Two exercises to improve both finger and lock-off strength.
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Time:10-15 minutes
Equipment: Hangboard
Difficulty: Intermediate with beginner and advanced variations.

INTRODUCTION:  The ability to lock-off is crucial to every climber. Having ‘time’ to move your hand from one hold to the next is a critical piece to climbing a route or boulder problem. Being able to properly lock-off comes from strong and stable shoulders.  

These two exercises are creative ways to focus on engaging the shoulder stabilizer muscles that often get ignored during a standard climbing session. Ideally this would be done once or twice a week to supplement your climbing routine.


Abbey Steps 1-3

Steps 1, 2 and 3: Pull-up, hold your pull-up and move from the jugs to the pocket, one hand at a time without letting your feet touch the ground.


1. Choose a hangboard that has 4 different types of holds- sloper, crimp, jug and pocket.

2. Grab the largest holds and pull-up off the ground.

3. **Variation: If you cannot do more than 1 or 2 pull-ups at a time, you can perform this exercise by hanging straight arm on each hold instead of pulling up.

4. Without touching the floor, go “around the block” by moving one hand at a time to the crimps, to the slopers, and then to the pockets.

5. After returning back to the starting holds, lower yourself slowly.

6. Order doesn’t matter, but keep repeating.

7. Goal: See how many times you can go around the block! 
     1-2 minutes of activity with 1 minute of rest in between each go.

Abbey Steps 4-6

Steps 4, 5, and 6 – Still holding your pull-up position, move from the pockets out to the crimps, one hand at a time. Return both hands to the starting holds. Lower slowly and you’re done!


~ Make it easier: Use only 2 or 3 holds during the exercise. Prop your feet up on a chair or plyo box.

~ Increase difficulty:  Add more than 4 holds to the rotation.  Wear a weight vest or weighted backpack to make it harder.

 *Sourced in part from this website:



Hang from the hangboard, move your body to one side and make a pull-up with your weight shifted. Abbey is shifted to her left side.


1. Choose a large to medium sized hold.

2. Initiate a pull-up, but instead of pulling up with weight evenly distributed between your hands, shift weight to one side and pull-up on that side.

3. Hold lock-off and slowly shift weight to other arm.

4. Keep weight shifted and controlled to slowly lower down.

5. Repeat on other side. Use a wide grip.

6. Goal: 1 set = performing the typewriter for each arm.
Rest 1-2 minutes in between sets. Aim for 6 completed sets.

Type-writer 2

Still in the pull-up position, slowly shift from one side to the other. Abbey moves from her left shoulder to her right one. Lower back down slowly and you’re done!


~ Make it easier:  Add a chair or plyo box to put your feet on and take some weight off your arms.

~ Increase difficulty:  Choose a smaller starting hold! Add a weight vest or backpack to increase the load.

*Sourced in part from this article:

WOW with Abbey~ Abbey’s climbing journey began when she first moved to San Francisco from the East coast in 2007. Her passion for climbing and outdoor adventures soon took over her life and lead her to Planet Granite! After spending a year climbing and skiing all over North Lake Tahoe she returned to SF extra stoked to train hard, play on rock whenever possible, and share her love for climbing with the PG community. Biking and making music account for most of the other joys in her life.


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IMPORTANT: Climbing and climbing training, such as the exercises in the WOW, are inherently dangerous activities.  Participation in these exercises is done at your own risk.  If you have any injuries, we recommend you do not attempt a WOW.  If you have any concerns about your abilities or the exercises, consult a qualified medical practitioner or athletic trainer. Before using the fitness area, equipment, classes or any other training at Planet Granite, it is your responsibility to read and understand the posted gym rules and Safety Guidelines found here: