No rock climber can deny that Canadian winters sometimes seem like they will never end. And while these frigid, planet Hoth-like conditions are a boon to tool-wielding ice climbers, anyone hoping to squeeze stone and unable to travel to warmer climes, will likely have to wait till the spring thaw – a seeming eternity away. Rather than resigning oneself to endless PS3 sessions and their atrophy-inducing upper body results, consider spending some time training indoors. Here are some of the top new indoor training tools for winter.
Backboard – $20
Mounting a hangboard above a door frame should be easy – just screw the board into the wall. Unfortunately, most hangboard mounting-holes do not line up with the wall’s studs, transforming this relatively simple installation into an exercise in advanced home construction. The Metolius Backboard elegantly solves this common problem by providing a secure mounting surface for any board. Simply screw the Backboard into the studs and then mount the hangboard onto the Backboard – it’s that easy. This should be an almost mandatory purchase for anyone buying a hangboard.
Blue Balls – $55-65
While the name may raise a few climbers’ eyebrows, Friction’s Blue Balls are a great training tool for anyone looking to improve their open-hand sloper strength. Friction employs a unique cord mounting-system allowing Blue Balls to hang free and swing. This set-up ensures climbers engage their core stabilizing muscles while grabbing the Balls. More experienced climbers will appreciate the large Homme size Balls while beginners will gravitate to the smaller Juvenile Blue Balls.
Compact Training Board -$70
This compact wooden training board is a great option for climbers without a lot of space. The board’s diminutive proportions allow for greater mounting opportunities while the skin-friendly texture and variety of hold shapes ensure complete muscle-strengthening workouts. Full-size gains from a small package.
Campus Rungs – $34-35
These were the first commercially available campus rungs in North America and continue to be the standard for most climbers. Originally made from the same material found in Metolius’s plastic climbing holds, construction was soon shifted to the currently used hard wood. Available in three sizes, these rungs feature perfect radii and a very skin friendly texture. Perfect for anyone looking to improve their contact strength.
Grill – $155
With the proliferation of minimalist hangboards, it’s nice to see a company building a full-size and full-featured board. The Grill provides multiple pockets, edges, a set of pinches and two massive slopers ensuring climbers can strengthen almost any grip position. Throw in a grippy but not aggressive texture and skin-saving radii and it’s clear that the Grill is one of the best available full-size training boards.
Power Rings $70
Ring training has become very popular with many climbers as it helps develop upper body and core strength – just look at any ring-trained gymnast. Seems that the folks at Friction realized the same thing and now offer their own Power Rings. Made from the same skin-friendly material used in Friction’s holds and sporting an easily-adjustable web mounting system, Power Rings are a great supplement to more traditional climbing exercises.
Tolerance Board $55
With its totally smooth texture and minimal hold size the Tolerance board is clearly targeted at intermediate or advanced climbers who are serious about getting strong. Pusher’s decision to omit texture from the holds makes sense as it allows climbers to train to muscular failure rather than stop when their skin is sore. The hold size and shape are similarly utilitarian, consisting of a two-handed jug, one flat full pad rail, one slightly incut three-quarter pad rail and two pad-and-a-half-deep pockets. While this hold selection may initially seem lacking, it’s pretty much all any experienced climber needs for training. Highly recommended.