Adapted from

Font 8a,b,c its easy as 321 (not quite but it’ll help), bear in mind this process should take a year or two if your lucky, decades might be a better aim.

321 theory is based on an extension of isolation training but for grip, people often talk about back 3 helping crimp strength and front 3 (open handing) is undoubtedly the safest and strongest grip available to humans on most holds if properly unleashed. Training these grips should commence from an early period and the average Font 7a-7c climber should be a solid 3 finga grippa.  3 finger open hands are best started on the big rungs before moving onto the 20 degree slopers, then the mini rungs, then the 35 degree slopers, then the 45 degree slopers (snuggle fingers into the sloper sides or use thumbs to help between transfers)

There are 2 main ways to train on a fingerboard, Repeaters and Deadhangs. And each of these have different varieties (yes I am that sad)

Deadhangs: Assume a state of rigor mortis on your chosen grip type for a selected time period and don’t let go until its up, usually 30, 45 or 60 seconds, I personally prefer only to use this method when I am breaking in a new grip type and I cannot do a decent set of repeaters without some serious weight being taken off, such aspinky monos.

Repeaters: The Daddy of fingerboarding, monotony is turned into addiction as you fight off the burn to finish a set. Repeaters consist of hanging a grip type for 7 seconds then resting 3 seconds and then holding for another 7 seconds, this should be done for 6 to 7 reps so if you’re on a stopwatch and you start hanging at 3 seconds the finishing line is at 1 minute 10 seconds. This replicates the contracting and relaxing of muscles between moves on rock nicely and a similar pump is often achieved.

Encores: Repeaters + French pullups. (My personal favourite for fingerboarding) Each repeat phase should be held at a different arm angle e.g.

Grab 1: Full Lock

Grab 2: arms nearly straight

Grab 3: arms ¾ lock

Grab 4: arms ¼ lock

Grab 5: arms half lock

Grab 6: arms full lock

Grab 7: arms nearly straight

Beasts may wish to grip on deep lock such as +1/4 and half lock

Deep lock is when you can lock shoulders above hands on a fingerboard (much easier on a bar)

Simply put Encores together with different grips in a set and a beastly forearm and arm workout emerges.

When it all starts getting a bit easy you can do 3 things

·         Add weight (upto 15 kg only then start again on one of the below)

·         Remove an arm (not literally see other article)

·         Remove some digits (definitely not literally)


Front 3 + back 3 training will benefit 4 finger sloper strength and crimp strength a lot.

And so we arrive at 2, not usually seen coming after 3 but climbing has always been a non conformist.

2 aargh! The love it or hate it number, home of bird beaking, pockets and danger crimps.

By 2 I am of course referring to the number of fingers used in training on your fingerboard, many climbers have THE FEAR when it comes to 2 fingers especially in England where pockets are a rarity, those in the know love them though for they are the way of brute contact strength and Resilience.

So let’s Split em.

Front 2: seasoned crimpers usually have a disproportionately strong front 2 fingers due to years of unequal load; they may even find bird beaking (index straight & middle bent) a touch easier than front 2 open handing. Whether you’re strong or weak on them it is likely they can be trained even more, Start on the deep pockets, then the shallow pockets, then the slopey pockets. And use progression techniques* to move between them.

Middle 2: The pocket stable that Tommy Caldwell or any Frankenjura veteran will tell you can be made ridiculously strong, the foundation of the hand and many grips in a way, which is why care should be taken when training them (we didn’t spend hours designing our boards to be the least tweaky out there in order for you to hurt yourself but its still possible so listen to yer body)

Back 2: You what! No I’m not on crack, take a look at that hand that’s on the end of your arm there, now see that HALF OF YOUR HAND which is attached to the other half, that’s back 2, train it CAREFULLY and you will see a definite strength gain (a full grade in my experience) just be very gradual in the loading process, any danger signals and stop it and leave it the hell alone, get back on those nice safe slopers and do some CORE or something. Start training them gently on the back 2 pockets, then progress in the same manner as all other pockets. Aim for a 3 month improvement period or similar, improvements should start arriving after around 4 weeks. If injuries come instead you’ve either gone too fast too soon, or chaos theory has conspired against a tendon pulley and a series of random yet associated events has lead to an inexplicable pulley injury, tell yourself whichever you prefer (AKA the truth & not the truth)

True beasts may wish to train crimp versions of the above grips, this is incredibly tweak susceptible training yet will help crimp strength massively, recommended if your stagnating at the font 8a+ mark and fancy a bit of time out from the sport. Bigger risks can = bigger gains and its only risky if done hastily, the odd 10 second hang with a foot on a chair built up slowly can lead to ridiculous crimp strength over a year or two.

So that about wraps up 2:

Front 2 + middle 2: will benefit front 3 hugely

Middle 2 + back 2: will benefit back 3 hugely

1 NOOO! Monos monos monos. Here at Beastmaker we love em to bits, mono hanging competitions are possibly the greatest climbing spectacle. especially off one arm, its where Wolfgang made Stallone look like a podgy punter, and where Alain Robert shows the public that he may not find juggy window scaffold not as much of a challenge as first appears. Maybe one arm mono dynoing will emerge one day to amaze the public. For now we shall just have to be content with minor routes like ActionDirecte, Agincourt, and Hubble. All contain monos (Hubble's is a rest!) and it says something about the cutting edge of climbing 10 years ago. If you want to be the best you need to start giving your other fingers a rest.

Index monosSome find them easy (many) others don’t, Monos are simple to train, stick a finger in various sized holes and hang until mild discomfort is reached, don’t push too far with them or they will shoot a gunshot so loud from your forearm you'll wish that extra second hadn’t mattered more than 3 months off climbing.

Middle monosSafest of the monos and the best place to start a mono campaign, ensure front 2 and middle 2 strength is good before moving onto it.

Ring finger monosYou might have just winced and your not alone, flashbacks of old injury are common but pulleys heal stronger with care. The most fragile tendon sogo extra slow with these.

Pinky monosthe end of the line finger wise, Fred Nicole cracked out a one armer off one through a sling for "Masters Of Stone" and he has done the odd spot ofbouldering and even a route or two. One armering them on a fingerboard is much harder and slings are a bit cheaty but a good place to start. Most will be content with using both arms and finding this hard.

Index+middle = ridiculous front 2 strength

Middle+ring= well guess!

Ring+pinky= back 2 crushing.

*Progression techniques: AKA cheating, Use of pulleys, chairs, thumbs and nestled fingers in order to advance to a more difficult grip