Sitting off in the corner, maybe by itself, maybe swarmed with the great shirtless masses, the hangboard.

To a new climber, or new to training, the tools for climbing specific strength gain can be  overwhelming. The campus board, pegs, hangboards, the moon wall, the list goes on.

Here we will break down the hangboard and introduce you to what is often thought of as the quickest and most simple way to start seeing some big change in your climbing strength.

The hang board is a fairly simple tool that you can totally utilize, so go ahead and take a breath.

With any training, especially exercises that target your tendons, warming up is the absolute most important part. You want to be warm enough that you’d be ready to try your hardest project.

For me, that looks like my normal pre-climbing finger flicks, tendon scales, and very mild stretching, followed by a proper climbing warm up that lasts around 20/30 minutes starting at easy grades, where I can focus on exaggerated body placement,  working my way up to my near red point grade, when I can feel my hands turning on without strain.



The principles of safe hangboarding are not much unlike safe climbing, only with a little extra emphasis on form.

The posture is fairly intuitive. If you read our Scap Attack warm up, then apply those same engagement principles here. If you haven’t (you should) it’s not too complicated.

There are two main rules to follow:

  • Arms working – all that means is that your elbows aren’t limply pulling apart from weight and gravity, and you have engagement encouraging a very very slight bend in them.
  • Shoulders working – no turtle-ing, pull your torso up plugging your shoulders in, while rotating your shoulders so your armpits are pointing strait in front of you.

After body position, comes hands.

Don’t fall for the temporary gains a closed crimp offers. Closing your crimps while training will only put your tendons in harms way.

If you’re not sure what a closed or open crimp is put your fingertips on the edge of your desk.

With the pads of your 4 fingers flatly on the surface, imagine trying to get the heel of your as close to the floor as possible, thumb just hangs out- this is an open hand.

With your fingertips still there, scrunch your hand just enough that your thumb can reach up and lock onto the first knuckle of your pointer finger. With this position your 4 fingers should be all hyper flexed. This is a closed crimp, do not hang board like this. If you have to close your crimp to hold the hangboard, move up in hold size.

With these posture and position markers in mind, practice applying these in a dead hang on an easy juggy hold. Once it’s all clicked, it’s time to start!

This is a very simple exercise.

  • Hold for 10 seconds, release and rest for 50 seconds, and repeat until you’ve completed 5 full rounds.

You can repeat this 3 times with a bigger rest in between the sets.



If you’re unable to complete your first set, move to a larger hold.


Enjoy your new training tool, happy hanging!