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All you need to know for perfect RFD measurements with Tindeq Progressor!

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Contact strength (RFD) in rock climbing - Introduction

If you're a sport climber or boulderer, you know that finger and upper body strength are crucial for success in these disciplines 12. However, while often overlooked, finger Rate of Force Development (RFD), often termed contact strength, is another highly critical factor. Moreover, the higher your level, the more important it becomes since dynamic moves on small holds become more common as the grades rise 3.

RFD is the ability to generate force quickly, which is essential for explosive movements like dynos and deadpoints. In sport climbing and bouldering, where holds can be small and difficult to grip, RFD can make all the difference between sending or falling off.

In this article, I'll focus on ways and tools used to measure and evaluate and your finger RFD practically. I'll also explain how to decide when to focus on finger strength (MVC) and RFD training and when to introduce it into your training program.

The article features an instructional video, where I show step-by-step how to determine your RFD using the Tindeq Progressor accurately 4.

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Finger Rate of Force Development measurements for rock climbers - summary

The Rate of Force Development (RFD) or contact strength is, next to finger and upper limb strength, a critical parameter determining rock climbing performance, especially at high levels. However, not everyone needs to engage in contact strength training. For lead climbers and amateur boulderers, it's usually more important to work on their finger strength (MVC) 5.

To decide when to start contact strength or power training, you should measure your RFD using a dedicated tool, such as the Tindeq Progressor, or Exsurgo gStrength, and compare the result with your Peak Load measurement. Based on this calculation, you may decide between finger strength and contact strength training and properly plan your subsequent training cycles. RFD measurements and analysis are easy to perform on your own with the Tindeq Progressor. To do it, you can follow the step-by-step instructions I have provided in the video included in this article.

References

  1. Laffaye, G., Levernier, G., Collin, J.-M., 2015. Determinant factors in climbing ability: Influence of strength, anthropometry, and neuromuscular fatigue. Scand J Med Sci Sports. (link)[]
  2. Laffaye, G., Collin, J.-M., Levernier, G., Padulo, J., 2014. Upper-limb Power Test in Rock-climbing. Int J Sports Med. (link)[]
  3. Vereide, V., Andersen, V., Hermans, E., Kalland, J., Saeterbakken, A.H., Stien, N., 2022. Differences in Upper-Body Peak Force and Rate of Force Development in Male Intermediate, Advanced, and Elite Sport Climbers. Front. Sports Act. Living. (link)[]
  4. tindeq.com/product/progressor (link)[]
  5. J. Banaszczyk, StrengthClimbing – Dr. Tyler Nelson’s New Active Finger Strength Training Protocols, Mar. 23, 2023. (link)[]
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