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How to Grip Indoor Climbing Holds

Learn how to grip indoor climbing holds from climbing expert Cliff Simanski in this Howcast video.


When you're in a climbing gym, you're going to see lots of different kinds of holds on the walls. There's lots of different ways to hold them, and lots of different types of grips, different positions your hands are going to be in. So, to start off, right here, these two green holds are known as slopers. A good technique for slopers is to try to keep your weight underneath the sloper, and you really want to maximize the amount of surface contact you're getting with these holds. So as I move up the wall, I'm going to start on these two slopers, really trying to get as much of my hands on them as I can, keeping my weight nice and low.

My right hand now is coming to a hold known as a jug, which is a really big positive hold. I'm also holding this jug from the bottom, which means it's known as an undercling. I'm actually pulling up on that hold. I'm going to move my left hand in to another jug, but now I'm pulling on it to the side, so that hold is also known as a side pull.

My right hand is now moving to a hold known as a pinch, it's a pinch because I'm literally pinching it. Lots of holds can also work as pinches simply by engaging that thumb, that's a really good technique, always try to engage that thumb. Moving up a little farther, I come to another sloper, this time I'm going to be pushing against it with my thumb facing down. This position is known as a Gaston. Now I'm matching this hold, two hands on the same hold is known as a match. Moving my left hand over, I have another pinch. As I continue up the wall I can grab another jug here, once again, this is going to be a side pull, because I'm pulling sideways on it.

This pink hold here is known as a crimp, that you're going to get just your finger tips on, and even wrap your thumb over your index finger to kind of maximize how much pressure you can put on such a small point. Another crimp here, this pink, guiding with my right hand, wrapping my thumb over that index finger to really allow me to put a lot of force on a small space. Moving up, we have this final hold here, this big juggy hold, to finish really big and positive. And that would be a good explanation of climbing holds and how to hold them.

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