Crimping while climbing: The climber's crimping technique (2023)

Crimping while climbing: The climber's crimping technique (1)

You're clinging to a small hold on a steep wall and your fingertips are dying? Well done, you're socketing! Not sure what we're talking about?

Then this is all you need to know about Ascension Crimping!

A curl in rock climbing can mean two different things: it means a small ledge or hold, or it means thatAwayYou hold on to such a grip and the hand position (the socket grip) you use to do it.

Simply put, a crimped grip is how the hand is positioned and how the fingers flex when a small grip is used.

but there isesThere is more than one way to the socket and we will cover that here.

In this article we talk about the different crimp grips, how to improve your crimp and whatnodo if you want to keep your fingers strong and healthy for a long time.

In this article you will find: hide

1What is crimping in rock climbing?

2How To Curl When Climbing

3 different climbing holds where it is set

4 Different hand positions when crimping

5Which climbing clamp should I use?

6 crimp climbing injuries

7How crimp oil helps you when climbing

8Crimp climbing training

What is crimping in climbing?

Crimping while climbing: The climber's crimping technique (2)

Crimping is the way you grab a small but positive edge and bend your fingers in a specific way. The easiest way to tell if you're using a crimping grip or not is to look at the joint just below the nails, the DIP (distal interphalangeal) joint.

If these joints are bent outwards in your fingers, don't bend, instead use an open hand position. However, if they are bent inwards, your hand is in a pinched grip position. This is called hyperextension of the first joint.

The other important joint for the crimped grip is that between the first two finger bones: the PIP (proximal interphalangeal) joint. When socketing these joints are sofully contracted to apply pressure to fingertips.

Be aware, however, that this joint has limited side-to-side motion and can easily become stiff after an injury.

Curling your fingers this way allows you to adopt an aggressive hand position that's perfect for thin edges as it creates tension in your hands and directs all your power to your fingertips.

But that also generates Lots of excitementin the finger joints and tendons.

Therefore, it is important to use proper technique and not to overdo the crimped grip or you may injure your fingers.

By the way, there are different types of socketed grips and gripping techniques for different grips, which we will discuss in more detail below.

How to do curls while rock climbing

Various climbing clamp positions

There are two main types of crimping in rock climbing: thefull crimp handlejhalf crimp. Both focus on putting all your power into your fingertips while bringing your palm closer to the wall for even more power.

Both have the DIP joints of your 4 fingers flexing inward, but the position of your thumb varies depending on whether you're doing the half or full grip.

Note that these two crimping positions are different than what is known as the open hand position, where your DIP will flex the other way and is generally easy on your joints and tendons.

Proper pressing technique when climbing

When socketing, it's important not to forget the rest of your body. Since this type of hand position puts a lot of strain on the hands, it is important to support the fingers as much as possible.

Here is the key:

To avoid overreaching, also pay attention to your posture and foot position. Because if you only have small kicks in the way when you jump, good balance and precise footwork are all the more important!

Various climbing holds that are crimped

When you envision a rough route, you're probably thinking of a wall climb with little to no support anda lotBut the truth is, you can use a crimped grip for other types of grips, such as sliders, as it depends on how you bend your DIP joints.

Of course, there are handles where crimping is impossible, such as B. a crack climb or a pitcher. But otherwise there are many different holds that you can use as a climbing technique.

While sockets often seem to be the best option as it gives you the most security, an open hand position can sometimes be more appropriate.

The thing is, beginners in particular tend to use the socket grip too often because they have a harder time trusting open hand positions and they rely more on friction like you would with an open hand. But then it is particularly important to use other techniques and not to socket too much too early.

Check out this video which pretty much explains the difference between a crimp grip and an open grip and shows just how versatile the crimp grip can be:

Different hand positions when socketing

As mentioned earlier, there are different types of crimping handles, each differentiated by the position of the fingers and where most of the pressure is applied.

The full crimp (close grip) and when to use it

When performing a full crimp grip, grip the pads of all four fingers, curl the first knuckles inward, and fold the thumb over the index nail.

This is a fully closed position and by locking your thumb over your fingers you create more pressure on your grip.

now this isthe most aggressiveof the three hand positions we're going to talk about. This means that while it offers the greatest strength and power, it is also the one with the highest risk of injury, so it should not be underestimated and used with caution.

Since this grip is very heavy on the joints, try to use the open hand or half-crimp position whenever possible. And sinceesThere is a risk of chronic finger injury, so this position should only be used when no other option is available.

When training with the fretboard in the gym, do not overdo the full crimp and take it easy. It's a grip best used on narrow edges where only your fingertips fit.

But the best crimped grips are the ones that are square cut with a small hole to stick your fingertips in and are often found on granite routes or limestone cliffs.

The crimping medium and when to use it

The half shaft is similar to the full shaft, but the thumb position is different.

To do this, you also bend the DIP joints of your four fingers inward and press your fingertips onto the grip, but your thumb is on the side of your hand and not on your index finger.

