/ Some Home Gym Ideas Please

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timparkin 14 Jun 2019

I'm a 50 year old and been climbing two years since moving to the Highlands. I've built a shed in the garden and plan on having half of it a mini-gym. I'll be climbing mostly trad in the area with my wife and wanted some space to do some home training. I've mocked up the space in which I've included a 30 degree wall (basically the size of a moonboard) and wanted to eventually add a little 'interest'. Can anybody suggest a couple of ideas. Should I just put up my own holds or build something like a tension board/moon board. Is there any point including any 'features' (like the box) or should I just make some volumes (the other side of the shed will be a woodwork workshop). 

The gym is training but I'd also like to set some fun problems too... 



ericinbristol 14 Jun 2019
In reply to timparkin:

What a stunning view you have! Wow

Some suggestions: 

* An actual Moonboard will be way too tough and not much fun considering the grade you currently climb. 

* A 30 degree panel sounds right

* You will regret it if you don't have a kick board (a vertical bit to start your feet on - see my garage wall here https://www.ukclimbing.com/user/profile.php?id=34082#&gid=1&pid=7 which has a 30 degree overhanging panel on the right and a 40 degree panel on the left plus side panels and a roof.

* Interest will mainly come from loads of different holds. This gets expensive but sometimes people on UKC sell holds and I get lots of old ones cheap from my local wall: well used ones are good because new ones knacker your skin quickly. Volumes are a nice option for additional interest but I haven;t felt the need so far

* I can't say I like the look of the tension board. I like setting my own problems with a much wider variety of holds

* The box looks like something you could just smack your head against. Again, considering the grade you climb you would probably be better off with something more like a 15 degree overhanging wall for circuits on the other side.

Post edited at 20:17
Jezz0r 14 Jun 2019
In reply to ericinbristol:

I second the bit about a kick board - I didn't include one in my initial design and it has been hard to retrofit.

For what it's worth, I've been climbing less time than OP and am climbing similar or slightly harder grades, and don't regret my 40 degree board, with mostly metolius "mini jugs" that I got cheap off eBay, and a few crimps.

OP: I am very jealous of your shed and its surroundings. Great project.

Greasy Prusiks 14 Jun 2019
In reply to timparkin:

I agree with Eric, to get the most out of a Moon board you need to be bouldering at least in the 7s.

I'd recommend replacing the roof with something like a 10 or 15 degree for doing endurance laps on. I've never found training on roofs that useful because I end up just pulling on big jugs. Being able to spend minutes at a time hanging on slopers and edges is perfect training for fiddling with trad gear in my opinion.

All that said if I had a plot like yours I'd just build a big window and a comfy armchair! 

timparkin 14 Jun 2019
In reply to ericinbristol:

Yes on the kickboard - just being lazy with the model!

And I was thinking the moonboard cost could buy a LOT of holds! If I build the panel the right size and hold spacing I could always upgrade later if I felt the urge. 

The overhang box was just the simplest thing  to add in the model and I fancied learning about getting past overhangs but there's a nice roof in the Ice factor can try this on. Keep things simple 15 degrees on the other side sounds like a good idea!

p.s. I should have added that I'm climbing about 6b/6c and V4 and my wife is climbing V2 6a/6b


ericinbristol 14 Jun 2019
In reply to timparkin:

On hold spacing you have a choice of regular or random T-nut placement. My preference is random but that;s purely personal. I don't regret it. You could have one side random and the other side regular. The key thing is to have absolutely loads of T nuts so that you can put the holds wherever. Sure you can use screw on holds but these tend to be small and are a faff to get on and off. 

Another tip is get loads of tiny screw on footholds and fix them to your wall at the least helpful orientation so that they are as bad as can be. This will really help your footwork, core strength and arm/finger strength.

I never wash my holds btw - slippy and hard to use is good training, and good on not wearing out the skin.

Have you actually been on a Moon board? I reckon if you had a go on one within minutes you would bin the idea - just too difficult and offputting for F6a-c climbers

ericinbristol 14 Jun 2019
In reply to Jezz0r:

Interesting. If I had to choose between my 40 panel and my 30, I would choose the 30. That would mean less climbing distance for the same vertical height but it is more specific to the kind of climbing I do.

ericinbristol 14 Jun 2019
In reply to timparkin:

Here's a really nice and helpful wee video by Dave MacLeod on how to optimise your home wall:


timparkin 14 Jun 2019
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

Armchair and windows already bought - here's a winter view


timparkin 14 Jun 2019
In reply to ericinbristol:

Just rewatched the DMcC video and it's convinced me to stick a 15 on the other side I think

ericinbristol 14 Jun 2019
In reply to timparkin:


ericinbristol 14 Jun 2019
In reply to timparkin:

You won't regret it. If I could extend my wall I would put a 15 on it. 

In reply to timparkin:

As with everyone about it needing a kickboard. My 30 degree board in the garage is here


it’s all wooden holds from Beastmaker, Session, and Hardwood Holds. I find I can do longer sessions and build more contact strength with wooden holds. I bought a mixed set to start, then just built it up over time.

