Climbing holds are an integral part of any climbing route. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional, knowing how to use and train with these holds is essential for your success! This blog post will go over some different types of climbing holds and how you can familiarize yourself to get better at them.
Jugs, also known as buckets, are the most basic and most accessible climbing hold to use. These are great for beginners because they’re easy to grab and can be used as a place to rest in between complex moves. They look just like they sound, large holds that you can fit the majority of your fingers behind. Just like grabbing the rim of a bucket!
You can find these holds on easy routes and boulder problems and pretty much all types of rock. They also make for great footholds as they offer a large platform to stand on. When this climbing holds present themself upside down, this is called undercling.
The best way to train for jugs is to climb on them as much as possible. Using these holds is a good time to relax with straight arms and practice different types of ways to efficiently get yourself up the wall with the least amount of energy spent. Additionally, they are the preferred hold type to warm up on as they are the least strenuous on your fingers and tendons.
Pockets are usually small holes in the rock that generally can only fit up to one to three fingers. When you can only fit one finger in the pocket that is called a ‘mono.’ They are a more advanced hold and require strong tendons for safe use. Using a pocket without adequately warming up can result in an injured tendon or pulley.
These climbing holds are often found on limestone routes and boulders. For example, Ten Sleep in Wyoming is a famous limestone sport crag and is known for the number of pockets it produces.
As mentioned, pockets are an advanced hold, so don’t rush into using them if you want to keep your fingers healthy. A way to train for pockets is to use a hangboard, start by hanging in a three-finger drag position on a large hold, and progress to dropping either your pointer finger or your ring finger. Practice different combinations of fingers to be ready for all situations.
A crimp climbing hold is a small, round or tapered edge. Crimps can vary in-depth. The deeper the crimp, the easier it is to use. You can find crimps on all grades, but the more challenging the grade, the more difficult or smaller the crimp becomes. The word ‘crimp’ can also be used to describe how to use a hold, i.e., “She crimped that edge.” And there are a couple of different crimp positions; open hand, half crimp, and full crimp. These different positions vary in stress to the tendons, and crimping can sometimes result in injured fingers, so remember to warm up properly.
Crimps are found on most types of stone but are most common on sandstone and granite. The Buttermilks is the spot for famous crimp lines like Stained Glass. When these holds present themselves facing toward you versus away, they are called a gaston. However, gastons can be other types of grips, such as slopers but most often come in crimp shape.
Crimps are the most popular hold to train for, and there are many different protocols for doing such. Popular programs include Max hangs and repeaters. You can train with various size crimps; popular sizes are 22mm, 15mm, and 10mm. Sizes can go into the single-digit millimeters and well when advancing into more difficult grips. There are many different opinions on training crimps, but the bottom line is that doing anything will help. Find what protocol you like best and change it up every once in and while, but don’t overdo it.
A pinch climbing hold that you squeeze between your fingers and your thumb. Pinches can vary in difficulty depending on the size of the hold, angle of the wall, and hold.
You can find pinches on all types of rock or by combing two holds, like two pockets or a pocket and an edge. Often finding a thumb catch can make a grip feel easier, so keep an eye out!
A popular way to train pinches is to use a pinch block, add weight to the bottom, and hold it as long as possible. Another way to train pinches is to use a hangboard with pinches like the Trango Prodigy and hang or do pull-ups either bodyweight or with added weight.
Slopers are climbing holds you grip with the palm of your hand. They are slanting down or rounded. Imagine a basketball. The steeper the angle, the harder they are to use. The way you grip a sloper can vary, but often you are moving your body around the hold to make the grip feel more “positive.”
Often you can find slopers on a slab or vertical walls and most types of stone. Some prevalent sloper problems include Mr. Moran in Red Rock and Tim’s Sloper Problem in Squamish.
The best way to train for sloper is to climb on them as much as possible, and slopers are more of a body-position and technique hold versus a strength climbing hold. However, contact strength does come into play, so using the different hang boards and campus rungs that use the palm of your hand will increase your ability to hold onto a sloper.
This is a climbing blog post about the types of climbing holds and how to train for them. It describes different climbing holds, such as crimps, slopers, pinches, jugs, and pockets. It also explains how to prepare for climbing holds, such as using different tools available. And don’t forget to brush your holds!