Saturday, February 4, 2017

6GRIPS: The Simplest, Most Versatile Training Grips You've Never Seen


When I started up SICgrips one of my main observations was that most hangboards and training grips devoted an inordinate amount of space for edges/pockets/crimps. Whether a pocket, a 1-2 joint edge, or crimp, they are all basically the same grip/hand position. This is fine if you mainly do face climbs with edges, but it leaves out many other grip positions that most climbers encounter.  If one were to just use one edge that could serve multiple uses, then the grips could include other hand positions and would provide a more balanced and functional training tool. In addition if you are able to adjust them around all three axis (vertical, horizontal and rotational), you would have a super versatile set of training grips that are easy on the joints. This is one of the main design principles behind our Gstring PROs and Pocket Rock training grips.

6GRIPS offer the following grip positions:

  1. half-hand sloper (4.5" diameter)
  2. wide pinch 
  3. medium pinch
  4. large rounded jug
  5. flat or sloping edge (half-hand, 2nd joint, or first joint)/variable depth crimp
  6. variable difficulty round/sloper crimp
Grips can also be lowered and used for suspended push-ups or dips/press-ups.


While they are not as sexy as our Gstring PROs or Pocket Rocks, these grips are simple, versatile, cheap to make, compact, and lightweight (18 oz.), If all the materials are gathered ahead of time, they could be made in an afternoon and, depending upon materials that you may already have, they can be made for as little as $10. However, if you have to go out and buy everything, they'll cost considerably more, though you'll end up with materials to make at least two  or more sets because of the minimum quantity most hardware stores sell.

We have strayed somewhat from one of our guiding principles in our last two DYI projects: Continuum Board and gBar. However this current project is a return to our roots and offers the DIYer a very simple and versatile set of grips with minimal cost, time and number of tools.

Materials:


  • 1/2" x 6" x 4.5" piece of poplar plank for hardwood plywood
  • 6" piece of 4" dia. PVC (2' is usually the minimum quantity you can buy)
  • 3/4" half-round x 6" x 2 pieces hardwood (oak or poplar - hardware stores frequently sell this as trim and is sold in 8 foot lengths)
  • 5mm x 10' accessory cord
  • 2 sheets of 320 grit sheet sandpaper or a roll of 4.5" wide PDA (pressure sensitive adhesive) sandpaper
  • contact cement if not using PSA sandpaper
  • 24 - #4 1" wood screws
  • epoxy

Tools:

  • drill
  • hand saw (I used a Japanese pull saw but a table saw is even better if you have access to one)
  • screw driver

Assembly Notes:

The grips shown are 6" wide - you can modify the width to suite the size of your hands.

4.5" wide PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive 320 sandpaper is what I used. You could also use sheet sandpaper and contact cement. With sheet sandpaper, it could go the whole width of the grip, however the cord will rub on it and wear faster. Update: I've actually ended up removing the sandpaper. I like it better without. I've roughed up the wood and PVC with 80 grit sandpaper, then used a rosin bag along with chalk to increase friction. Very easy on skin!

4 wood screws were used to hold the PVC to the 1/2" wood. I used epoxy with rubber bands to hold in place and once it was set a bit (5 minutes) I drilled the holes and put the screws in. Make sure to counter sink the hole so that the screw heads will fit flush.

If cutting the 1/2" wood on a table saw, use a 5 deg. blade tilt to help match it to the inside diameter of the PVC pipe. Otherwise if you use a hand saw, slightly sand the edges to match the curve on the inside diameter of the PVC.

Three wood screws were used to hold the 1/2 round to the grip and they were put in at an angle. This was done so they didn't come through the 1/2" wood and to make sure the screw head were away from the primary surface where the fingers would be contacting it.

Round, the edge of the PVC on the side away from the crimp to a radius that feels comfortable to your fingers. For me this was somewhere around a 1/4"r to 5/16"r.

If using standard 5mm accessory cord to string it, drill 3/16" holes on the side of the grip for the knots. On the other side of the grip where the cord will slide through for adjustment, drill 1/4" or 5/16" holds so that the cord will fit through easier and will make moving grip positions easier.