Now this grip also creates high blood pressure in the joints, but it is more comfortable and ergonomic. Without the additional pressure of the thumb, it is less stressful on the finger joints than the full grip, but also slightly weaker.

It is recommended to use the half crimp whenever possible as it also helps build hand and forearm strength on a variety of holds. It's a grip that works best on small, tight grips that don't require a super-aggressive technique like the full crimp grip.

Full crimp grip vs half crimp grip

Crimping while climbing: The climber's crimping technique (3)

The easiest way to tell the difference between these two grips is to look at the position of your thumb.

If your thumb isn't resting on top of your index finger but is pressing against its side, like you're trying to squeeze a piece of paper between your index finger and thumb, then you're doing a half twist, not a full twist.

Depending on the length of your thumb, your thumb may be below the tip of your index finger.

Manual crimping open and when to use it

This hand pose is a little more natural, with the DIP and PIP joints extended. This puts less strain on the tendons and joints of the fingers and poses a lower risk of injury.

And by using this position, you can improve your stability using either friction or hooks. For example, you can use your palm to create friction on an oblique grip, or use your fingers to adopt a "hook" position, forming an inverted J, to grip a jug.

Semi-crimped grip vs. open grip

Crimping while climbing: The climber's crimping technique (4)

Really, the main difference between these two hand positions is the flexion of the DIP joints. While they curve inward on the right in the half curl position, they curve outward on the left in a more natural, less intense position in the open hand.

Which scaling socket should I use?

Crimping while climbing: The climber's crimping technique (5)

The "best" curl or hand position depends on many different factors of your ride. how tired are you how is the basement how strong are your fingers

While the socket gives you plenty of strength to hold a hold, using a full socket all the time isn't always the best idea. It can lead to over-gripping, wasted energy, and even the risk of injury when you would have been fine with a half-curved or open hand!

Beginners tend to use curls too often because it makes them feel more confident, especially if they aren't quite comfortable with a sleek hold yet.

Crimp climbing injuries

Here are some details you should know:

Your fingers are made up of three bones connected by ligaments, which stabilizes them.

Tendons connect muscle to bone and transmit muscle force to the bone. And the tendons that connect your forearm muscles to your fingers allow you to flex and lock your fingers as you climb. These are called flexor tendons.

Scaling injuries to the fingers generally involve these tendons and connective tissues and ligaments.

Traumatic and chronic injuries

Overuse of the muscles and tendons of the hands and fingers can lead to injury over time. In this case these arenon-traumatic injuriesvonchronic overuseThey are most common in the fingers, hands, wrists, and elbows because these joints carry most of the climber's weight.

traumatic injuriesIt can go from a fall or a big move into a small curl with poor footwork and posture that your fingers just can't keep up with.

In order to recover from such injuries, it is important to rest the damaged body parts and slowly regain their flexibility as injured finger joints tend to become stiff when injured.

You should stop climbing until there is no residual pain. But first, see a doctor or physical therapist to properly assess the injury and help you regain your strength.

This will prevent you from being crushed

Agree, the best prevention of injury is good preparation for the climb, which means: a good warm-up, a static stretch at the end of the session, and good technique during the climb to reduce impact on the body. We have covered this in detail in another comprehensive article on heating and heatingstretch properly to climb.

Avoid overuse by not pushing your limits every time you raise, and use a less aggressive hand position when possible. The full crimping handle should only be used occasionally to reduce finger strain.

In addition, proper technique and avoidance of intense, dynamic movement will reduce the risk of traumatic injury while climbing by reducing excessive grip or impact loading on the fingers.

Of course, using tape and targeting finger strength training can also reduce your risk of injury by strengthening the muscles supporting your fingers or giving them some extra support with the tape.

How Crimp Oil helps scale

To help your fingers recover from wrinkles faster, you can give them a nice massage with crimping oil, which will help relax muscles and tendons and prevent injury.

This oil is specially designed for climbers and should be applied several times a day in case of pain, especially after a climbing session.

Original Crimpölis made from 100% essential oils and is intended for climbers recovering from hand and finger injuries. It helps relieve pain from aching tendons and joints and also prepares the skin on your fingers for the next crimping session.

crimped climbing training

How to improve your crimp: Work on building strength in your hands, arms, back, and core muscles.


As we've said before, crimping isn't just about fingers and hands, it's also about overall body position and footwork. So make sure you have a holistic training program that doesn't neglect anything.

but there isIs it like thissome more specific tips on how to improve your finger, hand and forearm strength to improve your pressing game. However, if you're brand new to rock climbing, climb as much as you can so you get the best results from the start.

Very important note!Avoid getting on the board too early and potentially putting unnecessary stress on the tendons and joints in your fingers.


Crimping while climbing: The climber's crimping technique (6)

You can find hanging boards, or fingerboards, on any climbing wall and they can be one of the easiest ways to do thisIncrease the strength of your fingers.

However, you should start small and with short intervals on the hangboard to give your hands time to get used to the new exercise. Make sure you are well warmed up before you start exercisingTuning fork, i.e. at least 30 minutes of bouldering or easy climbing beforehand, and gradually increase the intensity and difficulty of the routes.

