By Morgan Cvetkovic-Jones
The following article offers a training plan for the Praxis fingerboard - our wood board, developed for all levels of climber looking to improve finger and upper body strength. This plan will typically consist of two training methods:
- Repeaters – Hanging repeatedly for a set duration to increase finger conditioning and stamina
- Max hangs – A single, short and intense hang at the very limit of your power, increasing your maximum strength output.
These exercises have been the standard for many years, conditioning and training your fingers most effectively. The Praxis has the perfect set of holds for these work outs and many more, whether you’re a fingerboarding beginner or a fingerboarding fanatic.
Before starting any maximum intensity sessions on the Praxis, we’d recommend a decent warm up to avoid any injuries.
We recommend a 15 minutes (minimum) warm up consisting of:
- A pulse raiser.
- Dynamic Stretches.
- Easy hangs on the Praxis using holds 1, 3 or 6.
Start by identifying which hold type/grip type you want to work on, for repeaters we’d suggest using the middle row of 40mm holds on the Praxis (holds 6, 7 and 8) to work on your crimping endurance. If you want to see tangible gains, then stick to a specific hold/grip type on the Praxis and repeatedly train this rather than mixing it up.
- 60 seconds work out: hang for 7 seconds, rest for 3 seconds. Repeat this 6 times continuously to complete the full 60 seconds, maintaining the correct form.
- Rest 2-4 minutes between sets - until you feel fully recovered.
- Repeat 5 times.
- Complete this session 1-2 times per week for 5 weeks. When you have completed 5 weeks, take a week’s rest from the Praxis to analyse your progress.
Make it easier: If 7 seconds hanging and 3 seconds resting is too hard, choose an easier hold or reduce the hanging time to 5 seconds, increasing the rest time to 5 seconds.
Make it harder: If the last of your 5 sets feels easy then you need to select a harder hold (reduce the number of fingers by using holds 7 or 8, or reduce edge size by moving to hold 11), increase your weight with something like a weight vest (no more than 2-4kg at a time) or increase your hang time and reduce the rest time between each set.
Tip: The aim with repeaters is for the sets to feel increasingly hard and pump inducing – the last set must feel difficult to complete.
Max hangs are the most intense form of fingerboard training on the Praxis. For max hangs to work effectively as a training technique, it’s important that you choose a hold/hang type that’s at the very limit of your hanging capacity. Whether you’re a beginner utilising the Praxis’ 40mm pockets (holds 6, 7 or 8) or an experienced fingerboarding crushing the 10mm holds on the bottom rail (holds 11 or 12). For max hangs you should identify a hold on the Praxis that you can only hang for 7-12 seconds maximum. If you can hold on for longer than 12 seconds then this hold is too easy for you, if you’re struggling to hang for at least 7 seconds then this hold is too hard for you and should be adjusted accordingly.
- Hang for 7-12 seconds, maintaining correct form.
- Rest 2-4 minutes between sets – until you feel fully recovered.
- Repeat 3-5 times or until failure.
- Complete this session 2 times per week for 5 weeks. When you have completed 5 weeks, take a week’s rest from the Praxis to analyse your progress.
Make it easier: If you’re struggling to hold on for at least 7 seconds then you should select an easier hold, if you can’t hang any of the holds on the Praxis for 7 seconds then we’d suggest a different training exercise or putting your feet on a back wall.
Make it harder: If, after your first 5 weeks you have noticed gains and feel as though the initial sets are now too easy, consider upping the intensity - adding weight or reducing the edge size for the next 5-week training block. If you can hang all the edges on the Praxis for more than 12 seconds, why not try hanging using one arm? This follows the same protocol as max hangs but using holds 9 or 13.
Tip: The main objective for max hangs is to work at the very limit of your physical capabilities. As you work through the sets you will become tired, if you fail to finish a set before having completed the amount of sets you were aiming to achieve then stop to prevent injury.
Useful information: Although more physically intense than repeaters, max hangs are (generally speaking, if proper form has been maintained) less likely to cause injury. Max hangs not only strengthen your muscles but also increase your tendon density which makes them more resistant to strain and injury.
Alternative Praxis Exercises
If you don’t fancy following our repeater or max hanging workouts then why not try one of the exercises below? The range of holds on the Praxis can be used to work various other aspects of your climbing body, it isn’t always about your fingers!
CampussingAim: Fun, power development across range of muscle groups, hand-eye coordination, pocket accuracy.
- Select a sequence of holds on the Praxis and move between them with your feet off the floor.
- Rest 2-4 minutes.
- Repeat 6-8 times or until you can’t complete the sequence.
- If you feel your form and body positioning becoming weak during a sequence set, then stop to avoid injury.
- Why not try this sequence on the Praxis? (R = Right hand, L= Left hand, Number= hold on the Praxis)
- R+L 6, R2, L2, R1, L1, R7, L8, R9, L6, R5, L5, R2, L2
Feet on Enduro-sequence
Aim: Endurance, pocket accuracy.
- With your feet on some small footholds underneath your fingerboard (or anything you can put your outstretched toes on, something like a stool or box) to simulate a climbing position, make a sequence of hand movements between the Praxis’ edges.
- Like the campussing exercise, this can be repeated with rests in-between sets.
- BUT instead of a short, intense campus sequence, having your feet on means you can make up to or in excess of 50 hand movements to work on your climbing endurance, why not try the sequence above but see how many times you can repeat it with your feet on?
Leg RaisesAim: Core workout.
- Work up to a full front lever by doing sets of leg raises.
- This involves hanging the jugs (hold 1) or the 40mm 4-finger pockets (hold 6) and raising your legs to create a 90-degree angle between your outstretched legs and back.
- 5 90-degree leg raises.
- Rest for 2 minutes.
- Repeat 4 times.
Aim: Arm and shoulder muscle group workout, shorter/quicker workout.
- A variety of pull up exercises can be completed on the Praxis, utilising the multitude of different holds, we would suggest holds 1, 4 or 6.
- This can be anything from regular pull ups to type writers and French pull ups.
- It’s important when performing pull ups on the fingerboard that you don’t hold a position too far past a 90-degree bend at the elbow joint – going past this point regularly can cause injury, specifically in the bicep tendons and elbow joints.