Quick summary

Eva López IntHangs strength endurance fingerboard protocol

The Intermittent Dead Hangs protocols (IntHangs) were developed by Eva López for strength endurance fingerboard training. The idea behind this method is to mimic the activity-to-rest ratio characteristic for gripping and releasing handholds during climbing, particularly during the hardest sections of a route. Such training is thought to promote faster phosphocreatine resynthesis and enhance oxygenation during short rest periods, allowing to sustain high levels of isometric force for a longer time, which is a critical factor in lead climbing.

A low volume version of the classic Repeaters, designed to promote faster PCr resynthesis, enhance muscle oxygenation and trigger hypertrophy.

Eva López IntHangs strength endurance fingerboard protocols are quite similar to classic Hangboard Repeaters, but they are generally characterized by lower volume and longer hang and rest times. Repeaters are designed to replace a full climbing session and target multiple grip positions, which makes sense if you can’t make it to the gym or crag. IntHangs hangboard drills typically concentrate on the half crimp grip, although application to any grip position is possible. IntHangs strength endurance routines should constitute only a part of a training session and be combined with other activities. The protocol can be executed in two versions, the minimum edge with no added weight (IntHangs MED) and fixed edge with added weight (IntHangs MAW). Both methods trigger muscle hypertrophy because of the relatively long time under tension (TUT) and medium loads (60 – 80% of MVC) [1][2].

IntHangs MED strength endurance fingerboard routine details

  1. Choose an edge on which you can hang for roughly 30 seconds without added load.
    1. Typical edge depth: 8 – 22 mm.
  2. Hang for 7 – 10 seconds, rest for 3 – 30 seconds.
  3. Perform 4 – 5 hangs per set.
  4. Rest for 1 – 2  minutes between sets.
  5. Perform 3 – 5 sets.
To follow this protocol you will need a hangboard with progressively small edges, like the Progression and Transgression hangboards, developed by Eva López, or the adjustable Fingerschinder portable wooden hangboard [3][4]. Still, it should be reasonably easy to make your own board with different size wooden edges. The way I do it is that I insert 2 mm thick cardboard strips into the edge slots of my Zlagboard, as you can see in Figure 1 below [5].

IntHangs MAW strength endurance fingerboard routine details

  1. Choose an edge on which you want to train.
    1. Typical edge depth: 10 – 18 mm.
  2. For the chosen edge, determine the load allowing you to hang for roughly 30 seconds.
  3. Hang for 7 – 10 seconds, rest for 3 – 30 seconds.
  4. Perform 4 – 5 hangs per set.
  5. Rest for 1 – 2  minutes between sets.
  6. Perform 3 – 5 sets.

Figure 1: Cardboard strips in the edge slots of the Zlagboard, to adjust edge depth.

Table 1: Eva López ​IntHangs strength endurance fingerboard drill summary.

Hang test time [s]30
MVC-7 load60 - 80%
Sets3 - 5
Hangs/set4 - 5
Hang time [s]7 - 10
Rest betw. hangs [s]3 - 30
Rest betw. sets [min]1 - 2
TUT [s]84 - 250
Total time [min]4 - 22

IntHangs strength endurance fingerboard drill remarks

  • Always warm up properly before doing IntHangs strength endurance hangboard workouts.
    • Perform four to five 10-second sets, with a 5-second pause and decreasing edge depth or increasing load.
    • For the first warm-up set, the edge depth/load should allow you to hang for one minute.
      • In the case of the IntHangs MED protocol, this is roughly equivalent to an edge 5 – 10 mm deeper than the training edge from your previous session [6].
      • In the case of the IntHangs MAW protocol, this is roughly equivalent to 60% of your MVC.
  • For the first training session, the edge depth/load should be chosen in such a way so that you can hang for roughly 30 seconds.
  • 30-second tests are time-consuming and put a lot of strain on your fingers and shoulders.
    • For the MAW method, consider performing a 5 – 10-second MVC test and using 60 – 80%  of the determined maximum load.
    • For the MED method, consider using Table 2, to determine the initial edge depth.
  • You should aim to fail on the last repetition of the last set.
    • This may require adjusting the edge size/load after each set or even repetition, to control the intensity on the fly.
  • The hang time can be varied between 7 – 10 seconds.
    • Typical hang time: 10 seconds
  • The rest time between hangs can be varied between 3 – 30 seconds.
    • Typical rest time between hangs: 5 seconds.
  • The rest time between sets can be varied between 1 – 2 minutes.
    • Typical rest time between sets: 1 minute.
  • Each set corresponds to an average time required to climb through a crux section on a sport route.
  • The 5-second rest between hangs is in line with the observed minimum time of 3 – 5 seconds for oxygenation between isometric, high-intensity intermittent contractions.
  • The 1-minute rest between sets does not allow to fully recover maximum strength, which is targeted at working strength endurance.
  • The IntHangs MAW method is only recommended for advanced climbers with a lot of training experience.
  • The IntHangs strength endurance fingerboard protocols can be applied to any grip position, although the