Chalked, slight scowl, maybe the new King Gizzard album. Something exciting to get you off your feet. The shoes are off, you have been preparing for this session for the past two days. Your fingers are ready. Stopwatch out, you pull onto the large edge. It’s so glassy and gross. I mean, you did buy this board from your old gym when they were updating the facility, but still, a decade of team kids has worn this puppy down. Maybe it’s time for a little less grime.
From boards that connect to apps to boards that exist only to fill a niche, there are many directions to go and each offers a slightly different product. There are a million-and-one hangboards on the market, but here are the three that you should look at regardless of your strength level. If you are strong enough to hang on a board then you are strong enough to fall in love with any of these three.
The Tension Grindstone Pro:
Tension has been a staple in the climbing community for the past few years, and it is hardly a mystery why. Tension’s designs are ergonomically shaped and designed with the climber’s hand in mind for both comfort and performance. The Grindstone Pro is a more advanced version of the popular Tension Grindstone hangboard. Featuring an assortment of edges, ranging from 35mm to the heinous 7mm, the Grindstone Pro is perhaps the best hangboard for the individual that wants to grow with their board without the worry of replacing it.
It is a board that exists exclusively for the purpose of strength building, offering pockets as well as monos for the more advanced climber. The wood is easy on the skin, but sharp enough to roughen tips, an essential factor for building skin. This board also offers jugs, making for a comfortable pull-up bar in case a hangboard is all there is room for in your home gym set up. The 10mm edge is also rounded down for comfort as well as increased difficulty.
The Beastmaker 2000:
Like Tension, Beastmaker is another training-board staple. Setting aside the fact that it is called the Beastmaker, perhaps the most entertaining of all hangboard names available, the 2000 offers a unique platform that elite climbers have come to appreciate. Offering some of the best slopers in the business as well as the international standard in one arm hang holds, the Beastmaker is an irreplaceable benchmark.
Derived from the older Beastmaker 1000, the 2000 loses the jugs in lieu of thick grips at the top of the board, while offering smaller, 13-14 millimeter grips down low. Made out of a comfortable hardwood, the 2000 is perhaps the best hangboard on the market for people with sore skin. The edges are rounded for ease of use, but the board is limited by its lack of truly small holds. For one-arm-hang strength, this is the ideal board.
The Transgression Board:
There is a special place in hell with this board’s name imprinted upon the door. Born from the mind of hangboard master Eva Lopez, the Transgression is the culmination of everything required to climb hard outside. The grips are sharp. Your skin will tear on this polyurethane-poured, brutalist’s intepretation of a training tool, but do not worry. This is the point. The Transgression board builds skin unlike any other hangboard on the market. If you want to train to hold razorblades, this is for you.
If you want to climb hard inside, this board can be useful, but probably not as useful as the Grindstone or Beastmaker. Featuring a “jug” top rail, and layers of rails counting from 18mm to 6mm, this board is for those looking to push their finger strength to the absolute limit. Each rail is slightly in-cut for ease of use and dermal exfoliation. For those not looking to hop on the 6mm edges of the world, the Transgression’s little brother, the Progression board, might be more favourably received. Despite the brutality of this board, it is a legendary piece of equipment for the specialized climber.
These are three of the best hangboards on the market. There are many other hangboards that also produce results, and ultimately any horizontal edge will do, but none will offer the same capacity for strength gains as these.
For those with specific goals in mind, or those not looking to drop more than a hundred bucks on a hangboard, Digit Climbing makes inexpensive screw on plats that are quickly becoming a staple of Canadian climbing gyms and are an easy home installation.
Hangboarding is an effective means to an end, but it is not the only way to make your fingers strong. It is important to consider the best hangboard techniques to ensure that injury is not listed among your grievances with finger strength.