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How to Use a Hangboard for Indoor Climbing

Learn how to use a hangboard for indoor climbing from rock climbing expert Cliff Simanski in this Howcast video.


Right now I'm going to show you some good exercises for using a hangboard, and this device right here is called a hangboard. You can kind of think of it as a glorified pull-up bar almost. Basically, there's different positions on this hangboard that allow you to isolate different grips. So you can practice different types of hand positions and work on developing what's known as contact strength.

So when you're using a hangboard, one of the exercises is simply hanging. Starting with some of the larger spaces on the hangboard, and then hanging. You can continue to do so, moving down the hangboard, getting to smaller and smaller positions. There's many different types of hangboards that offer different shapes, from sloping holds, to big positive holds, to smaller little edges that are called crimps.

So moving down, once you get more technical holds, once again you'll practice the different position, and simply get comfortable hanging on it. It's a great way to start to develop contact strength, and also kind of ease into using your tendons by putting more and more of your body weight on a smaller surface. That sort of motion of just hanging without pulling is a good indicator of really how small of a hold you could be pulling on, without risking injury.

Once you're comfortable hanging in some of the different positions, you can then start to incorporate more movement by basically just doing some pull-ups, and adding some sets, and some routines to how you do those pull ups. Perhaps you do a larger number of pull-ups on the bigger more positive holds, and then dropping down to some of the smaller sizes, and reducing the number.

So you could start on the big positive holds, maybe do a couple of pull-ups, however many you're comfortable with. And then reduce that number, grab a smaller hold, and as you work your way down perhaps when you get to some of the smallest sizes, you're just hanging on those by the time you get there, and don't even worry about pulling up.

This is just to kind of train some different positions and give you a good idea about how your tendons are going to react to pulling on those small holds, and help you develop some of that contact strength. So, that is a hangboard, and some basic exercises to get you going.

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