Currently I have a Simond hangboard mounted above a doorway at home which I use only so often becuase it's quite narrow and this causes additional unneccessary stress on my shoulders when hanging with both hands.
Yesterday I discovered Dave MacLeods excellent follow-along hangboard exercise video and I would really like to commit to this routine long-term. Because apart from my extremely poor lower-body flexibility (I need to do some serious work on that at some point), the other major factor preventing me from breaking through my plateau is finger strength. I wouldn't say that it's totally weak at the moment. But I'm determined to get up some 7a's before the end of the year and sitting at a desk all day means some proper training is likely my best bet to acheive this.
I'm looking for a decent wood fingerboard which isn't too narrow (maybe over 55cm wide?), and that doesn't require the sale of an organ for me to afford it (say, sub £50?).
Any tips to help me in this quest would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Any hangboard with multiple edges (beastmakers / moonboard fingerboards / gripmonkeys) will be more than £50. IMO grip monkeys is the best because it is modular so you can set them up for your shoulder width.
Otherwise you just buy campus rungs. They come in various sizes so you should be able to find ones small / large enough for you, though you might have to buy multiple rungs
Lookup up lattice climbing and Yves Gravelle for more info, but basically deadlifting for improved finger strength is a more focused way of hangboarding. Work out your one rep max for 4, back 3, front 3 and then do pyramid sets of 50, 60, 70, 80 90%
I’ve got wide shoulders and ended up replacing my Beastmaker with a pair of Lattice triple twins which I could place wide enough apart for a more comfortable shoulder hanging position. It’s good that you’re not ignoring the discomfort. Continuing to train on something too narrow as you advance, start adding weight etc could be pretty bad for your shoulders. Good luck with your goals. Chris.
Thank you Morgan. I shall definitely check Yves and lattice out tomorrow. And the offcut board looks good too- that's a setup I hadn't considered.
For context, I have weight plates and was recently adding 7kg doing 3 sets of 12 pull ups on the big slopers on the Simond hangboard; the only points on that particular board wide enough for me to pull up on and not totally donald duck my shoulders otherwise I'd have used the jugs for this instead. The purpose was to build volume and obviously increase strength as well in upper body and back areas.
It was great but obviously wasn't focussed enough on the right areas for me to improve on smaller holds. I can pretty much pull my full bodyweight up all day on good holds no problems whatsoever. But the severity and frequency of small crimps on 6c's and up are a real obstacle for me at the moment, so thank you.
> I’ve got wide shoulders and ended up replacing my Beastmaker with a pair of Lattice triple twins which I could place wide enough apart for a more comfortable shoulder hanging position. It’s good that you’re not ignoring the discomfort. Continuing to train on something too narrow as you advance, start adding weight etc could be pretty bad for your shoulders.
> Good luck with your goals.
Thanks Chris, I'm really keen to avoid injury. I hurt my fingers a few years back overdoing it with a gripmaster. I also suffer from pretty bad tennis elbow.
Now's probably not the time to be doing volume sets of weighted pull-ups. Consider starting to integrate plenty of rehab/pre-hab antagonist training into your routine. There are lots of exercises you can be doing to help with the tennis elbow pain in particular. In my experience it won't go away on its own, it won't go away with rest, and continuing to thrash it with climbing training without the rehab and antagonist work will cause even greater problems.
Not trying to patronise, just to nudge you into considering 'the full picture' for a full and happy life
p.s. check out this recent podcast on elbow problems.
The downside of that Metolius board is the 'tiers' don't step in as they descend. That means your palms touch the tier below when you're on the upper 2 tiers. Better designs have the tiers stepping inwards from the top down, such as the Beastmakers or any similar board.
Thank you Chris, this will be my lunchtime listren today.
I had a daily routine for a while where I was resting my arm on a surface with my hand off the end, holding a very light weight- I think it was 0.5kg, and then gently lifted this up and back at the wrist. Slowly and gently. And this helped quite a lot and I was soon able to climb without having major elbow pain straight afterwards.
I'd like to say I'm being careful about this now but I'm not. I've been riding my luck with it for too long.
My shoulders are pretty wide (as in I don’t fit into normal clothing…) so use beastmaker campus rungs sawn in two then places where I want them. The nice thing about the BM rungs was one side has a nice curved radius (typically used for campus), flipped over it has a flatter profile for weighted hangs.
I like the idea of the deadlift finger training but with limited space I would need something else to train shoulders and arms.
For the campus rung, I have it mounted direct on to a regular door frame. Whilst standing on a box the top and back of the door frame had a big gap which I filled with an entire tube of no more nails. The rung is bomber just screwed in and I weigh 98kgs and have added a further 25kg in the past.
> Currently I have a Simond hangboard mounted above a doorway at home which I use only so often becuase it's quite narrow and this causes additional unneccessary stress on my shoulders when hanging with both hands.
Is it wood? If so take it down, saw it in half and put the two halves back up a little wider apart.
