Black Hills Rock Climbers and Finger Strength

Black Hills Rock Climbers and Finger Strength

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Expert Author Greg S Gruba
As a chiropractor in Rapid City, SD, I see a number of rock climbing athletes. Our surrounding Black Hills and Badlands are a treasure trove of climbing adventures.
Climbing spots in the region are numerous and have a wide variety of skill levels. Some of these destinations are Devil's Tower and the Needles near Mount Rushmore national monument. The surrounding views are breathtaking. There are even boulder outcrops of sandstone just outside of Rapid City. Nemo Road and Falling Rock offer nice climbing and are also just as you exit the city.
Unfortunately, many of our local climbers are limited to a few climbs per year or only during the summer months. Weather, employment, and scheduling are all factors which often prohibit regular training.
Just like any other training or exercise routine, regularity is required for muscle memory and strength. Without these, rock climbing can literally be a life or death hobby!
One of the most important skills or strengths utilized when climbing is the strength of your fingers. Finger strength may actually be a misleading term since your fingers contain no muscles. The fingers have tendons which attach to the forearm and hand. Moving your fingers and thumb in all directions requires 34 muscles. Strengthening these muscles are not typically a necessity unless you are a climber or work in a field requiring long uninterrupted hours of finger dexterity tasks.
Developing the "finger strength" is not a quick or part-time exercise. A proper program will take months to achieve good strength.
Also, be advised that the joints and tendons in your fingers are quite fragile. Any injury to these areas can be serious and permanent.
Rock climbing gyms are springing up around the USA and are beneficial for year round training. Many athletes do not have access to these gyms so there are numerous products and tips for home use.
Different products such as a climbing boards and mini resistance bands can help develop strength and improve recovery. Another popular exercise is clenching and opening your fingers while having them submerged in a bucket of rice.
Like many other exercise program, start gradually and increase repetitions over time. Associated injuries could include carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, golfer's elbow. or tendinitis in the hand and wrist.
Rock climbing can be very rewarding, but please use proper gear and avoid going beyond your skill level. Also, never climb alone.

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