High Sport
artiklar S7 training
av Ben Moon
S7 training
Designed to fit above a door or stairway, the S7 fingerboard is an ideal training tool for developing specific strength, power and endurance for climbing, and there are two main types of exercises that can be performed on the S7 fingerboard:
  1. Those which train specifically the fingers, commonly known as "dead hangs".
  2. Those which train the fingers and arms together, commonly known as "pull-ups".
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The duration that both these exercises are performed for and the intensity (difficulty) that they are performed will dictate whether they are strength or endurance- oriented exercises. To obtain the desired duration, it might be necessary to either lower or raise the resistance, i.e. your body weight, or move to a larger or smaller hold. Increasing or decreasing the resistance can be done in several ways.
  1. For increased resistance on two-armed exercises, use a weight belt around the waist, or for one-armed exercise, use a weight in the free hand.
  2. For decreased resistance, there are three methods.

    1. A bungee stirrup or heavy duty rubber band attached to the fingerboard at one end and held in the hand at the other.
    2. A small handhold positioned at waist height to allow assistance from the free hand (when doing one arm work), or a poor foothold or footholds when doing two-arm work.
    3. Get a training partner to give you a little assistance. This is definitely the best way, not least because it is more fun training with a partner. If there are two of you you can give support, motivation, and encouragement, and keep a track of what each of you are doing.
Before starting any physical activity, whether you are outside and about to attempt a hard climb, or indoors and about to start a 45 min session on your fingerboard or campus board, there are a few basic guidelines you would do well to observe. Never underestimate the importance of a warm up. Always warm up thoroughly. This will not only help to prevent injury but help you get more out of the session and recover faster. Always try to do some light aerobic activity for 5 min's before anything else. Take 5 or 10 min to run through some upper body stretches and another 5 or 10 min to do some gentle dead hangs or pull-ups. If you are not used to training, take it very steady. Less is definitely more to start with, and if you are in any doubt ease off. The harder you train or the closer you take yourself to exhaustion the longer you will take to recover. The end result will be more rest days and less training days. Further more, the most likely time to get injured is when you are tired, run down or over trained. Quality not quantity is what it's all about. Quality first, quantity second. Campus board training by its nature is very intense. I have now been climbing full time for 15 years, training pretty much the whole time and using campus boards for the last 5 years. Even in the depths of winter when I am probably training at my hardest I would only use the campus board a maximum of 3 times a week and for not more than about 45 min.

Respect your body and board!

How to build your training routine

Nearly all training routines that anyone practises are practised in the form of interval training. Interval training is doing a set exercise a set number of times, with set rest periods in between. Every time you do one dead hang, one pull up or move from one rung to another, you are doing a repetition of that particular exercise. Repetitions make up sets and sets make up your workout. The intensity of the repetition dictates whether they are strength or endurance-oriented exercises. If a repetition is easy it is low intensity. If it is hard, it is high intensity. The intensity of the repetition you do, the number of times that you do it, and the rest period that you allow in between reps or sets is of the utmost importance. Whatever it is you are training for, whether it is to climb 20 moves of 5c in a row, or 5 moves of 6c in a row, you want to be getting in as much volume in your session as is possible at or around that level.

There are two ways to do this and both involve doing sets of moves. How you do these sets is important. Either you do each set to failure, rest and repeat, or you do a set number of moves before stopping, resting and then repeating. The second method is the one you should be focusing on. It is the method that will mean you spend less time standing below your campus board, more time on it and less time recovering from your session! Doing anything to failure is highly stressful and more often than not counter productive. If you do chose to do this, it should only be done for short periods at a time. Little and often is better than a lot every now and again. To help you understand this I will give a number of examples.

Example 1: Pull-ups on a bar or edge.

Three pull ups - 2 min rest - 1st set of 3 reps
Three pull-ups - 2 min rest - 2nd set of 3 reps
Three pull-ups - 2 min rest - 3rd set of 3 reps

Reps and sets will define the workout.

These 3 pull-ups followed by a rest period could be substituted for any exercise e.g. lifting a weight 3 times, or running 100 m.

Example 2: Repetitions of a 5 move boulder problem.

One boulder problem - 2 min rest - 1st set of 5 reps
One boulder problem - 2 min rest - 2nd set of 5 reps
One boulder problem - 2 min rest - 3rd set of 5 reps

Rest periods define the set.

In this case the number of moves the problem has dictates how many reps each set has.

Always keep a record of your training sessions. What your warm up consisted of, how you felt, what exercises you did and how long you rested between sets etc.

How many repetitions and sets should you do?

Not knowing you personally nor knowing what level you climb at, how fit or strong you are and whether you have done any training before makes that a hard question to answer. All I would say is remember what I said at the beginning. There is absolutely no need to rush in, go mad and get injured. I have been training for years and I am still learning. Learning to read and understand your body takes time and experience and is not something that you can be taught.

Knowing how intense and stressful a particular exercise is, how much your body can take and what you can get away with is no small skill. Take time to build up gradually over weeks and months and don't trash yourself at each session. Motivation is a great thing but it could be your down fall! Stop while you still feel reasonably strong.