So when you train on a hangboard, you usually start with a static position, the "dead hang", with different hand positions, such as. B. full crimp, half crimp and open hand.

For beginners, it is recommended to do 2-3 sessions per week and do 10 sets of five hangs in different grips with an open hand position. Only use full pinch on the smallest hold, but ideally only experienced climbers should adopt this position as it carries the highest risk of injury.

Remember to listen to your body and stop if you experience pain in your fingers or wrist while hangboarding.

Training with grip boosters

Another possibility is the use of additional devices such as grip boosters, which specifically help when training the hands and/or forearms.

These tools will improve your grip strength, which will help you with a variety of different climbing techniques and not just crimping. There are different grip trainers out there, from grip donuts to more advanced looking finger strengtheners, so experiment with what works best for you.

Crimping while climbing: The climber's crimping technique (7)Crimping while climbing: The climber's crimping technique (8)

PROHANDS Gripmaster hand trainer, finger trainer (hand grip enhancer), spring-loaded finger piston system, isolation and exercise for each finger

  • Plastic
  • Made in the USA
  • THE ORIGINAL SPRING HAND AND FINGER EXERCISE DEVICE: Prohands are used by professional athletes, world class musicians and as a rehabilitation device. Constructed from high quality ABS plastic components, stainless steel springs and approved santoprene.
  • POWER, POWER AND ENDURANCE FOR ATHLETES: Train each finger individually or the whole hand. Isolate and train each finger individually for strength, dexterity and endurance. Develop excellent hand, wrist and forearm strength.
  • REHABILITATION AND PREVENTION (STRONG AND HEALTHIER HANDS): Ideal for anyone wishing to develop and maintain strong and healthy hands. It can help with arthritis, carpal tunnel, neuropathy, and poor circulation.

For more information on these exercise machines, read a full article hereThe best gear to improve your grip!

questions and answers

Should I train full crimp on a fretboard?

  • Only experienced climbers should practice the full setting on a fretboard, as there is a high risk of overtaxing and injuring yourself as a beginner. If you choose to train on a fretboard, use a variety of different grips with an open hand position to improve grip strength.

Which is more dangerous: full crimp or half crimp?

  • A full crimp has a higher risk of causing hand and finger injuries. It's a very aggressive hand position that puts a lot of strain on the tendons and joints.

Why is it bad to make a full socket?

  • The extra pressure of your thumb pressing down on your index knuckle increases the stress on your DIP joints and can lead to overuse injuries or even traumatic injuries when performing a dynamic movement from a small pinched grip.

Can it scale without socketing?

  • It all depends on the route. When climbing cracks, there may not be any horizontal stops on your route. But no matter what route you're on, there are often different hand positions you can use, so you should always try to avoid a full outlet and only use them occasionally.

What to do if your finger hurts when crimping?

  • Crimping pain can be a sign that you are developing a chronic finger injury. Try to reduce the pressure on your fingers by adopting a different hand position, e.g. B. an open hand or a half crimp position.
  • Proper finger warm-up and more focus on posture and footwork can also help reduce finger stress and improve finger strength through targeted training and the use of taping.

Where do you apply pressure when socketing when scaling?

  • A lot of pressure is applied to the first finger joint, the DIP joint. This is because of the way your fingers flex and how you transfer all your power and weight into a really small area at your fingertips.

Is it dangerous to socket too hard when rock climbing?

  • Excessive gripping, poor technique, and constant use of full curls can lead to injury or even traumatic injury during a dynamic movement over time. This is because you are putting stress on the tendons and joints of the fingers or causing constant stress by over-gripping.

How can I get better at crimping?

To improve your curl, work on building strength in your hands, arms, back, and core muscles. You can do specific workouts with grip boosters or hanging boards.

Other reading

If you're looking to upgrade your home gym setup and achieve stronger hands, you might want to get yourself a fingerboard! Here's a recap of thosebest fretboardsout there to make it easier for you.

To strengthen arms, hands and fingers, load climbing is the best training! here are someClimbing Instructionsto answer all your questions.

Crimping while climbing: The climber's crimping technique (9)

Miriam Jefe

Hi, my name is Mirjam and I recently discovered climbing while backpacking in Colombia. Originally from Switzerland, I currently live in Venezuela and work as a freelance writer and translator. I've always loved being outdoors and in the mountains and I'm looking forward to exploring more of the world's best climbing routes in the years to come!
You can find me at @mirigoesround or

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Reed Wilderman

Last Updated: 04/08/2023

Views: 5393

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Reed Wilderman

Birthday: 1992-06-14

Address: 998 Estell Village, Lake Oscarberg, SD 48713-6877

Phone: +21813267449721

Job: Technology Engineer

Hobby: Swimming, Do it yourself, Beekeeping, Lapidary, Cosplaying, Hiking, Graffiti

Introduction: My name is Reed Wilderman, I am a faithful, bright, lucky, adventurous, lively, rich, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.