   

Additional Notes:

  • Precise control over the width of the flat edge crimp is obtained by cutting two extra pieces of the 3/4" half-round, each 1/2" wider than the width of your grip to create an adjustable finger stop.  They can be adjusted setting to pencil lines at 1/8"intervals. Use a rubber band around the ends to hold in place and slide to the desired crimp depth. When not in use they can either be removed or stored out of the way on the inside of the grip.
  • optional girth or prusik loop for doorway use while traveling. See our Pocket Rocks page for more info.
  • For a way to easily reset the grips back to a previous position/angle, use marks or dental floss as shown here.
  • If you desire to have a bar instead of individual grips, you can create one 18" long grip. This means you'd only have to adjust the cords once instead of for each individual grip and it's also a bit simpler to make. However the disadvantage is that it will weight about 40% more and you will not be able to rotate the grips around the vertical axis for comfort. If you have elbow issues using individual grips will allow you to find a more comfortable angle and put less stress on your elbows.
  • To train a specific grip type, drill a hole and mount a T-nut in the center of each grip. This gives the option of mounting a small-medium size wall hold. It's easiest to add the T-nut before the PVC and wood are screwed together, though it can still be added after they are finished.
  • It's possible to make Simple Grips with the RipCord easy adjustment system of the Gstring PROs. However this will increase their cost; they will hang 3 inches lower; weigh 8 oz. more; and it will increase the complexity of making them. If interested, see this blog post for the basics of how to do this. 

Using

  • mount or hang the same has for our Pocket Rocks or Gstrings
  • Different sets of grip positions are accessed by either sliding cord to change the relative size of each loop, or by flipping cords to the other side of the grips (see the first photo at top of blog).
  • Reverse your hand hand positions (palms facing you) to train for underclings
These grips offer most everything a normal hangboard, hangbar, or commercial training grips offer.   About the only thing they don't cover are cracks which no commercial hangboard yet covers. We still hope to produce our prototype Crack Rack as a commercial product and our next two DYI projects (the SqueezeBox and GrooveTube) will offer crack training. Stay tuned.


Monday, January 30, 2017

gBar: A Do-It-Yourself Hang-Bar - Part 3

I'm finally getting around to finishing up the series on making the gBar. Hopefully if you've actually constructed one you've figured out a sling system to hang and be able to adjust it. However I'll finish out the series showing two methods for how I've done it. I'm sure there are other ways also. The sling loops needs to be adjustable and they need to be able to be flipped to the other side in order access all the grip positions that the bar is capable of. Note: both these methods are slightly different than the original photos posted.

The first slinging method is fairly simple but not quite as aesthetic and functionally not quite as good. In this method, you'll drill four holes through the bar as shown below. On one side the holes are 5/16" and on the other 3/16". The reason for this is to make the adjustment a bit easier on the side with the larger holes, while helping to secure the cord on the side with the knots so the cord doesn't slide around. The knots should be tied on the side with the smaller holes.




The second method, though a bit more complex, ends up being a bit nicer in appearance because there are no external knots and it's a bit easier to adjust because of the cord path. The 5/16" holes on one end are drilled as shown and consist of two holes drilled so that the cord path makes approximately a  45 deg. bend. The 3/16" holes are drilled on the other end. Then perpendicular to the cord path two countersunk 1/16" holes for 1" #6 wood screws. Instead of the knots securing the end, the ends are inserted into their respective holed and then secured with the wood screws giving a nice clean finish.




It's possible to use 6mm cord instead of 5mm but all holes will need to be increased slightly in size.

When using the gBar the different grip types are accessed by changing the relative size of the hang loops by sliding the cord though the bar on the side where it it free to slide. Also for some of the grip positions you'll need to flip the cords to the other side of the bar.

Here's a summary of the grips available on the gBar the position/angle the bar needs to be adjust to:


Any of the grip positions can be made harder or easier by adjusting the sling slightly to change the hang angle.

Update

The gBar can also be made with the RipCord quick release adjustment system used by the Gstring PROs. This would allow you to quickly adjust the angle of the bar/type of grip without having to remove the bar from its mount.

You will need 2 x 3 feet pieces of 5mm accessory cord. More if you want it to hang lower. Use the screw method for securing the ends of the cord as described above. For the rest of the instructions, follow steps #8-19 from our previous post on the Quick Release system. Thread both rings onto both cords together instead of crossing them as described.

The result should end up looking like this:


To access all the grips positions, for some you will need to flips the bottom cords around the ends while it is hanging.

Update #2

I am now experimenting with making them as follows. It includes all the grip positions of the original but makes the three-finger pockets into two-finger pockets (duos) and adds monos. The monos are drilled 1.5" deep and since it's positioned to take advantage of the 5/8" rounded crimper, it gives it a "comfort" edge and increase the depth slightly. The bar is now a full 18" wide compared to the shorter 15" bar above. Notice the slight change in position of the top cord holes to make it slightly more functional.


This same layout could be further modified by adding a one-arm mono and one-arm duo in the center of the board if you're strong enough to train train them. That's above my "pay grade" so I'll leave it to you beasts out there to add those.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

The next do-it-yourself project will be a set of grips that are super simple and cheap to make out of plywood and PVC pipe.