One of the greatest training-for-climbing hits is Hypergravity Isolation Training (aka H.I.T.), an advanced protocol for training maximum grip strength. Not to be confused with the “HIT” program performed by body builders, this highly specific grip training method involves climbing with weight added to your body (simulates “hypergravity”) and on identical finger holds (grip isolation).
It’s now been almost a decade since I developed this training protocol, and I have yet to find a max grip strength training technique that even comes close to rivaling the effectiveness of H.I.T. Thousands of climbers across the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America now use H.I.T. as a cornerstone of their training program. In this article I’ll introduce you to the basics of H.I.T. as well as tell you a bit about the NICROS H.I.T. Strip™ system.
The Key to the Effectiveness of H.I.T.
H.I.T. meets the four fundamental requisites for training maximum grip strength for climbing: 1. high intensity for the duration of the exercise, 2. produce muscular failure in less than 30 seconds, 3. work the body in a ways specific to climbing (movement), and 4. isolate a specific grip position until failure. While the other finger training exercises meet one, two or three of these requirements, only H.I.T. meets all four.
In the above photo you see me training on 3rd generation H.I.T. Strips™, a unique platform I develop for optimal H.I.T. workouts. Notice the two 10-pound weight belts around my waist, as well as key factor that both hands are in the crimp grip position. The H.I.T. Strips provide identical crimp grip edges that I can “ladder” up and down on until failure.
PHOTO: EH training the two-finger pocket 2nd team with 20 lb weight belt.
I add (or decrease) the weight to produce failure of the crimp grip in 20 total hand movements or less. Wall angle is critical–I suggest 50-degrees past vertical, although you can use angles between 45 and 55 degrees past vert. Feet simply step on resident holds on the wall and your body can turn as it would while climbing steep rock. Obviously this is VERY sport specific, and it targets–actually hammers!–specific grip positions in a way they never get worked in regular wall training. For intermediate and advanced climbers, there is simply no better way to train grip strength.
I should point out that you can perform H.I.T. Workouts without the specially designed H.I.T. Strips™, if you arrange 10 identical crimp holds, 10 identical two-finger pocket holds, 10 identical pinch holds, and 5 identical rounded buckets. Of course, purchasing these holds may cost a lot more than the H.I.T. Strips™ which feature all these key grip positions you need to train. Furthermore, I find the obvious nature of the H.I.T. Strips™ makes the laddering more straight forward and discourages you from cheating by grabbing other holds on the wall.
By grabbing just the strips, you are guaranteed to stay with a specific grip position to failure–vital for stimulating the neuromuscular system to new levels of strength. You can also learn much more about H.I.T. (wall set-up, training overview, FAQ, and more) by following the links below.