Fingerboard Pyramid Training

The hangboard (aka fingerboard) is a popular training tool for climbers, as it addresses the weakest link to the rock–the fingers. Unfortunately, this simple training tool can be misused (or overused) and lead to finger tendon and elbow injuries. You can best avoid this outcome by utilizing a fingerboard as just one part of a good training program, not the cornerstone. While the large holds of a fingerboard offer an ideal platform for pull-up and lock-off exercises, the focus of this article is use of the board to train the forearm muscles.

The genius of a good fingerboard, like the NEXGEN2 shown below, is the multitude of finger positions and grips that it enables you to train. This is especially useful if you are unable to regularly boulder or climb on an indoor wall. If you lack a nearby climbing area or gym, you should consider installing fingerboard to train on a few days per week.

Pyramid Training


Pyramid training simulates the way your forearm muscles might work in climbing a medium-length route. One run through the Fingerboard Training Pyramid involves seven hangs on the same pair of holds. After a brief rest, you will perform another pyramid cycle on a different set of hold. Continuing in this interval training fashion you can work all the primary grip positions over the course of seven to fifteen total sets.

Here is a good training protocal for developing local forearm endurance.
1. As with all finger training exercises, it’s vital that you engage in a progress warm-up of light exercise, stretching, and then moderate climbing or a few sets of hangs and pull-ups.
2. Begin your pyramid training by targeting your weakest grip position. For many people this will be the sloper or pinch grip.
3. Follow the pyramid exactly with only a five-second rest between each hang. It’s best to subvocalize a slow count of one, one-thousand; two, one-thousand and so on. The first full pyramid will take just under one and one-half minutes.
4. Take a one-minute rest before performing another pyramid cycle on a different set of holds.
5. Repeat this cycle for a total of seven to fifteen total sets. Work a different grip position with each set; however, do stick to a single grip for each pass through the pyramid cycle.
6. Safety note: Consider taping your middle fingers with the A2 method. Terminate your pyramid training early if you feel any pain in your tendons or joints.

NICROS is proud to bring back the popular NEXGEN hangboard, originally released in 1998, and now fully revised and updated for this 2008 release! Perhaps the best training board ever designed, the NEXGEN2 has an amazing variety of features and a sweet differential texture that your fingers will love. The board will work all your grip positions with small- and medium-sized pockets, crimps, slopers, and pinch holds, plus two killer zero-tex pull-up jugs! NEXGEN2 is the next best thing to having a climbing wall (see how the Moving Hangs exercise below can simulate climbing–ideal for people with no space for a home wall).


Whether you need a hangboard for a warming-up before climbing, doing pull-ups and hypergravity training, or cranking out a full-on training-for-climbing workout, the new NEXGEN2 cannot be beat–we challenge you to find another hangboard with more useable features suitable for training!

Copyright 2008 Eric J. Hörst. All rights reserved.