/ System board at home: thoughts/recommendations

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3Jas on 04 Mar 2018

Hi all,

Following some renovations on my flat I've worked out I will have space for a very small system board -- probably around 120cm wide and 220cm high (roughly 4ft x 7ft). I'm working on a design for a hinge-out board to give options around 20deg.

This should be big enough for one-move problems and rhythm intervals: not much but better than just a hangboard (which I have as well), but a useful training aid.

Any advice would be welcome! I have three questions:

  • First, has anyone done something like this? In particular, have you got a hinging board to work?
  • Second, any recommendations for holds? The Bleustone training range (link below) look like a good bet, but system tiles might be a better option.
  • Third, can anyone recommend a big edge hold I can use in a pair to simulate a hand crack?

Thanks in advance!


John Kettle - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to 3Jas:

I have an 8x8ft symmetric board, (used at 35 and 20 degrees) and can confirm the Bleaustone training range are good, and also the huge Core symmetrics range. Beyond those I've purchased sets of identical wood holds from Crusher holds and Hardwood holds. The only hard thing to source seems to be good small pockets, the Bleaustone 30 degree ones are basically too positive/juggy for 35 degrees and under. My board hinges on 10mm rawl bolts at the top of a fixed kickboard, but once it's got approx 70+ holds on is so bloody heavy I don't both adjusting it, just reset to suit the angle once a year.

For feet the Tension small domes are good, the Crusher 10mm dinks wrecked my shoes as they're too square-edged. PM me if you want mine!

Definitely better than a hangboard, a great way to get core tension dialled in if you used the smallest feet you can find.

thebigfriendlymoose - on 04 Mar 2018
In reply to 3Jas:

I have a similar sized board - 140ish cm wide, 40 degree, 260 cm high (actual board length around 3 m) -symmetric but not systems (there are a couple of photos accessible from my profile).  In my experience, even such a small board is well worth having - if you cover it with enough holds, narrowness is not a barrier to years of varied fun.

I might recommend steeper than 20 degrees though, otherwise, as you progress, you risk having to use horribly small and skin-unfriendly holds to make sufficiently hard problems.  A less steep board with small holds is admittedly good training for fingery wall climbing, but fingerstrength is perhaps best built with a fingerboard instead. 

To my mind, a woodie is best used to build power and core strength.  As a limestone sport climber 30-40 degree is my personal sweet-spot range for working fingers, power and core (if I bouldered more, I reckon 40-50 degree would be better). 

Also, for resin, I second the recommendation for Bleaustone training stone holds - regular with decent texture.  The Malcolm Smith Trainingstone holds are also good.  But, my preference is for wooden holds.  They can feel a bit slick and prone to "dry firing" but are far less abrasive than resin - you can have mutiple, successive sessions without problems.  +1 to Mr Kettle's recommendations of Hardwood Holds (aka LX Holds) and Crusher.

stp - on 22 Mar 2018
In reply to thebigfriendlymoose:

> I have a similar sized board - 140ish cm wide, 40 degree, 260 cm high (actual board length around 3 m) -symmetric but not systems

I thought a systems board was simply a symmetrical board. What's the difference?

thebigfriendlymoose - on 22 Mar 2018
In reply to stp:

For some reason I thought systems boards had orderly, evenly spaced, rows of identical holds for doing very "systematic" training - so you can incremenatlly alter the difficulty of particular moves on a specific hold type (almost like the woodie equivalent of campus boarding). 

A quick Google has found the term being applied to any symmetrical board - even those where, within each half, the holds are pretty randomly arranged.  So looks, like you are right - my woodie is a systems board.   Not sure if the usage of the term has drifted from a more rigorous original definition, or if I have always been completely wrong!

3Jas on 14 Apr 2018

Thanks John and Moose for comments -- very helpful and will report back when it's done!

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