Climbing Grip Techniques – Open Hand Vs Curl Vs Crimp


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There are a number of commonly used grips in climbing: the classic V-stitch, the overhang rock climbing grip, the interlocking finger grip, the cross-handed rock climbing grip, the overhand jamming grip, the ten finger climbing grip and the underhand gripping of the heel. However, these grips are often used incorrectly and lead to a number of muscular imbalances that may limit performance. In this article we will introduce you to some climbing grip techniques that may be beneficial to you in your climbing endeavors.

Differences In The Climbing Grip Techniques

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“I think the technical and fundamental point is that if we look at jamming as an activity, which is to put weight on the outside of the body with the fingers and then grab with the palm of our hand and pull back with the weight of the arms, which is the total amount of strength that can be exerted on any one joint, we can see that there are two different types of jamming. In the overhand jamming technique, the muscle that’s being used to pull back and push down on the top of the jam (the extensor muscles) is actually stronger than the extensor muscle that is doing the actual gripping of the jam (the intraspinal muscles). The result is that it does not actually take that much effort to get this kind of movement going. In the underhand jamming technique, there is a much greater activation of the oblique muscles for that movement. Because of this, we find that when we go to climb, we have a better ability to balance and control our body during that movement, whereas when we go to a jam it seems like the body loses its balance and we have more difficulty controlling it.

The differences in the types of gripping techniques stem from the differences in the muscle response. The open hand grip requires the use of more floor muscles and more forearm muscles when holding on to an object. These muscles are responsible for extending the flexor tendon through the angle that it will make with the angle of the finger when we curl our hands.

The Closed Hand Grip

The next type of grip that we’re going to look at is the closed hand grip. This is done by connecting the pinky finger of one hand to the thumb of the other hand and also to the middle finger of the other hand. Many athletes do this in their workouts. This is referred to as “fibre training”. We’ll explore the uses of fibres in our fitness training.

There are some major differences between these two grips. The closed-fibre grip has been shown to improve climbing performance and resistance when compared to the open-fibre grip. There are a few reasons for this including the development of strength in the knuckles of the fingers, the ability to support the thumb against the pressure of the fingers when climbing and also the ability of the thumbs to connect to the index finger of the right hand.

Open Grip Or Curl

The second of the two is the open grip or curl. This is where the link goes all the way across to the thumb, while the right thumb wraps around the index finger. It has been shown to be easier to hold because it takes less of a grip force to keep the thumbs connected and less to keep the pinky curl going straight across to the index finger. Both of these grip forces can be helpful. You’ll find that with practice both of these techniques can get you better results.

Now let’s look at the answers to the questions posed in the last paragraph. You can use both of these gripping techniques if you prefer, though the curl seems to be the popular choice among climbers. Those that like the open hand grip will benefit from the curl. Those climbers that like the closed-fibre experience will do very well with the crimp.

Bottom Line

As you finish reading this article, you’ll have some great knowledge about climbing holds and grip types. Climbers who have struggled to find grips that work well for them will feel much better with this information. In addition, new climbers that need to find new grips for their next climbing trip won’t be confused by this info. They’ll know exactly which gripping style works for them!

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