Bouldering Or Lead Climbing Builds More Strength?

February 6, 2013

Bouldering is a rock climbing adventure where participants 'solve' short but challenging 'problems' on a large rock or cliff using just their hands and feet. Since they typically don't travel very far off the ground, there's no need for the ropes and harnesses used by lead climbers scaling mountain peaks. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared the finger strength of both types of climbers.

Ten boulder and 10 traditional mountain climbers in their mid-20s had their maximum voluntary contraction force measured along with rate of force development using crimp and open crimp hand positions. Force and rate of force development was 34% to 38% greater in the bouldering subjects. So if you're interested in an outdoor sport that can greatly improve grip strength, bouldering might be a good option. For another interesting approach to strength training, read today's Breaking News post at