While so many of us devote training sessions to building biceps and growing glutes, the importance of hand and finger conditioning is often overlooked. Big mistake. Our mits are particularly susceptible to injury, and there’s nothing like a ruptured tendon to throw a spanner into your sending season. Furthermore, many of us skip over essential warm up and cool down exercises in favour of a few easy climbs or some static stretching.
Thankfully, our favourite brands come to the rescue with a range of products that help to strengthen, soothe and support.
This play-dough-for-grown-ups is available in various colours and degrees of pliability, allowing you to select your preferred level of squishiness to get those fingies ready to send. There a wide range of exercises that you can do with Theraputty, including:
Roll the putty into a ball and hold it in your palm. Press all your fingers except the thumb into the putty. Hold for 5 seconds and release. Repeat.
Roll some or all of the putty into a ball and hold it between your index and middle fingers. Squeeze your fingers together for 5 seconds. Release, reshape the putty and place between your middle and ring fingers, and squeeze as before. Repeat with the ring and pinky fingers and then start again from the index finger.
Roll the putty into a ball and poke a hole through the middle. Shape it into a ring and place it around your index and middle finger. Spread your fingers apart and hold for a couple of seconds. Repeat with your other fingers as with the above exercise.
Check out more exercises in this guide from FlintRehab.com.
This handy (heh heh) gadget allows for isolation exercising, making it perfect for bringing any slacking fingers up to par! The Digi-Flex is particularly good for working the ring and pinky fingers which tend to be weaker than the index and middle. Better yet, the DigiFlex allows you to exercise different parts of the finger so that you can condition your hands to get a strong grip on crimps, slopers, pinches and any other choss the mountains throw at you. Plus, it’s available in different colours with corresponding levels of resistance.
Create your own custom routine with this list of exercises from Very Well Health.
As you would have seen in Chev’s routine, Theraband’s versatile products are the cornerstone of a solid warm-up. Their exercise bands and Flexbars are great for working hands and wrists, and can be used for a wide range of other exercises to condition and strengthen the shoulders, arms, hips, legs and chest. You can even use the Flexbar as a teeny foam roller for forearms and feet.
Designed by a doctor, Metolius’ GripSaver Plus is perfect for both finger strengthening and rehabilitation. Like the Theraputty and Digi-Flex, the GripSaver comes in three colours indicating varying levels of resistance. Your dak fingers might yearn for the toughest of them all, but with specialised therapy products like this, it may be best to go for one of the softer options, as you can always perform more reps of the exercise if you wish. The GripSaver’s manual comes with a few exercises that allow you to practice flexion and extension, with the ball and elastic cord providing resistance respectively.
It’s worth mentioning that any exercises that work the fingers and hand also condition the wrist and forearm, making for a compound workout and giving you more bang for your buck.
Have a look at this list of exercises that can be performed with the GripSaver or other therapy products.
“Spikey massage balls may look innocent but they have been described by some as evil little torture devices.” Oh, goody – that’s when you know it’s an effective therapy tool.
Fascia balls can be used similarly to foam rollers to massage achy muscles, not only to relieve pain, but also to encourage blood flow to the affected area to aid in and/or speed up the healing process. Balls are available in a variety of different sizes and levels of firmness depending on the area of intended use; they can be used to massage the glutes, arms, shoulders, feet and back.
Take a look at this guide of exercises by Bodyfix and get ready to enjoy a gentle and relaxing, not at all incredibly painful full-body massage.
We love a good life hack, and climbers are a resourceful bunch, meaning there are a number of cheap tips and tricks that you can use to strengthen and rehabilitate.
If you’re looking for an uber cheap (yet effective) warm up gizmo, make yourself a good ol’ rice bucket. Simply stock up on some rice, dump it in a large container, shove those hands in and get flexing! There are heaps of videos out there demonstrating effective exercises and routine, including this one from Grassroots Self Treatment. (We would recommend sticking with the plain grain, but there’s no one stopping you adding in some aromatherapy with basmati).
This is a great exercise for strengthening the forearm and building support around the elbow (if you happen to dabble in tennis, this will help with those pesky elbow ouchies). You can use any hammer that tickles your fancy, but we recommend the Coghlan’s Rubber Mallet because we love a multi-purpose device and this one is fantastic for conditioning and hammering in even the toughest of tent pegs.
To perform the exercise, grip the mallet’s handle and hold it upright with the heavy, smashy bit at the top. You can adjust your hand position according to your strength – the further down it is, the more resistance will be offered. Once you have a sturdy and comfortable grip, rotate the hammer 90° down in a slow and controlled manner. Slowly rotate back to your starting position and repeat on the other side. Repeat until you feel comfortably fatigued (we don’t want any injuries).
A familiar favourite, this exercise simply requires a hair tie or elastic band. Loop the band around your fingers and thumb, and then slowly spread your fingers apart, resisting the elastic. Return to starting position and repeat until comfortably fatigued. For more resistance, add more bands.
Grab these gizmos and browse the rest of our therapy products in-store or at mountainmailorder.co.za.