Baoding Balls and Rock Climbing?
Baoding Balls, also known by the names of Chinese Exercise Balls, Chinese Therapy Balls, Chinese Stress Balls, and a few other names, have been present in time since the 1400 during the Ming Dynasty in China. Has anyone ever thought to use them for rock climbing though? I myself have always been interested in martial arts because my dad use to be involved in the sport, and he had some of the Baoding Balls that he would use them for time to time. I never really questioned them for their benefits until I was looking up ways to strengthen grip and they popped up which made me think of my pops (dad) using them. I know that his grip strength was really strong so decided to check them out for myself and attempt to apply them to my rock climbing training.
My roommate happened to have some that he bought a thrift shop so I lucked out on having to buy a pair for myself (I plan too though). Upon using the balls, (I had not touched a pair of Baoding balls since last using my dad’s) I noticed that I didn’t get my muscle fatigue in my forearm nor did my hand cramp, it was actually the opposite. My hands felt a little relieved from the over use on the bouldering walls. I put two and two together then and (got four *hehe) realized why they are called Therapy Balls.
In this site http://www.baodingballs.com/ the history is discussed a little more in depth as well as how they are perceived to hit acupuncture points in the hand. I myself am not too familiar with the acupuncture points but will say that the tendons in my hand did feel relieved.
With all that relief the balls are worth the price which ranges from $3.00 (Chinese Stainless Steel Plain Chi Balls, Hand Massage Balls, Hand Massaging Balls, Cloisonne Balls, Baoding Balls 2″ Balls to more than $25.00. Pricing all depends on what type you get though. Baoding balls are not all the same they come in different sizes, colors, and materials. For beginners I would suggest reading this link to begin just because if you get ones made of stone or a coat and drop them they might break. I dropped my friends and chipped it, but glued it back on “he will never know, unless you guys tell him or he reads this article”. http://www.baodingballs.com/how_to_select_baoding_balls.html which goes over picking the right size of ball. As far as picking a material I would suggest going with the chrome/steel balls.I do plan on getting some made out of stone once I know I have mastered the ones I have of course.
As far as how I use mine I carry them around with me when I am at the gym and also use them at home while hanging out. They are very easy to carry around with their relatively small size (mine are 45mm check out the link from earlier to pick a size right for you). I use mine as a warm up, in between climbs, and after. They are something I carry along with my chalk bag. The reason being is because I feel that they lubricate my fingers and take away some of that fatigue they feel in my hands from all the holds. For a description on how to use the balls check out this link which blew my mind with the complexity in the fourth, fifth, and sixth video http://www.baodingballs.com/baoding_ball_techniques.html.
I would definitely recommend getting your own set of Baoding balls. Even if you use them once or twice they make for some cool art pieces (I suggest using them though). They are cheap if you get the right ones, portable, they look cool, feel cool, and can really help rock climbing hands heal faster (they also help with dexterity so if you play an instrument they are helpful as well “I plan on learning to play the guitar”) not to mention they are fairly entertaining.
Check out the YouTube video I made for a review on them.