My whole climbing life I've been impressed by the ability of some immortal climbers to hang on an edge with one arm. It seemed like the ultimate strength test, even more surreal than all the campus board tricks. Let me take you on my personal dead hang journey which led me to train one-armed dead hangs with the help of the Fingerschinder Balance System. After years of just climbing, I started two armed hangboarding and worked my way up, adding more kg each month. The increase in finger strength was amazing, resulting in a boost of motivation and lots of climbed outdoor routes which I didn't even dare to try before.
Everyone who already checked prices for weights knows how expensive they are.
If there is a pandemic going on chances are high that they are even unavailable. At first, I used a backpack filled with books or water bottles - basically everything heavy I could find in the house - to make the dead hangs harder. When more weight was needed I filled bags with gravel and also collected scrap metal parts before I finally bought a couple of 2,5, 5, and 10kg weight plates. Every time I've reached even numbers like 20 or 30 kg, it felt like a great personal achievement. Sadly the more weight I've attached to the harness, the more uncomfortable it got. It was time to give one-arm dead hangs a serious try.
Designs making the most of basic physical principles like levers always fascinated me. I sometimes wonder how essential tools like pincers were invented and evolved over the last couple of hundred years. When designing the Fingerschinder my goal was to use lever laws to spare future climbers the necessity to search their houses for heavy stuff or to buy expensive weights. Also imagine you could continue your training not matter where you are? Since your whole body weight equals your training load on a normal hangboard the question arose:
What if you could just apply a specific fraction of it on one hand, resulting in the perfect stimulus?
By combining a center, rotating mounting point with a mono edge design you can steplessly de- or increase the load on one of the two lever arms. In this post, I would like to focus on how to increase the stimulus, if two-handed hangs simply are too easy to reach the required training intensity for you. Place one hand on the jug to the outmost left of the board. Use the other on the edge in your desired grip position. The closer it is positioned to the center, the higher percentage of your body weight it has to carry. Simply give it a try and see how far you can go, while holding the Fingerschinder level and performing a five-second dead hang. Once it starts to tilt towards the jug hand or you drop off earlier you've surpassed your limit.
You can use this principle to make quick strength assessments to determine the right load for your next training cycle without the need for expensive electronic gear, or endless amounts of extra weight and to train at the right intensity each session. Continue your training with the same intensity no matter where you are. It takes the guesswork out of your training and enables you to work with a systematic approach resulting in hopefully one-armed dead hangs on an edge!
How to use the balance system for one arm dead hangs:
Always warm-up (Especially fingers and shoulders)
Stop in case you feel any pain
Engage shoulders (Pull away from ears)
Use the center of the fingers/hand as a reference on the scale (See picture below)
Place the jug hand at 23 cm for chart calculations
Give yourself enough rest in between max efforts (At least 3 minutes)
Have fun :)
At this point, I would like to thank David Müller, Laura Marx & Martin Glasner who helped me to create this infographic showing the distribution of loads, depending on the hand position. Calculate the exact load when doing one arm dead hangs. Jug hand placed at 23 cm, edge hand moves in.
Looking forward to reading your feedback and results in the comments below.
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All the best,