6 Common Indoor Climbing Holds & How to Use Them

Jul 12, 2019
Fitness Gym

Welcome to 309 Yoga, your ultimate resource for all things climbing. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the six most common indoor climbing holds and provide you with detailed information on how to effectively use them. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced climber looking to refine your skills, this guide is designed to help you navigate different types of holds and improve your climbing technique.

The Importance of Indoor Climbing Holds

Indoor climbing holds are crucial components of any climbing wall or gym. These artificial holds simulate various types of natural rock formations, allowing climbers to practice their skills in a controlled environment. Understanding these holds is essential for climbers of all levels, as it helps develop strength, balance, and technique.

1. Jug Holds

Jug holds are large, generously sized holds that are designed for climbers to place their entire hand inside. These can be found in various shapes, including rounded or incut. Jug holds provide excellent grip and are usually used for warm-up routes or on steeper sections of a climbing wall.

When using jug holds, it's essential to maintain a firm grip and distribute your weight evenly across the hold. This will help you conserve energy and move smoothly through the route. Beginners often find jug holds more comfortable to grasp, making them an excellent starting point for building climbing confidence.

2. Crimp Holds

Crimp holds are small, narrow holds that require climbers to grip using just the fingertips. They are characterized by a sharp edge or lip, making them more challenging to hold onto compared to jug holds. Crimp holds are commonly used on intermediate to advanced routes, demanding finger strength and precision.

When using crimp holds, it is crucial to maintain a controlled grip and avoid overloading your fingers to prevent injuries. Developing finger strength through targeted exercises can significantly enhance your performance on crimp holds and enable you to tackle more challenging routes.

3. Sloper Holds

Sloper holds have a rounded or slanted surface, making them smooth and less secure to grip. These holds require climbers to rely on friction and body positioning rather than relying solely on finger strength. Sloper holds are often used on more advanced routes and are excellent for developing technique and balance.

To effectively use sloper holds, focus on maintaining even pressure by distributing your weight across the entire hold. Engage your core muscles and adjust your body position to find the best balance. Developing forearm and hand strength can also improve your ability to hold onto sloper holds.

4. Pinch Holds

Pinch holds are wide, flat holds that require climbers to pinch them between their thumb and fingers. These holds often mimic pinching actions and can be found in various sizes and shapes. Pinch holds challenge climbers' grip strength and forearm muscles.

When using pinch holds, ensure that your thumb and fingers exert equal pressure on the hold, creating a secure grip. Practicing pinch exercises and incorporating specific training routines into your climbing regimen can help strengthen your pinch grip and improve your climbing performance.

5. Pocket Holds

Pocket holds are small, concave holds that climbers grip with their fingers. These holds vary in depth and can be found in different configurations, such as shallow pockets or mono pockets that allow for only one finger. Pocket holds are commonly encountered on technical routes and require finger strength and precision.

When using pocket holds, it's crucial to grip the hold firmly without overly straining your fingers. Avoid hyperextending your fingers and maintain proper hand positioning for optimal grip. Regular finger strength exercises and targeted finger training can help you develop the necessary grip strength for pocket holds.

6. Gaston Holds

Gaston holds, also known as sidepulls, require climbers to pull against the hold rather than pulling towards them. These holds often have an outward-facing surface and are commonly used on overhanging or traversing sections of a climbing wall. Gaston holds challenge climbers' upper body and core strength.

When using Gaston holds, focus on creating tension by pushing against the hold with your hand while using your other hand to stabilize your position. Engage your core muscles and utilize your body weight to counterbalance the outward force. Developing upper body and core strength through specific exercises will enhance your performance on Gaston holds.


In conclusion, understanding and effectively using the six most common indoor climbing holds is essential for climbers looking to improve their performance and tackle more challenging routes. At 309 Yoga, we are committed to providing you with comprehensive guides and resources to help you enhance your climbing skills. Remember to always prioritize safety and proper technique while enjoying the exhilarating sport of climbing.

Gail Rolli
It's fascinating to learn about the different muscle groups required for various climbing holds. The article truly broadened my understanding.
Oct 12, 2023
Julie Karp
Thanks for the detailed breakdown of different climbing holds! It's always good to refresh my knowledge.
Oct 9, 2023
Sharon Hudson
Thank you for breaking down the techniques for using each type of hold. It's given me a clearer roadmap for my climbing sessions.
Feb 27, 2023
Peter Feldmann
I'm always looking for ways to improve my climbing, and this article was full of useful insights and tips.
Dec 31, 2022
Kathy Donaldson
The descriptions of the pinches were spot on. It's nice to have a clear understanding of each hold type.
Nov 9, 2022
Gayle Hoffman
As a beginner, this article provided me with valuable insights on how to approach different climbing holds.
Oct 19, 2022
Blas Garfias
I could relate to the writer's experience and found the article to be relatable and encouraging.
Sep 26, 2022
Brad Bueermann
The explanations on how to generate more power with each hold were enlightening. Can't wait to try them out.
Sep 25, 2022
Joan Cantwell
The article really emphasized the importance of maintaining proper body positioning while using different climbing holds. Great reminders!
Mar 3, 2022
Cheryl Jarvis
I appreciate the tips on how to improve my footwork on slopers. Looking forward to trying them out next time I climb!
Nov 13, 2021
Katie Mountifield
The article reminded me of the importance of grip strength and how it differs across various hold types.
Oct 10, 2021
Ashley Parker
I always struggle with pockets, so the advice on finger position and movement was a game-changer for me.
Aug 1, 2021
Troy Landoch
Great article! I've always struggled with using crimps effectively, so this guide was really helpful.
Jun 19, 2021
Marja Schalks
I found the tips for using incut holds to be really practical and easy to implement. Feeling more confident already!
May 27, 2021
Karsten Beutnagel
The section on jugs was especially useful. I'll be focusing on incorporating them more into my training sessions.
Apr 8, 2021
Bhanuprasad Lakkala
I've always loved the challenge of using underclings, and the article's advice further piqued my interest.
Apr 3, 2021
Jeremy Hope
The article serves as a great reminder for me to focus on my breathing and not rush through movements on different holds.
Mar 22, 2021
Kathryn Pellman
The tips for improving endurance on slopers really resonated with me. Looking forward to building up my endurance.
Feb 20, 2021
Mark Kchout
The descriptions of the holds were thorough and really helped me visualize how to approach each type.
Feb 13, 2021
Mark Atwood
I never realized the importance of engaging my core while using crimps. Definitely going to work on that next time I climb.
Jan 15, 2021
Samantha Pyle
The article provided a well-structured breakdown of techniques for using different holds, making it easy to understand and follow.
Nov 3, 2020
Southern Landscaping
The article's tips on how to adapt when encountering different holds during a climb were extremely valuable.
Jul 21, 2020
Owen Ralph
This guide made me want to head right to the climbing gym and put all these tips into practice!
Jun 9, 2020
Mitsunaga Noriko
The visuals in the article were a big help in understanding proper body positioning for each type of hold.
Jun 6, 2020
Jessica Jerashen
The visuals and descriptions helped me understand the holds better. It's great to have a resource like this.
Feb 15, 2020
Anthony Tadal
I love how the article provides helpful advice for both beginners and experienced climbers. It's inclusive and informative.
Feb 6, 2020
Bridget Pedersen
I could use some work on my smear technique, and the article's detailed tips were exactly what I needed.
Nov 16, 2019