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Nicholas Youds

A gymnast approach to single finger pullups

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Nicholas Youds

I've been a climber for about 8 years and have recently bought the Foundation Series, Handstand One, and the stretch series and am looking forward to my gymnastics training complimenting and improving my climbing. I can do about 3-4 one arm pullups with each hand, but I've been inspired by climber and physiotherapist Peter Mortensen as he trained his way to a one-pinkie pullup.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=6307

 

Unfortunately, he gives very vague advice [nothing quantifiable] on how to safely progress to that level (and he was not without injury). I've avoided most mono (one finger) work because it seems dangerous, but I've been thinking that a safe way to approach this is to use the same progressions used in gymnasticsbodies. Mainly start with low weight and short reps/time increase the reps/time and then go back to low rep/time with a slightly higher weight. I've started by just carry a 5lb weight slung around my middle finger while taking the dog for the walk each day. When that middle finger is fatigued I switch to the other and roughly keep track of how long (how many blocks) each "set" is. The goal is to slowly over the next few years get up to and maybe past my body weight.

 

Do you guys have any advice? Is this the right approach? In the interest of time, safety, and usefulness I've decided that developing a middle finger mono on each hand is good enough for me. In case your interested I'm using the Eagle Loop by Ironmind as the sling.

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Matthew Jefferys

You might find some awesome resources in Olde Strongmen type places. They used to practice single finger pulls with enormous weight (227kg is the record! Louis Cyr) and it's very normal for them to try to pick up oddly shaped, heavy objects to strengthen their fingers and grip. Tearing phonebooks and cleaving apples helps, in my experience. 

 

As far as a calisthenics approach is concerned, I'd work my way up to a one arm handstand against the wall on 5 fingers, while also hanging from less and less fingers. If you label the fingers 1 through 4, from index to little, my progression is as follows:

123 > 234 > 23 > 14 > 1 > 4. You can supplement this by using the other hand for assistance (regular grip) and progressing from regular grip, to wide grip, then archer chins/pulls, then one arm progressions. That's what I'm currently doing, and I'm at 23 for a one-armed hang and 14 for a two-armed hang. Bear in mind, I have lupus, which makes this kind of training slow and infrequent for me. You probably have very strong fingers already from rock-climbing, so this might be too easy/lengthy for you. Either way; let me know how you go  :D

 

EDIT: Grammar fix

Edited by Mercurial Flow

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Andrew Long

i used to be able to do 2 finger pull ups when i did a lot of climbing (middle finger on each hand). bouldering helped a lot but when i started adding in hanging it progressed much faster.  one of the main things i did was   

-build up to 5 sets of 1+minutes of hanging (mixxed it up with scap pull ups dead hang and active hang)
-build up to 5 sets of 1 min 1 arm hangs
-moved those 1 arm hangs to my second knuckle
-buildup to 5 sets of 30 seconds hanging off the last knuckle on each hand
-l-sit foot supported hangs using first 2 fingers then middle 2 fingers then last 3 fingers building to 5 sets of 30 seconds
- l-sit foot suppoted hangs using individual fingers built to 5 sets of 15 seconds each
-repeated the same process as the l-sit foot supported stuff but from a  free hang but didnt quite reach the 1 finger hang as i stop climbing.


this was just one thing i was doing as well as campus board dynos,  pinch grip hangs and sloper stuff as well as bouldering quite hard.

i generally only did this 1-2 times a week max and only for a few weeks at a time then took a break anywhere from1-4weeks (really dependent on how my fingers felt.  i climbed 5days a week though pretty consistently.

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Marios Roussos

I've been a climber for about 8 years and have recently bought the Foundation Series, Handstand One, and the stretch series and am looking forward to my gymnastics training complimenting and improving my climbing. I can do about 3-4 one arm pullups with each hand, but I've been inspired by climber and physiotherapist Peter Mortensen as he trained his way to a one-pinkie pullup.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=6307

 

Unfortunately, he gives very vague advice [nothing quantifiable] on how to safely progress to that level (and he was not without injury). I've avoided most mono (one finger) work because it seems dangerous, but I've been thinking that a safe way to approach this is to use the same progressions used in gymnasticsbodies. Mainly start with low weight and short reps/time increase the reps/time and then go back to low rep/time with a slightly higher weight. I've started by just carry a 5lb weight slung around my middle finger while taking the dog for the walk each day. When that middle finger is fatigued I switch to the other and roughly keep track of how long (how many blocks) each "set" is. The goal is to slowly over the next few years get up to and maybe past my body weight.

 

Do you guys have any advice? Is this the right approach? In the interest of time, safety, and usefulness I've decided that developing a middle finger mono on each hand is good enough for me. In case your interested I'm using the Eagle Loop by Ironmind as the sling.

I've been using the Foundation templates to work on grip strength for about a year now. I alternate between towel hangs and ledge hangs off the smallest Metolius Rock Ring rungs with every workout (three times a week). I started off with the 5 second template, followed it with the 10 second template, and eventually worked my way up to 5 x 30 seconds hanging from both hands (I did have to decrease the weekly time increments as the original templates progressed too fast for me).

 

I am now working on an uneven hang with one arm fully extended and hanging on to the rock rings with three fingers while the other is fully flexed and hanging on to a gymnastic ring by one finger at chest level. The goal is to eventually get to a full one arm hang with three fingers and to then start working for time. I don't see why you couldn't use the same approach to eventually get to a one finger hang. 

 

I have to say that although progress is very slow, there is progress. I could probably progress faster with a more climbing specific program that doesn't aim for the longer holds, but I'm pretty happy with the fact that I haven't even come close to having any tendon issues while using this method. 

 

I've had a bit of wine tonight, so if this doesn't make any sense let me know and I'll re-type it tomorrow. 

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