I’ve a campus board in mind which could replace the box on the other side. I’ll put in another 8 foot by 12 foot board over the next winter which will prob be 45 degrees. I can’t see the pint of a 15 degree board at home. I’ve fitted a regular pattern of t-nuts, but all except a couple of holds are fixed with screws.

last thing, try and find some proper mats if you can. I’ve bought mine off eBay 300mm thick, really make a difference as does insulating the place well and good heating if you want to get the most use out of it.

ericinbristol 14 Jun 2019

Re matting, my setup is stepped like this

* about a 30 cm gap of concrete floor from the kickboard

* then about 90 cm of 14 cm deep foam rubber

* then 30 cm deep Beemat crash mats.

I have big rugs on top of the crash mats, partly overlapping onto the foam rubber. 

Post edited at 22:35
SDM 15 Jun 2019
In reply to timparkin:

I definitely wouldn't go for a moon board set up. The majority of the holds don't have a big enough radius which makes them very harsh on the skin. If you buy new ones, this will be even worse. You don't want any barriers to you actually training on the board. The wooden moon holdset is less bad on the skin but you will struggle to climb much with them and they will be far too hard for your wife. The reds are less harsh than the blacks and whites but very samey. The yellows aren't as bad on the skin; they are all very positive but quite small crimps which makes them feel a bit tweaky on the tendons. In addition to my board, I have access to another 4 boards, one of which is a moonboard. I rarely use the moonboard. It's good for building power in a very specific style but the drawbacks are too great and would be magnified if it was your main training facility.

Go wooden rather than resin. So much more friendly on the skin, much less conditions dependent and they are perfect straight out of the box unlike resin which will be rough on the skin to begin with no matter which holds you buy (unless you go second hand but how many people are looking to sell good holds?). My board is a mixture of wood and resin (shifting more and more towards wood) and the wooden holds get far more use.

Silly Goat, Hardwood holds, Beastmaker and others all do very nice wooden holds. If you talk to them, they can tailor the holds they make to the angle of your board and the grades you climb at.

My board is t-nutted but the majority of my holds are screwed on. If I hadn't bought a second hand board that already had t-nuts, I wouldn't have bothered putting them in myself.

Stuart S 15 Jun 2019
In reply to timparkin:

Just to offer a different perspective, I've got a fairly extensive home wall with a 30 deg board, a 45, a campus board and a 40 degree moonboard:




Of all the boards, I use the moonboard by far the most, and have no problem with skin issues on the resin holds (I have tried the wooden holds for the moonboard but found them hard to hold and I'd slip/ping off these very unpredictably, which maybe says more about my lack of finger strength than anything else, but is a point to consider).  These days, I'm mostly bouldering on the easier problems (6B+ to 7A).  I find my other boards a bit 'samey' after a while but there are always new problems to download and try on the moonboard, which is good for motivation (though I take the point that the style of problem on the moonboard can also be a bit 'samey').  Also worth remembering is that there's a 25 degree version of the moonboard so that lets you have a less intense version of all the problems.  It's not cheap to buy all the holds though!

I'd agree it's definitely worth having another angle of board on the opposite side of your shed, rather than the box roof.  Just make sure you leave enough of a gap at the top between the two boards that you still have space to climb without cracking the back of your head off the finishing jugs behind you!

Oh, and like others have said - very jealous of the view from your garden!

timparkin 26 Jun 2019

A big thank you to everyone who responded..

I'm building the space with a 30 degree and a 15 degree board opposite each other with the vertical board on the back wall kept just to be able to model any problems either in the gym or outside. 

I am going to make the 30 degree wall the same spec as a moonboard so that if I feel the need in the future I can upgrade it to one.

I'm budgeting mostly for matting to begin with and hopefully getting some cheaper holds from a friend and then making some (the other half of the shed is a woodwork workshop). 

Thanks all!!!

ericinbristol 26 Jun 2019
In reply to timparkin:

Thanks for the update. Please post pics! (Still jealous of your view....)

Yes making wooden holds is a good idea. Here's a Dave MacLeod vlog on making wooden holds  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3kQZPtgzTA

Also climbing walls tend to sell of old holds cheap. I like heavily used holds as they are easy on the skin. I never wash the holds on my wall. Make them tougher to use and more realistic

Dandan 26 Jun 2019
In reply to ericinbristol and timparkin:

As you say the other part of the building is a wood workshop so i'm sure I don't have to tell you, but please be a bit safer about making your own holds than Dave is in that link...! (I watched it a while back but I do recall wincing once or twice!)

ericinbristol 26 Jun 2019
In reply to Dandan:

good point

Don't want a repeat of Tommy Caldwell - though it turned out all right for him

timparkin 27 Jun 2019
In reply to Dandan:

> As you say the other part of the building is a wood workshop so i'm sure I don't have to tell you, but please be a bit safer about making your own holds than Dave is in that link...! (I watched it a while back but I do recall wincing once or twice!)

I notice Mr MacLeod has bought a batch of beastmaker holds now. I shall definitely be careful (I even learned to rope solo to work on the roof!). 

Here's an update of the view.. for ericinbristol


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