Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Three Gstring Mods to Add Versatility

This month I'll cover three ways that you can modify your Gstrings for added versatility:
  • Adding finger stops to vary grip depth
  • Marking cord to consistently set grips back to the same angle
  • Creating a dual texture surface to ease friction on finger joints

Finger Stops

One of our design decisions when creating the Gstrings was to only have one flat edge in order to keep the grips simple and maximize space for other grips types. This meant instead of having a myriad of different edge and pocket sizes like some hangboards, there is only one large flat edge. To get the same versatility as a hangboard requires you to vary the depth of fingers on the edge. Some training programs (such as Eva Lopez's) rely on precise edge depth increments to control difficulty and guage progress over time. By using a finger stop you can consistently set the finger depth location back to the same place or easily adjust it incrementally. 

To create a finger stop you'll need a small half-round dowel, a square dowel or a small strip of wood slightly longer than the width of the grips (6.5"). You'll also need two large strong rubber bands that can stretch at least 6.5" 
  1. Cut the length of the dowel slightly wider than the width of the grips (approximately 6.5").
  2. Use a fine line marking pen or pencil and mark the depth of the grip position you want to  train. Optionally, you may want to create multiple lines so that the finger stop can be incrementally moved over time (i.e. a series of lines spaced 1/8" apart).
  3. Place the dowel on the flat edge and loop the rubber band around one end. Pull the other end through the inside of the grip and loop it around the other end of the finger stop. 
  4. The finger stop can also be used on the back of the grip on the sloper surface to limit the amount of surface contact of the hand. We recently used this mod for a dead-hang contest for an AAC fund raiser at Seneca Rocks. Using the finger stop assured that each contestant had exactly the same amount of sloper surface to hang from.
  5. The finger stop can be removed when not in use or it can be stored out of the way in the back corner of the flat edge.

When using a finger stop it's important to be able to also set the grips back to the same precise angle each time (see below).

Cord marking 

When setting Gstrings to different grip positions or adjusting the difficulty of a grip position by slightly changing the angle, it is important to be able to consistently re-set the grips back to the same angle. This is discussed on the SICgrips website so I won't go into the details here.

One additional note: if you have Gstring PROs with black or multi-color cord, use a light colored nail polish or acrylic paint for visibility instead of a marker.

Dual Texture

When training on the flat edge, even though we've purposely designed the edge in an ergonomic manner with a skin friendly StikGrip surface, the friction of the curved edge can still wage war on your skin because of the high pressure on the inside of your finger joints. This is especially true if this is a grip position that you focusing on in your training and are doing many repetitions with added weight, as some training protocols call for.

In order to ease the friction on finger joints, score two lines through the StikGrip about 1/2" apart with a steel straight edge and utility knife. After scoring all the way through, peel it off to expose the smooth aluminum surface underneath. This effectively turns the Gstrings into a dual-texture grip: friction where it's needed and smooth where it's not. 

Hopefully these simple mods will help increase the versatility of your grips. Let me know if you have other mods that you've done that have increased their versatility so that I can pass them on, too.