My training room has twelve different objects to grab onto and do a pull up (I just counted). I've got hangboards, HIT strips, rock rings, campus rungs in three sizes, different sized campus rungs I built, the ever-valuable 20mm edge...and on and on. All this stuff takes up a whole room. I looked around, and if I had to pick just one training tool to keep, it would probably be the bigger of the two hangboards. The hangboard has about 3 different grip positions of varying difficulty on pockets, edges, and slopers. The downside is that it weighs about 25 pounds and has to be permanently mounted.
It's hard to imagine an innovative product coming into the world of climbing training at this point. How many different things could I possibly grab onto and do a pull up? Craig Spaulding, owner of SICgrips, answered the question by creating one lightweight, mount-anywhere, product that offers an almost infinite number of grip positions.
Anatomy of the Gstring by SICgrips.
The beauty of Gstrings is in the simplicity of the design. From the Sicgrips website: The Gstring’s simple and elegant shape was inspired by the variable curve of the logarithmic spiral found in nature, mathematics, and cam lobes. This unique shape offers seven different grip positions: edge, jug, crimp, sloper, pinch, mantle, & undercling. Gstrings hang from an adjustable 3D-Sling, which provides four points of suspension. This creates stability and also allows easy adjustment around the vertical, horizontal and rotational axes to adjust the degree of difficulty, maximize comfort, and minimize the stress on joints and tendons often caused by rigid hangboards.
When I first picked up the device, it took me a while to grasp just how many grip positions were possible. I'd hold it one way and find a subtle sloper, then tilt it a bit for a heinous sloper. I spun it around and found a sick pinch and if I grabbed it with the other hand it was even tougher to grab. When you add in the subtle variations to each major grip position, the number goes from 7 to near infinity.
Medium sized crimp. Angling the Gstring forward or backward can take the size of the crimp from a first digit wrapper to a nasty sloping thing that Ondra couldn't hang.
OK, tons of grips. Check point one. Now let's mount these rigs. Fortunately, I already have some carabiners dangling from my ceiling so mounting them took about 4 seconds. But for those that don't, another benefit of Gstrings is that they can be mounted just about anywhere. They don't have to be mounted permanently like a hangboard so you won't lose your security deposit to your landlord. They would fit easily in the corner of a suitcase for those that travel, and can be hung from anything that'll hold your weight. A couple pieces of webbing and some carabiners would allow you to hang these things from a tree branch in Camp 4, a hotel gym's pull up bar, or a rafter in your garage. If you wanted, you could easily screw in some eye bolts over your door frame and hang them there, or build a removable framework to fit in your hallway. There are more ideas for both permanent mounting and temporary mounting on their website.
Gstrings hung from eye bolts over a doorframe.
I did a few dead hangs and pull ups on the jugs to warm up before I was ready to switch to a more difficult grip position. Standing on a chair and fiddling with the prusik knot above my head proved slightly troublesome. I found it best to just take them down, adjust them in hand, and rehang them; a 30 second process. The adjustment system is pretty genius. You simply loosen the prusik, hold onto it, and easily slide the 3D-sling to the desired position.
Just one variation of a pinch grip.
Overall, working out on Gstrings is a great experience. The grip tape is fine-grained and soft on the skin. The free-floating nature of the grips is easy on the joints and works stabilizer muscles as well as the big pull muscles. There are multiple ways to utilize the device beyond just pull ups as well. L-hangs, knee tucks, and toe points work the core while mantles (extremely difficult for me) work the push muscles. For the size, weight, diversity of grip positions, and flexibility of mounting, there isn't a better device on the market.
With the use of a pulley and a stuff sack, beginners can subtract body weight. Experts can add body weight to increase intensity.
There's a ton more information on their website including more info on the design, grip positions, mounting, and training. If you've read enough and just want to purchase a set for the discounted introductory offer of $59.95, click here.