Hypergravity Bouldering

Advanced climbers with several years of bouldering under their belt eventually reach a point where they no longer achieve significant gains in finger strength despite regular, hard bouldering. Fortunately, hypergravity bouldering and the HIT workout are powerful training strategies that will yield further gains in high-end finger strength. To do this, you’ll need to invest in a ten-pound weight belt (a five-pound belt for climbers weighing less than 100 pounds) or fill a fanny pack with five or ten pounds of scuba diver’s weights. Here is the best strategy for engaging in hypergravity bouldering. This is an indoor-training strategy only!

Complete a general and specific warm-up. That is, work through various basic warm-up and stretching exercises, and then move on to some general climbing and bouldering lasting at least thirty minutes. Now, clip on your weight belt and pre-determine a target number of “burns” (attempts and ascents) that you will perform at hypergravity. As a guideline, limit yourself to about five burns on your initial session, then build to fifteen to twenty burns as you gain confidence and strength.

Select non-technical, overhanging boulder problems that possess small- to medium-sized holds, but no tiny and tweaky features. Since you are climbing with a weight belt, favor problems that are a couple grades or more below your limit. It’s important to avoid taking an out of control fall while climbing with the extra weight on your body. Climb the problem two or three times with a rest for three to five minutes between ascents.

Move on to another strenuous-looking problem that appears to target a different grip position. Consider taking the time to set “theme problems” that possess only holds of a certain shape and size—this is the best way to target and train a weak grip position. Ascend this problem two or three times, with adequate rest between attempts.

It’s important to remember that hypergravity bouldering is stressful on the fingers, elbows, and shoulders, and it’s critical that you stop training at the first sign of pain in any of these areas. Gradually work into hypergravity bouldering over the course of a few weeks. Begin with five burns, one day per week, and work towards the advanced program of fifteen to twenty burns, twice per week.

EH hypergravity bouldering on his home wall wearing a 20-lb weight belt.

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