Strength versus Endurance

When building yourself a training program have a clear idea of what you are hoping to achieve by it. Do you want to get stronger so you can do harder moves of fitter so you can do more moves of a certain level without rest? Is it a boulder problem you cannot do because you simply do not have the strength to hold on or a route that you have the strength to do the moves on yet not the endurance to do them together without resting? Although fingerboards and campus boards are good for both strength and endurance exercises, they are more suited to strength training. However, it is worth remembering that an increase in your basic strength will benefit your endurance but not vice versa.

Dead hangs

The dead hang is simply a straight armed static finger hang on a specific- sized hold for a specific amount of time but to avoid injury it is very important when performing the dead hang not to hang totally static. Always be pulling upwards ever so slightly so the elbows are never completely extended. It is the most effective method of increasing your finger strength and can be performed either with both arms or one at a time. To a greater extent this will depend on how strong you are to start with.

Strength oriented dead hangs

For a pure strength work out that is aimed at increasing your maximum strength capacity, you should be working at and above 80% of your maximum for between 3 and 15 seconds. I would say 5-8 sec represents the optimum time for midrange gains. This means working with an edge where 5-8 sec represents 80% of the maximum time you are able to hang it for. As I have already explained, it is important to get the correct level of intensity, and you might have to use one of the methods I mentioned earlier. This hang is a repetition and in this case each repetition represents one set. Since this is a strength exercise, it is important to give yourself adequate rest in between hangs. Upwards of a minute and a half. Number of sets? Anything from about 3 to 20!

Endurance oriented dead hangs

For the dead hang exercise to be more endurance oriented, we need to increase the time that you spend hanging on your fingers, which will mean decreasing the intensity of the exercise.

There are a number of ways that you can do this:
  • Decrease your body weight (by using a bungee cord or a small foothold for assistance)
  • Use both arms.
  • Use a larger hold.
I would suggest that you will almost certainly want to use both arms for this exercise and since it's most likely that you are trying to work your fingers as well, you will still want to be using a finger hold as opposed to a jug. This means that you might have to adjust your body weight. For this exercise each repetition should be at about 30% to 60% of your maximum for between 15 to 30 sec. This might sound very easy but remember that the object here is to spend as much time throughout the session hanging. Again one 15 sec hang is one rep and 1 rep will represent the first set. You will have to play around with your rest periods but keep them shorter rather than longer. Anything from doing one hang every minute, which are commonly known as "on the minutes". This means hanging for between 15 and 30 sec and resting for what's left of the minute. If this doesn't seem like enough rest then have a minute to a minute and a half. You are looking for high volume here which means a high number of sets. If you are not getting the volume then make the exercise easier. Ten sets minimum. If you can do 10 sets of 15 second hangs on a 20 mm edge, then that's 150 seconds that you have been hanging off your fingers for. That 150 sec is your volume. Keep a record of your volume. Keep a record of everything.


The pull-up as you all probably know is a pull-up with your arms with appropriate assistance or resistance in order to make the intensity of the exercise conform to strength or endurance work.

Strength oriented Pull-ups

This exercise is aimed at increasing your maximum pulling power. If you are unable to do a pull-up, that is what your goal should be. If you are able to do a pull-up with a 70lb weight belt, then you aiming to do a pull up with 85lbs. For this exercise you should be working with the largest hold and doing between 1-6 repetitions per set and anything up to around 5 sets. One rep pull-ups are very intense and I wouldn't suggest you do them. When you first start, keep the repetitions on the high side and after 6-8 sessions start to lower them. Do everything gradually. Rest periods for this exercise will be longer rather than shorter, upwards of two minutes, and it is important that you keep the quality of your pull-ups good. Don't worry if you don't do the same number of repetitions in each set as long as they are round about the same.

Endurance oriented pull-ups

The principal here is exactly the same as it was with the endurance-oriented dead hangs. You are once again aiming for a high volume which will mean you will have to lower the level of intensity (difficulty) of the exercise and/or increase the number of repetitions and sets that you do. If you lower the intensity of the exercise by using a large hold as opposed to a small hold, remember that your fingers will not benefit so much. You might be better off using a bungee or small foothold for assistance. Play around with the number of repetitions per set and the number of sets per workout. You have different combinations to try. More repetitions per set and less sets per workout or fewer repetitions per set and more sets per work out. See which combination gives you the most volume in your workout but I wouldn't do less than 6 repetitions per set. Maybe you prefer to do 12 sets of 6 repetitions or maybe you will prefer 6 sets of 10 repetitions. For rest periods I would refer you to endurance oriented dead hangs.

The S7 campus board is the most up to date item of training equipment currently available. It is a highly specialised piece of equipment which has been developed for specific strength and power training. It is simple in concept but highly effective in use. For those who have already acquired a relatively solid foundation of strength through climbing, it is the next step up. Your S7 campus board will enable you to develop the following vital components of climbing performance.
  • Finger strength
  • Explosive upper body strength (the ability to pull and lock holds out)
  • Contact strength (the ability to latch a hold at speed)
  • Neuromuscular control and timing
  • Short term anaerobic endurance
One of the many benefits of the campus board is that like the fingerboard it is very easy to make an accurate assessment of the gains you are making. Although there is a basic technique element for each exercise, unlike bouldering, this technique will be the same every time and once learnt must simply be replicated each time you practise a particular exercise. Follow the guidelines above on warming up and building a training program.

The Exercises

Whether you train on large or small rungs will depend on how strong you are and the level of intensity you are aiming for. Obviously as far as finger strength is concerned the smaller the hold you can train on the better. If you have weak fingers, get dead hanging! There is no reason why you couldn't start a session by working on your fingers, then move to the campus board to work on ladders on bigger holds.

There are a considerable number of exercises you can practise on the campus board but the most basic and climbing specific exercise is the ladder. This involves climbing the board footless, using alternate rungs, and it is the exercise I recommend you spend most time practising.

You will soon see that there are a great many ways of laddering your way up a campus board all of which have varying levels of intensity (difficulty.) The number of moves you make to cover a set distance will determine this level. The greater number of moves the lower the intensity, the fewer moves, the higher the intensity. The easiest is to use and match hands on every rung which would mean using 9 rungs and making 16 moves, and one of the most difficult is to use just 3 rungs and make 2 moves. The type of laddering you will do will depend on what you are training for. If your goal is maximum strength, keep it high intensity, if it is more endurance-oriented, lower the intensity.

Another exercise that you might want to incorporate into a strength-training routine and one that is particularly effective at improving your pull and lock strength is the forced one-arm pull up. This exercise concentrates on the initial pulling movement we come across in climbing all the time. It is very similar to the one arm pull up only better since the campus board insures that your body keeps face on to the board, and in the position that you have to climb in. Start by dynoing up and latching onto the highest rung you can reach, then make the initial pull into the locked off position, then lower yourself down again keeping both hands on the rungs. Try and do this two or three times before stepping off then repeat on the other arm. Try 3 or 4 sets on each arm. Rest as indicated below.

Double dynos and negative double dynos between rungs are excellent exercises for improving your co-ordination but are highly stressful. As you will see from the sample training sessions below I do not do a lot of them. As with most exercises but particularly these, try and concentrate on keeping good form and being in control and whatever it is you are doing be careful!

Here are a couple of sample workouts that I practise. The numbers I use refer to which rungs I am using. You will have to adapt these to suit yourself.

Strength workout

1-5-8.5 is my absolute maximum to date and I have only done it on one arm. To do it on both arms on a regular basis is my on going goal. To do this, I would train on 1-5-8 and 1-4-7 most of the time, only every now and again trying 1-5-8.5. This is how my session would go:

As indicated warm up well. Stretch and do some easy moves and if possible some easy bouldering. The warm up will probably take about 20 minutes. When warming up concentrate on doing things well and building up the intensity of what you are doing gradually. A good warm up will make you stronger and set you up for a good session. Take your time.

1 – 5 – 8   leading with right hand (RH)
1 – 5 – 8   leading with left hand (LH)

These are two sets. Number of moves (repetitions) per set is 3. I would do 10 sets which is a total of 30 moves. Although this might not sound like a lot of moves, remember that they are all close to my limit. Next, I would do sets of 2-5-8. Although this is quite a bit easier than 1-5-8, it shares the same finish and thus enables me to continue working on that part, concentrating particularly on my form. Again I would do 10 sets of each which is another 30 moves. To finish I would do a few negative double dynos from 3 to 1 and back to 3. This constitutes a set. During this sequence of moves I would concentrate on speed, trying to spend as little time as possible on the rungs. I would do 5 sets of this which would mean 10 moves. For all these exercises I would rest anywhere between 30 and 90 sec between each set and about 5 minutes between exercises depending on how strong I was feeling. Give yourself plenty of rest and if you need more then take it. From the above we can see that I have completed 70 high intensity moves in only 30 minutes. When you get stronger, it is often worthwhile, instead of increasing the quantity or intensity of your workout, to decrease the rest you allow yourself between sets etc. Don't let your body get used to the same thing all the time.

Anaerobic Endurance

As I have already indicated, to move the emphasis away from pure strength you need to lower the intensity and thus increase the volume of moves and the time spent on your arms. Obviously there are two ways you can do this. Make shorter moves or increase the size of the holds. You might well want to do both!

set 1   lead with RH   1 – 3 – 5 – 7 – 9 – 7 – 5 – 3 – 1   10 moves
set 2   lead with LH   1 – 3 – 5 – 7 – 9 – 7 – 5 – 3 – 1   10 moves
set 3   lead with RH   1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1   18 moves
set 4   lead with LH   1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1   18 moves

Rest periods between sets will be longer than when performing maximum strength exercises. Take at least 5 minutes. When you do sets of low intensity ladders, as I have already indicated, do not go to failure.

Ben Moon

(artikeln är publicerad med vänligt tillstånd från S7 som är tillverkare av campusbrädor, fingerbrädor, grepp, crash pads och klätterkläder; är du intresserad av S7-produkter kontakta High Sport genom mail eller per telefon 031-718300)