The Farmers Walk
This exercise is named for its similarity to a farmer carrying two heavy buckets in each hand, similar to how they would carry buckets of milk or slop on the farm. As a finger strength exercise, all you do is hold a heavy dumbbell in each hand. Walk with your arms at your sides carrying the dumbbells for about 100 feet. Then set the weights down and allow your grip to rest for a few seconds. Repeat this exercise as many times as you comfortably can, starting low and working up to a greater number.
It is also important for rock climbers to have a strong pinch grip. Doing simple pinch grip exercises will help increase overall finger strength. A simple device can be constructed at home using weights that are probably already a part of your workout routine. For this exercise, a 4″x4″ wood block is used. An eye bolt or hook is secured to the wood block and then weights are hung from the block. Attach a weight that you can hold by gripping the wood block in your fingers for 15-60 seconds at a time. You can do this exercise as a static grip or you can walk with the weights similar to the Farmers Walk exercise. To increase the strength building benefits you can also lift the weight up and down as you grip the blocks. Be certain to let your fingers relax between reps.
Although not a finger strength exercise that uses weights, this little exercise is a quick and easy one to perform anytime you want to give your fingers a little extra workout. All you need is a heavy elastic band like the ones found around produce like broccoli or asparagus. Place the band around your fingers and thumb and then work to slowly open and close your hands. Many climbers compare this exercise to a common one called sand resistance where you place your hand into a bucket of sand and spread your fingers out creating resistance against the sand. The rubber band applies that same basic principle and is a super quick finger strength exercise.
Finger weights are small weights that actually slip over your fingers and improve finger strength as you bend the finger. Traditionally used by musicians like piano and guitar players, finger weights help to increase finger strength, dexterity and endurance. A good way for climbers to use finger weight is to slip them on so they are just supported by the tips of the fingers. Then all you do is curl the weight into your hand and hold for three to five seconds and release. These weights can increase finger strength simply by being worn while you go about everyday activities as well, but doing these curls isolates the extensor and flexor muscles of the hands.