This Average Climber Trained with a Pinch Block for 30 Days – ft. Eric Horst


– Hi, I’m Geek Climber. Recently I have been
able to climb a few V7s, but I still get shut down pretty often by lower level climbs. I knew I had to work on my weaknesses to become a well-rounded climber, but I never bothered to
take action until this. I can’t even start this V2-V3 because I don’t have
enough pinch strength. So I decided it’s time to make a change. I have an opportunity to work
with Frictitious Climbing, which makes high-quality pinch block that caters to all levels of climbers. I’m going to challenge myself to train on the pinch block for 30 days. I’m going to test the max
weight that I can pinch for at least five seconds
on the widest pinch and the narrowest pinch for both hands, and then do the same
test again after 30 days and see how much I will improve. For the widest pinch,
I can pinch 20 pounds with my right hand over
five seconds easily. And 25 pounds for almost five seconds. So that falls into the
almost 25 pounds category. For my left hand, I can pinch 20 pounds for five seconds solidly, but can’t pinch 25 pounds off the ground. So that falls into the
solid 20 pounds category. For the narrowest pinch, I can pinch 10 pounds
for five seconds solidly with my right hand, but can’t pinch 12 pounds off the ground. So that falls into the
solid 10 pounds category. For my left hand, it takes a lot of effort to pinch 10 pounds for five seconds, so it falls into the
barely 10 pounds category. After training by myself for a few days, I thought to myself, I have
no idea what I’m doing, and I want to get the
pinch training right. So I decided to reach out to
a world-class climbing coach, Eric Horst, who has been
coaching for 30 plus years and has written multiple
training for climbing books, for some advice on training
properly with the pinch block. – And if we’re gonna set
a basic rule that applies to most people, the first year that
somebody gets into climbing, they should just climb a few days a week and develop the skills. Give your fingers and
joints, tendons, ligaments some time to adapt to those
unique stresses of climbing and then year two, start
to ease into training, and then year three, maybe more
significantly into training. – So it’s more about the time and length instead of the grades. – That’s right. I’ll
stand with a pinch block at my side with the
weight and I will count for seven seconds. And then I’ll set the weight down. And then I’ll train the other side. Pinch it for seven seconds
with my other hand. So I go seven seconds, seven seconds. That’s like one repetition, and I would do that six times. So after I do that first set, then about a five-minute rest and then I do another set
of those six repetitions. If you’re really well-conditioned, you could probably do a third set. I wouldn’t do more than three
sets of these repeaters. You wanna do them on a
bouldering day workout. If you are doing hangboard training, you would do the pinch
training on the same day. This is not something you
would do on a rest day, and so that’s kind of a
strength endurance protocol because you’re not just doing
one repetition and being done, but you’re doing six
repetitions on each side. Many people might need to
begin with 15 or 20 pounds. Often times on a route, it’s just not one pinch you need to do, but there might be a
couple of pinches in a row. So you do need to have some
degree of strength endurance. It’s not enough to be able
to pinch hard one time, but to be able to do
a few pinches in a row and that’s why I like
this repeater protocol. When you’re pinch block training, you don’t wanna grab with your
thumb deep onto the block, but you wanna grab it that
the joint to be kind of right at the edge of the block, so you’re squeezing with
the end of your thumb, the pad of your thumb here. not like your whole thumb down like that. There’s more training
value in training more with the end of the thumb like that. When you’re pinching at your side, the rest is extended and it
actually trains the muscles of your lateral forearm because when you’re climbing, your wrist is often extending. You see people even on a crimp; they’ll see their elbow come out. The pinch block training, you kinda kill two birds with one stone. You train your thumb muscle.
That’s beneficial for climbers to have stronger pinch, but you also train those extensor muscles on the lateral forearm. That
helps stabilize the wrist and make you a more effective
and efficient climber no matter what type of
hold you’re grabbing. So, pinch block training is
actually really important and it’s something that’s
overlooked by a lot of climbers. And that, by the way, is
for a very wide pinch. If you get much more narrow than this, or if you go to something
even as narrow as this, is when you pinch it, you
end up having to crimp with your fingers. You get the extensor
muscles trained better with a wider grip that puts your fingers in an open hand position. Training wide pinch on the blocks will make you better at narrow pinching. The thumb’s getting stronger
regardless of how wide you train your pinch. Training narrow pinches is not as useful for the wrist stabilizer. Like I said, that’s
kind of a hidden benefit of doing the wide pinches. It makes your extensor muscles stronger, which, by the way, changes the
biomechanics in your fingers. It actually reduces your risk
of pulley injuries and stuff. Not have rounded shoulders,
you wanna be engaged. You don’t wanna be shrugging, either. So you wanna, the same form you would take if you were finishing a deadlift. Standing tall, not hyper extended. You don’t wanna be doing that. You wanna have good attention, posture, retracting your scapula a little bit. Get your chest out and
holding it for seven seconds. I don’t think pinch block
training is something that’s likely to get you injured, but the better the form, that’s always a smart thing. – Based on what coach Horst said, I started my training routine
with seven-second pinch for each hand alternatively for six times with 15 pounds on the widest
pinch for two to three sets. On day 12, I could already
feel the improvement on my pinch strength. I was able to hold onto a pinch and make a move that
I couldn’t originally. As I continued to train, on day 17 I started
training with 20 pounds for the first set and 15
pounds for the remaining sets. On day 23, I started training
with 20 pounds for all sets. On day 25, Frictitious Climbing
redesigned and upgraded my pinch block based on
coach Horst’s feedback. Thirty days flew by really
fast and it was time for the final test. For the widest pinch,
now I’m able to pinch 30 pounds for five seconds
with a maximum effort for my right hand. I improved from almost 25
pounds to barely 30 pounds. For my left hand, now I’m
able to pinch 30 pounds for almost five seconds, which means I improved
from solid 20 pounds to almost 30 pounds. For narrowest pinch, now
I’m able to pinch 15 pounds for almost five seconds
with my right hand, which means I improved
form solid 10 pounds to almost 15 pounds. For my left hand, now I’m
able to pinch 12 pounds for five seconds solidly, which means I improved
from barely 10 pounds to solid 12 pounds. Thanks for watching. If you want to make your pinch
strength stronger like I did, make sure to check out the link in the video description below and use promo code GEEKCLIMBER
to get free shipping for your Frictitious pinch block purchase. Full disclosure, I’m not sponsored but I will earn a commission
for each purchase. This is a way to support my channel and also support
quality climbing start-ups that are courageous enough to compete with the big climbing brands. Coach Horst also recently launched a brand called PhysiVantage, which carries science and
research-backed supplements for tendons and ligaments. Be sure to check it out in
the video description below. Lastly, this completes my
third training goal of the year and my fourth and last
one will be the hardest, but it will also be epic! Be sure to subscribe so you can watch it as soon as I complete it. See you in the next video.

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