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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

HRT Safety Handholds

As many of you know, I was sponsored by HRT Safety Handholds earlier this year. I’ve always liked and known their brand and I was exposed to them for the first time in 2003. When I won 16-17 boys at the 2003 Junior World Championships in Veliko-Tarnovo, Bulgaria, I was given a little prize pack of HRT holds. I brought them home and donated them to my training gym. The holds were special in the fact that the grip on them was different. Most holds use a sort of resin and mold that over time lose their texture. HRT had come up with a way to avoid this by changing the way their molds worked. [singlepic id=402 w=480 h=320 float=center]   I didn’t really care what any company said in marketing, it all came down to the test of time. Can we use the holds in a gym where hundreds of people touch the holds per day. After 1 year of using the holds, and numerous times through the dishwasher, I would feel the holds and they felt good as new! Fast forward another 8 years, and I am still supporting that company. They’ve come a long way in making holds and they now carry most of their sets in three different types. There is the standard holds I was just talking about as well as “solid polyurethane” (SP) and “compozit/polyurethane” (C/P). The SP holds are the most expensive and nearly impossible to break. The C/P is a mix of the two, so much less breakable, but not as expensive. [singlepic id=403 w=500 h=300 float=center]   As I’m training all the times in gyms, I thought it made sense to have a hold sponsor. They hooked me up with a bunch of sets which I’ll try to outline below. I got all 3 different types and although I haven’t had them very long, I can comment on their grip, shapes and usefulness in different sort of training. Because I wanted to get holds that were the most useful for my training, I aimed at getting holds that were “hard” to hold on to. I didn’t want to get any massive jugs and I tried to focus on my weaknesses. After looking through their very nice array of sets, I managed to settle on 5 different sets that I looked amazing. I was shipped 5 sets in 5 super amazing colours. The colours I picked were red, blue, fluoro green, fluoro yellow and fluoro pink. They can basically make any of the sets in any colour in case your gym sets by colour! I was amazed when I got my shipment, the holds were not only beautiful but the grip fresh out of the box is something to die for! [singlepic id=397 w=400 h=320 float=left] The first set, the “Fresco’s” are a bunch of pinches. I ordered the normal set, no SP. I find that I’m not as strong on pinches, especially small ones. What I mean to say is when the size of the pinch is smaller than say 2 inches. Anything bigger, I’m getting back into my comfort zone up until the pinch is too big for my hand and then we’re obviously leaving that nice comfort zone. I set a problem on a 30 degree overhanging wall and used this set to set a nice problem with big moves and heel hooks. The pinches are a super nice width out of the wall that you can set compression problems easily! [singlepic id=401 w=320 h=320 float=right] The second set, the “Takete” are very interesting shapes again of normal material. I picked this one especially for lead climbing competitions where sometimes you look at holds and they have a different feel that what you’d think from the ground. This set has everything in the sense that the bottom left handhold is nearly impossible to hold onto and the one in the top middle is very nice as you can get your fingers are every edge like it was a brick. I tried to put all these holds on my 40-60 move circuits although without larger feet on the really overhanging walls, they’re very hard to hang on to and requires good ab muscles. I’m lucky in the fact that I have a few of those, and the circuits I made were very good. [singlepic id=398 w=400 h=320 float=left] The third set was another normal material set named the “Pretty Ugly’s”. This was another set with lead climbing in mind because I had seen the holds so often in world cups and never been able to train on this specific ones. The cool part about this set is that they can always be used as feet. As you can see in the picture, the ridges make it more like an “outdoor” hold which also meant that you can pretty much grab any as a pinch by sliding your finger into one of the ridges. These ones were also a bit wider which made matching hands very friendly! I combined this with the last set on my resistance circuits and on the right angle, they were even great “resting positions”. [singlepic id=400 w=400 h=320 float=right] My fourth set was the mix between normal and polyurethane, the C/P mix. They were the “Surf Up” set. As the names suggests, they look almost like a set of waves. This set also has a “jug” in it as well as a nearly impossible sloper. I loved this set for creating boulder problems because if you rotate the hold 10 degrees, it goes from V4-V10. This was great for doing a boulder, they rotating the hold a bit and trying to do it again. [singlepic id=399 w=320 h=380 float=left] The last set I got was the prestigious Polyurethane. Again, I focused on pinches although on these, you can also work on crimping quite well. I ordered the “Smoothies”. I think they were my favourite set in the fact that they were so hard. The fact that they are small pinches on top of the fact that they slope away from your fingers slightly makes it very hard to hold onto… I used these in hard boulder problems and even a few slab workouts as well. To see the other sets, go check out their website here. They have more than a couple dozen sets and they’re always coming out with new ideas and shapes. Once you use the holds, you won’t be dissapointed. I love walking into gyms and immidiate recognize their shapes. They also make really cool volumes which are highlighted here. My favourite part about competitions are definately the volumbes because I find it changes the wall completely and sets a level playing field even against people that train in the gym. That’s all for now, but if you have any questions about the holds or how to get some, let me know as well!

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