Lasts, holes, slopers and pliers. As different as the grips when climbing on rock and plastic, so different is the force required. Those who specifically train pincer force can gain an advantage in many situations. Christoph Völker shows you why pincer force is essential for climbing and how you can build up the necessary strength.

A guest contribution by Christoph Völker from target10a

Depending on climbing habits, the pinch power can vary greatly from climber to climber. And that with the same performance level. Indoor climbers and people who climb in areas with many sinter columns and pincer grips naturally have advantages here.

In the Frankenjura, with few pincer grips, the situation is therefore often like this: In winter, the Franconian climber builds up quite good pincer strength when bouldering on plastic, which he then slowly but surely loses again over the season outside. But if a route comes up that calls for pincer power in the crux, he'll have a hard time. At least that's what happened to me. Since most fingerboards do not have pliers, regular training on the training board does not change the weakness for pincer grips.

For me that was the reason to think about training and devices for forceps. This is best trained within a session on the training board or the system wall. The devices for this will now be presented here.

Balls for training the force of the tongs

Wooden balls were the first idea for this. Of course also in different sizes. After many years of experience, I find the diameters 90mm, 100mm and 120mm to be the most effective. For training with smaller pliers, I prefer thin pliers handles made of wood such as square wood or the Metolius Power Grips.

Metolius Power Grips

The Power Grips are a small and inexpensive device that is perfect for pincer strength training. Four different positions are also possible. However, you only train the smaller pincer grips. Therefore, the device alone is not sufficient.

Inclined level for equipping with various handles

A real luxury training device is an inclined plane with drive nuts for any kind of grip. Such an inclined plane is attached to the wall like a training board and what you think makes sense is screwed onto handles.


The pinch bar can be equipped with handles just like the inclined plane. The difference is that the handles hang horizontally to the floor. However, the bar can also be twisted a little. Simple handles made of square wood are also suitable for the pinch bar and the inclined plane.

These are drilled through with a 10,2mm or 10,5mm drill. If the screw head is also to be countersunk, an approx. 20 cm deep hole can be made with a 1mm Forstner bit. The square timbers should be slightly rounded at the edges, as the skin must be protected during training.

Pliers handles on cord and weight

A variant that is extremely easy to implement are pincer handles on weights. Homemade handles made of square wood of different thicknesses are also suitable for this purpose. But balls can also be used for this. Another advantage is that you don't have to lift off with your entire body weight, but can scale the weight as you like with weight plates.

system wall

A system wall is the XXL variant of the inclined plane. This also has the advantage that the weight on the handles can be reduced by kicking.

Training boards with pincer handles

Finally, there is also a pair of fingerboards with useful pinches. Unfortunately none made of wood at the moment.
Here is a list of training boards with pinches:

  • Iron palm
  • Crimp Reaper from So iLL
  • So iLL's Remedy Board
  • SlopeyMon from So iLL
  • Metolius Contact training board
  • Tripoint Mc Fat


You don't need all of these devices for a meaningful training of the forceps force. You have almost optimal conditions with wooden balls in sizes 90mm, 100mm and 120mm and the ingenious Power Grips from Metolius.

A little hint about motivation

For me, the increase in the force of the pliers meant that I converted strips and holes into pliers in difficult places: Even the smallest relief can be used for the thumb to get more pressure on the bad handles!

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Credits: Picture and text Christoph Völker von