> For the campus rung, I have it mounted direct on to a regular door frame. Whilst standing on a box the top and back of the door frame had a big gap which I filled with an entire tube of no more nails. The rung is bomber just screwed in and I weigh 98kgs and have added a further 25kg in the past.
Holy smokes! That must be absolutely solid (and you as well!)
I weigh a fair bit less at the moment, just 66.5kg down from 77kg about a year ago (aparently 16% bodyfat now via high protein low calorie diet and consistent weight training program).
But now I want to work on climbing specific improvements- finger/grip strength need work, and hip flexibility needs a lot of work too- I look very 80's robotic on the wall at the moment.
New hangboard arrived and now mounted. It has a slim 38mm jug, a 23mm, and a 15mm.
The 23mm I should just about manage. But the 15mm is brutal so will take care if/when used.
Quick question. I'm following Dave MacLeods 30 minute beginner/intermediate routine. If my fingers, forearms etc don't suffer too much the following day, do you reckon I can go climbing hard the following day, do this hangboard again the day after, then climbing easy stuff the day after, and repeat this pattern? Taking Sunday off entirely as a full rest day?
For context I'm 44 years old. Quite fit (resting heart rate goes between 48-52), and climb 6b+ competently'ish (new word 😋).
My pinch strength needs real work as well - I'll begin working in that soon. And I've some flexibility issues but nothing too limiting - just means working a bit harder sometimes to reach, stretch etc, but improving for sure.
If you’re asking opinions from people online with no qualifications I’ll happily give you some: take it easy with the fingerboard to start with. Adding in a whole load of new intensity + volume is a good way of injuring yourself. I’d be aiming for quality of session to begin with and then you can add in volume later when your body is conditioned to it. I don’t know the Dave Mac programme but you will probably either be doing some max hang or repeater programme - if you did one of these on top of your usual climbing per week that’s probably a good place to start. In my experience you want to think of hang boarding as something that’s going to support and progress your climbing over the course of years, rather than going really hard for 6 weeks and getting tweaks/ injuries you then have to manage or rehabilitate. Fingerboards are great tools but you need to be sensible.
> Quick question. I'm following Dave MacLeods 30 minute beginner/intermediate routine. If my fingers, forearms etc don't suffer too much the following day, do you reckon I can go climbing hard the following day, do this hangboard again the day after, then climbing easy stuff the day after, and repeat this pattern? Taking Sunday off entirely as a full rest day?
> For context I'm 44 years old. Quite fit (resting heart rate goes between 48-52), and climb 6b+ competently'ish (new word 😋).
Sounds a bit much to me that...
I'm a similar age and fitness and have been fingerboarding regularly for a couple of years now. Generally I climb twice a week and fingerboard once and I find that a reasonable volume that allows me to still climb at my peak level, but also see improvements in finger strength, albeit non linear and incremental!
If I'm not doing any climbing at all for a bit (like lockdown!) I'll up the volume of the fingerboarding to day on day off, but that strictly when I'm not climbing at all and following a set training programme.
I'd echo what Wyre Forest said and suggest you start out at once a week and see how you get one from there. Don't get disheartened if you don't see much improvement in your climbing performance (you may actually get a little worse at first) immediately and just trust the process and stick with it. Long term you'll definitely see the benefits.
Thank you, Wyre. That all sounds fair and honest. Much appreciated 👍
Recently been climbing indoor every other day, mostly to my max. I was feeling a bit sore during the in-between days for a while but not anymore, so a beginner hangboard routine for the in-between may be possible, who knows. I'll take it easy, see how it feels, and take it from there.
I've read of people going almost all guns blazing- hangboarding and climbing pretty much every day. And also of people advising to always take a rest day.
For a bit more context- I eat healthy, no alcohol or smoke, sleep well, and recently I've been absolutely belting up this 30m 6b+ indoor climb, 3 times in one session- with 3 or 4 other hard climbs included in the same session. So I'd like to try push on a bit, very carefully.
If anyone has been in a similar position and introduced a similar routine for the in-between days, please let me know how it went for you.
And I will report back in a week or so for anyone interested 👌
You’ve just got to think when you are allowing your body time to rest for maximum effort and then allowing time to recover. If you’re climbing every day it’s not allowing time for adaptation. Hangboarding allows you to isolate and overload specific grip types or finger combinations in order to stimulate them to adapt - “get stronger”. If you aren’t going into this rested you are less likely to be able to pull hard enough to stimulate a response that will lead to super compensation. Equally, if you’re tired/ carrying micro tears from a previous session you can injure yourself. Climbing endurance based 6bs where you probably have decent feet is a different stimulus to hanging off a fingerboard, so just take it steady and incrementally! The book ‘Beastmaking’ is good and straightforward on this.
Thank you again Wyre, that's a very important point 🙂 I may try combining hangboard routine and climbing on the same day Or climb day - hangboard day - rest day - repeat (2-3 days rest each week instead of just 1)
Another totally unqualified opinion here - climbing max effort day on-day off sounds pretty full on to me with not much room for fingerboarding in-between. I'd try and make sure that you have at least two rest days between fingerboarding and climbing again, especially when you first start training. Sometimes less is more
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