When it comes to training one of the most intimidating tools we can think of is the campus board. We know that this big, imposing board covered in vexing little rungs is an effective training tool, but it can be hard to even know how to begin to use it. So to help us get past our fears, we turn to none other than the fiercely dedicated training machine, Galina Parfenov (and if you haven’t seen this lady in action, check out her training videos to see what we mean). In today’s article, she breaks down the different types of campus board exercises and shows you how to do each one, whether you are just starting out, or already have a campus-board routine and want to freshen it up! Here’s Galina:
Over the years I have gone back and forth between various training techniques and devices—everything from fingerboards, rock rings, systems boards, and even plain old pull-up bars—until finally settling on just one: the campus board. Which, like the lever, screw, pulley, and wedge, is a simple machine, at least where climbing is concerned. Ten rungs. That’s all it takes (just ask their inventor, Wolfgang Güllich, who used the campus board to train for the first ascent of Action Directe, the world’s first 9a!)
That being said, a person who has been climbing for less than two years should not be using a campus board. They shouldn’t really be training, other than maybe a few pull-ups here and there. The first 18-24 months or so should be dedicated solely to climbing and training by climbing, until your tendons can handle the additional pressure of campusing. This also applies to youth.
Here’s a checklist to help you decide if campus rungs are right for you:
- I have been climbing for at least 18 months.
- I am at least 16 years old.
- I have not recently had reoccurring pain in my fingers, elbows, or shoulders.
- I have plateaued.
- I want to get STRONG!
Check them all? Then refer to the list of campus board exercises below! I’ve provided modifications for beginner and advanced. If you aren’t sure which you are, start with the beginner exercises and move to advanced if you need more of a challenge.