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  • Start with your weakest grip (smaller or bigger one)
  • End with your strongest grip (narrow, 2-inch width for the power pinch)
  • Attach your weights. 

Start your program with a pinch-strength diagnosis. Check your abilities and weaknesses with these steps:

Wide, medium or narrow? Assess your pinch strength on all three options, as you may be better at one or the other. Use pinch blocks, deadhang rigs, or some of the set-ups described below. It’s hard to quantify this process precisely, but you should get a sense of when one size feels notably tougher than another.

Deep or shallow? Similarly, as soon as you start experimenting, it will probably become clear if you are better at pinches that only reach the first finger joint, or those covering the full depth of your fingers.

Thumb or finger strength? Clearly, the thumb is the dealmaker for most pinches. Some climbers will naturally have strong thumbs, and some will have strong (or weaker) fingers.


Linking with the above assessments, you can attempt a more in-depth analysis of finger strength to determine which grips may be inhibiting your pinch strength:

 Dragging with fingers straight: for large, wide, slopey pinches. • Half-crimp/chisel: for medium-width or narrow pinches.

• Little-finger strength: the pinky plays a key stabilizing role in pinching.

Next, these other aspects of body strength may come into play:

• Wrist strength: a major component for using pinches on vertical and gently overhanging walls (when the wrists are often bent).

• Strong core and shoulders: while these muscles lie further down the chain and are not specifically involved in gripping, you are likely to have trouble using pinches—especially on overhangs—if your core or arms are weak.



Practice regularly—say, two or three times a week—and only train when you feel recovered and fresh, such as after warming up at the beginning of a session. Always warm up before any of these.

For these maximum-strength exercises, you need to find out what weight you need to add (hold 14 sec maximum).

Make sure you record your weights and grip positions, so you can track your progress over the week, and know what weights to start on, when you return to the hangboard training months from now.