Pinch Block Training Routine: 2 month program
By Riccardo Magni
Climber’s seeking to pull hard look to build finger strength and often use hangboards and campus rungs for training. Although these tools can be effective they are very demanding and injuries are common. If you haven't trained with Pinch Blocks you should definitely give them a shot as they are super effective for developing finger strength and are relatively safe. Driftless makes three size Pinch Blocks (2, 3 and 4 inch) as progressive training tools. Pinching Driftless Blocks are unique in that they work all five fingers equally and when used to pick up a load (suspended from block) the force is gradual and uniform.
When training be careful to warm up with easy climbing or use light weights with the blocks. Uae a notebook or spreadsheet to keep a training journal. Training is about progression and the blocks offer a great tool for systematic gains, but you must write out your workout to get the most out of a routine….you won’t just remember. When using the blocks lift with your non-dominant hand first (your weaker hand). This puts emphasis on balancing strength discrepancies between hands.
A repetition (rep) is a single lift with the block. Lifting the suspended weight off the ground to lockout (standing straight up with a straight arm) and replacing it is one repetition. A set is a group of consecutive repetitions.
Depending on your grip goals, time available, and other training, you can do this workout once or twice per week. If you choose two workouts a week space them by 2 days (ex: Monday and Thursday) to allow for sufficient recovery. I would also recommend using two different size blocks if training twice a week. For example use the 2” block on Monday and the 3" on Thursday.
Week 1: 5 sets of 3 repetitions with a fixed weight. Pick a weight that you can perform repetitions with control with both your right and left hands. Make sure the weight is sufficient to challenge you by the end of the 5th set.
Week 2: 5 sets of 2 repetitions with a fixed weight that is heavier than the weight used in week 1 (even if it is a small increase).
Week 3: 5 sets of 1 repetitions with a fixed weight that is heavier than the weight used in week 2 (even if it is a small increase).
Week 4: Take a maximum attempt! Again warm up and lift as much weight as you can in good form with both your left and right hands. Your dominant hand is usually slightly stronger.
Week 5: Work up to a max set of 5 repetitions.
Week 6: Work up to a max set of 3 repetitions.
Week 7: Work up to a max set of 2 repetitions. Try to beat Week 2, even if by only 1 pound.
Week 8: Take a maximum attempt!
Riccardo is the Secretary General at Armlifting USA and recently took 2nd place at the 2018 ViseGrip Viking Grip at the LA Fit Expo.
Riccardo also does a podcast called “This Week in Grip”. Check out his review on our pinch blocks at minute 39.