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Bit of background - my training goals are ultimately geared towards climbing and max strength. Endurance and Hypertrophy are things I'm not interested in.

Right now like most climbers, I train using a hangboard where I isometrically hang from small edges for short periods of time. I increase intensity by using smaller edges or adding more weight.

I thought that working each finger in isolation would probably be an effective way to squeeze the most strength from each finger but when I looked at the anatomy of the finger flexors, the (2) main muscles that flex the fingers attach to all 4 fingers (I previously thought each finger had its own muscle).

I think my idea/goal here is clear now. So the question really is what are the advantages/disadvantages to training fingers individually? Do you think there would be a benefit training them individually vs collectively?

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I think first you should really focus on "your strength" point. Are you more confident in collective or individual fingers gives you more freedom? Based on that your regime should be followed. I am personally in favor of Collective fingers, because it grips me right and helps me in the pull ! But really you should do, what suits you best ! There's no hard and fast rules .

Check this Training video, I guess it will help in making up your mind.

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I am only repeating what appears to me to be kind of a consensus of articles and videos on the internet (see the research and blog of Eva Lopez for example):

  • Most people claim that 4 finger half crimp has the most carry-over to other grip types and to actual climbing
  • To also train open-handed grip most people suggest the three-finger drag
  • Benefit of using 4 or at least 3 fingers: Less injury prone for example because of redundancy between fingers. This fits my personal experience.
  • Benefit of using 2 finger or mono grips explicitly (instead of indirectly by using weight/smaller holds in the other grips) in training: Training of motor skills and confidence in these grip types. This might be relevant if you climb on pocketed rock types where you are forced to hold tweaky finger pockets frequently and therefore have to get used to them in a controlled way.

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