Exercises for Rock Climbing
  • Rest ... or Else
  • The Intuitive Approach to Training
  • Free Climbing Tips: Why Get Stronger When You Can Get Better?
  • Crank Like a Russian - How to Power Train for Climbing
  • How to Mentally Train
  • Boost Power With Eccentric Training
  • Tips for Better Onsighting
  • Should You Lose Weight or Get Stronger?
  • Is Protein Important?
  • Getting Strong After a Layoff
  • Does Running or Biking Improve Your Climbing?
  • Training While Hungry
  • How To Use Microcycles
  • How to Improve Slab Technique
  • How to Unlock a Crux
  • How to Use a Hangboard
  • Using a Weight Belt For Training
  • Training During Pregnancy
  • Maximizing a Small Home Wall
  • How to Stay Psyched
  • How to Prevent Bonking
  • Best Ratio of Resting to Bouldering
  • The Importance of Finger Strength
  • Regaining Confidence After a Fall
  • Overcome Anxiety and Send!
  • Maximum Training in Minimum Time
  • Dynamic vs. Static Stretching
  • Do Forearm Trainers Work?
  • Ultimate Strength
  • The Secrets of Warming Up
  • Periodized Training For the Year-round Approach
  • Resting the Perfect Amount
  • How To Recover On Route
  • Does Creatine Work?
  • Recovery Supplement Truths
  • Euro Training Secrets
  • Can Old Guys Get Stronger?
  • Training With an Injury
  • How to Beat Fear
  • How Often Should You Rest?
  • Warming Up Without Warm-Ups
  • How to Develop Sloper Strength
  • Beating the Lactic Acid Pump
  • Video Spotlight
    FOREVER – It Ain’t Over ‘til It’s Over
    FOREVER – It Ain’t Over ‘til It’s Over
    Whipper of the Month
    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer
    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer

    How to Use a Hangboard


    After recent miserable sport climbing performances, I’m finally knuckling down to address my weaknesses—and use the hangboard I bought 18 months ago! A friend said to build up to 30 seconds on, 30 off, but everyone else suggested hangs of up to eight seconds. My friend says that shorter hangs are better for snatchy bouldering and less relevant to routes. What are your thoughts?

    —Ian Parnell | Sheffield, U.K.

      The first step with hangboard training is to split your workouts into either strength or endurance. Anyone who is training for sport climbing will need to do both, using longer and shorter intervals. However, the endurance sessions are perhaps better for hangboard novices as they are less stressful on the fingers and allow you to build a fitness base.For endurance it is better to perform longer, less intense hangs for longer overall sets, whereas for strength training it is best to perform shorter more intense hangs for shorter overall sets.

    A great dead-hanging structure for novice endurance training is to place one or both feet on a chair positioned three feet behind the board and to do one-arm alternating hangs of 15 to 25 seconds. Hang straight-armed from one arm while shaking the other. You can also experiment with hanging from both hands, perhaps with your feet off the chair, and then switching back to alternating with your feet on the chair in order to shake out and recover. These alternating hangs should be repeated to failure and you can experiment with sets of up to 20 hangs at a time (8 to 10 minutes total hanging time). If you do sets of 10 minutes, then rest 10 minutes and repeat. You may not be effective for any more than three or four sets total.

    An alternative is to do shorter sets of, say, 10 hangs (five minutes total) with five minutes’ rest after each set and a total of up to five or six sets. And to be really organized, you could choose three or four different intensities and train in a pyramid (10 minutes on, 10 minutes off, 8 on, 8 off, 6 on, 6 off, 4 on, 4 off and then escalate back up again (6 > 8 >10).

    Another important issue is what grip to use. I suggest the half-crimp as the utility grip, but do a minimum amount of full-crimping and hanging to develop versatile grip strength and endurance. Do this by switching grips alternately from hang to hang. Some climbers stick to one type of grip per set and then change for the next set, but I recommend alternating grips. Ten minutes of continuous crimping can lead to repetitive strain injuries.

    For strength, the difficult part is calibrating the intensity of the exercises to conform to the short hang times. Beginners can simply do footless hangs with two arms, but intermediates will soon reach the point where they need to hang on the smallest and most damaging holds to achieve the short hang times. This is the classic mistake.

    A golden rule is never to hang on holds that are smaller than your first finger joint. You can solve this problem up to a point by going for slightly slopier holds, but the solution is to use a weight belt and hang with two arms or to switch to one-arm hangs with a minimum amount of assistance from your spare arm (hang a knotted sling from the board and hold it as low as possible).

    For strength workouts, either do single or alternating hangs, which should last between two and 10 seconds. Any longer will place unwanted strain on your joints and tendons. For alternating hangs use the same method as described for endurance but keep the hang times to between four and eight seconds.Try using the knotted rope for assistance rather than standing on a chair. Simply step on the floor and swap over as quickly as you can. There is no need to alternate more than three or four times. A total of four sets will be plenty for beginners—five or six for intermediates.

    We’ve confined our discussion to dead-hangs, but hangboard workouts should also include arm and core exercises. Look for more on hangboard work in future editions.


    Related Articles

    Should You Add Weight or Use Smaller Holds on a Hangboard?

    Daniel Woods: 10x10 Hangboard Workout

    Should You Lose Weight or Get Stronger?


    This article was published in Rock and Ice issue 182.

    Reader's Commentary:

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

    Add Your Comments to this article: