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Weak index finger (Read 989 times)

Banana finger

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Weak index finger
February 25, 2020, 12:03:42 pm
Hi All,
         I've been trying to get my individual fingers stronger. After a bit of conditioning i can pretty much hang my body weight with every finger (with 2 hands obvs)....apart from my index fingers.
They seem massively weak...even compared to my pinky. I can just about hold body weight on pinkies (about 75kg) but with indexes it is about 35kg....Is this a reasonably normal thing in terms of finger difference?

Camo

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#1 Re: Weak index finger
February 25, 2020, 02:04:07 pm
Interesting as for me I find my index finger is my second strongest - with middle finger being the strongest and ring finger coming third.

I started training my ring fingers more by using two finger pockets on a beast maker along with my pinky and that helped a bit. 

If I compare myself to you I think your other 3 fingers are all stronger than mine but my index finger is stronger than yours...although I’m not sure why that is.

Hope that was useful in some way

 

tomtom

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#2 Re: Weak index finger
February 25, 2020, 02:39:43 pm
A colleague of mine once told me that biomechanically the ring finger should be the strongest.

I have no idea whether he's right or not!

shoon

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#3 Re: Weak index finger
February 25, 2020, 02:49:31 pm
I agree, discovered the same weakness, especially when trying to hang in strict 1/2 crimp with Index at 90 degrees. Been trying to work on some more strict F3 hangs as well as lifts to get them stronger but maybe a F2 hang or individual finger lifts will be more beneficial?

cheque

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#4 Re: Weak index finger
February 25, 2020, 02:54:11 pm
I've always assumed that the middle finger's potentially the strongest as it's in the, er, middle. Never measured the relative strengths of my fingers but I always feel like the middle ones are the strongest.

I had a bit of a YYFY recently as I realised that I can use my "back 3" pretty effectively if I have to now- never felt like I had any kind of pull without the index finger being involved before so I hope that's a sign of the middles and rings developing rather than the indexes atrophying.  ;)

jwi

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#5 Re: Weak index finger
February 25, 2020, 04:37:47 pm
My index fingers are also by far my weakest. At least when I test them on a fingerboard. I'm not at home so I don't have access to my files, but I believe that they are at least 10-20% weaker than my second weakest finger (pinky).

According to Bro-science this is fairly unusual.

In a paper by Köstermeyer and others (Notwendigkeit des einfingrigen Trainings der Fingerbeugemuskulatur...) there is a table of measurements of individual fingers for 8 climbers and 8 non-climbers. Again I don't have access to the paper, but I vaguely remember that on average the index was the weakest finger in both groups, but that the individual variance was fairly large. n=16 is just anecdotal anyway.

Bradders

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#6 Re: Weak index finger
February 25, 2020, 09:22:52 pm
Is this maybe a side effect of crimping a lot? As in,if you're always climbing with thumb on then that's effectively supporting the index finger and it therefore is weaker/under-developed?

Pure speculation. Can see it going the other way actually, I.e. having your thumb on puts more force through index making it stronger? I don't know.  :-\

andy popp

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#7 Re: Weak index finger
February 25, 2020, 09:43:26 pm
Won't this vary significantly according to morphology? My index fingers are significantly shorter than both my index and ring fingers. That is not the case in everyone. That has to effect the biomechanics? That said, I've never noticed any difference in the strength of individual fingers, even if that was back in the old days when it wouldn't even have occurred to me to look for these things.

Will Hunt

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#8 Re: Weak index finger
February 25, 2020, 10:29:20 pm
I have always been strongest on my index and middle fingers. The ring finger just feels relatively unstable. I'm convinced it's utterly useless and all the work is being done by front two. I've never understood these people who will put middle two into pockets and hold them open handed. Looks like a recipe for a pop to me.
People have quizzed me on why I use front two in funny little pockets like that and it's always just felt natural. Like, how could the ring finger be anywhere like as strong?

jwi

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#9 Re: Weak index finger
February 25, 2020, 11:01:27 pm
Is this maybe a side effect of crimping a lot? As in,if you're always climbing with thumb on then that's effectively supporting the index finger and it therefore is weaker/under-developed?

Pure speculation. Can see it going the other way actually, I.e. having your thumb on puts more force through index making it stronger? I don't know.  :-\

I have almost never crimped for 20+ years.

I should add that it is only in the drag position that my pinkies are strong.

I have quite long pinkies, and generally very thick fingers. It is not rare that my pinkies are the only fingers that enters into monos, so I use the mono pinky from time to time on routes.

tomtom

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#10 Re: Weak index finger
February 26, 2020, 08:52:18 am
I had a 15-20 min google on this today - and found a lot of anecdotal tales on forums - and a few papers that seemed to all tell a different story!

The SCIENCE seemed to look at changes in grip strenth when removing the input of a digit - and seeing whether there were any differences between dominant and non dominant hands. One study showed taking off your little finger gave a 30% reduction in grip strength - another paper didnt. The sample sizes were small ish (30-50 people - so 60-100 hands) and did not seem to show any sig differences between different fingers.

On anecdotal (forum) posts there was also quite a bit of variability - with some people having the strongest front two - and others the middle two. Go. Figure. (shrugs).

(note this was not by any means an exhaustive trawl..)

One thing that came out a couple of times and (bias claxon) resonated with me - was that I've really only had pulley damage on my ring finger - which others also commented on.

teestub

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#11 Re: Weak index finger
February 26, 2020, 09:04:23 am
I feel that the action of the little finger in actual climbing is about wrist positioning and stability as much as about the additional strength of another digit. I tested mine separately a while ago and they where pathetically weak but I’m a lot stronger on holds if I can get them on.

I think this also ties into why ring fingers get injured so much more frequently. 

sdm

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#12 Re: Weak index finger
February 26, 2020, 09:32:34 am
I have always been strongest on my index and middle fingers. The ring finger just feels relatively unstable. I'm convinced it's utterly useless and all the work is being done by front two. I've never understood these people who will put middle two into pockets and hold them open handed. Looks like a recipe for a pop to me.
People have quizzed me on why I use front two in funny little pockets like that and it's always just felt natural. Like, how could the ring finger be anywhere like as strong?

I find that people who favour crimping over open hands often prefer front two and people who favour open hands usually prefer middle two.

Quote
One thing that came out a couple of times and (bias claxon) resonated with me - was that I've really only had pulley damage on my ring finger - which others also commented on.

Again, I see crimpers (including myself) injuring their ring/middle fingers and open handers injuring index/middle fingers.

All of the above is anecdotal but the correlation is very strong among the people I climb with.

duncan

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#13 Re: Weak index finger
February 26, 2020, 10:35:28 am
My little finger is much weaker than any of the others. Middle is the strongest, ring next strongest but index is close to the ring and there is not much between my middle two and front two. Pattern is the same in right and left hands.

Almost always open-hand. I've injured middle and ring fingers (but elbow and shoulder tend to be my weak point and limit me more than fingers).

Relative finger length might make a difference?  My individual finger strength correlates strongly with length: my ring finger is only slightly longer than my index.

Will Hunt

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#14 Re: Weak index finger
February 26, 2020, 11:04:28 am
I also never open hand anything that I could crimp unless I'm on easy ground. I don't understand how people are getting power out of an open handed grip. It just doesn't make sense to me. Something that could be interesting is to look at relative finger lengths and whether that has any bearing on whether people prefer a particular grip. How do people properly open hand small crimps? Are they freaks whose front three are all the same length?!
Fortunately, I almost never have occasion to mono anything because I am not a sausage-fingered waddler like Dave Warbs, (for whom any pocket with a diameter less than a pint glass is a mono), but when I do happen upon a mono I invariably put my index finger in it and generally stack my middle finger on top of the index finger in some way (obviously depends on how deep the mono is).

tomtom

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#15 Re: Weak index finger
February 26, 2020, 11:13:36 am
It just doesn't make sense to me.

This seems to be a recurring theme Will :)

steveri

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#16 Re: Weak index finger
February 26, 2020, 11:17:48 am
I'm more like Will: crimp feels far stronger - try and avoid it when I can because I feel like I ought to. First and second fingers are the strong ones, ring less so. Little dinky pinky feels like a flapping useless thing in comparison.

Actually getting my finger strength tested Friday for a dissertation study - should be interesting seeing some actual numbers (still slots available for anyone NW).

jwi

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#17 Re: Weak index finger
February 26, 2020, 12:12:52 pm
My fingers are really short and stubby, and–compared to most–remarkably similar in length. When I have to pull myself in towards the rock I crimp if I must, but sometimes I fall because I forget and the crimp is such an unnatural hold to me. Sometimes I have had to ask the belayer to yell a cue to me on certain holds (crimp!).

abarro81

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#18 Re: Weak index finger
February 26, 2020, 12:24:25 pm
Index also the weakest for me. I once trained pinky a bunch (due to other injuries) and got to almost hanging off pinky monos (2 arms), but a similar approach on index got me nowhere. The weird thing was that middle, ring and pinky monos I feel like the risk is blowing the whole tendon (i.e. I feel strain down the forearm), whereas with index it almost didn't feel connected in the same way - the risk felt in my joints.

RE pockets: most good pocket climbers will be good on mid and front 2, since some holds favour mid2 and others front2 depending on which bit of the pocket is deep, angle, how dynamic you are (I find it easier to stab into pockets F2 than M2) etc. For me F2 is generally more tweaky and injury prone. I use to crimp, but barely do anymore, but that's a function of having so much time away from crimping due to injuries. Back when I did crimp I still favoured M2 as my default grip on most pockets.


Banana finger

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#19 Re: Weak index finger
February 26, 2020, 03:03:07 pm
Is it just an anatomical thing...just looking at the profundus, non-index seems to connect in a big chunk but index seems to be a slither down the side....

https://doctorlib.info/medical/anatomy/anatomy.files/image518.jpg

I could be being stupid so I apologise if i am!

 

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