Six Crucial Campus Board Training Exercises
Updated: Jan 6
The campus board is one of the most widely recognized but least utilized training tools in the climbing gym. Most climbers can identify a campus board from across the gym. After all, they are upwards of 15 feet tall and consist of sets of ladder-like rungs.
The campus board is mainly used by advanced climbers because campus board training can be incredibly difficult, and it can lead to an array of injuries from blown out shoulders to pulley ruptures.
These concerns are all valid. But campus board training is one of the best tools available to climbers to increase accuracy, contact strength, power, and build strength. The trick is knowing which campus board routine and exercises to perform while having proper form.
Check out these six crucial campus board exercises and tips on how to perform them safely. Remember, it is always advised to check with your local climbing instructor to avoid injury when training for climbing.
Campus Board Training Exercises | Accuracy and Contact Strength
Campus boarding is not just for power training, there are plenty of campus board exercises that directly target muscle groups for accuracy and contact strength as a climber.
It's important to choose your campus rung size appropriately to be able to complete each set while giving yourself enough of a challenge. Focus on hitting each rung consistently in the same place when performing the following exercises listed below.
Exercise #1 | Ladders
Start matched on the bottom rung. Simply alternate left and right hands to ascend and descend the rungs. Be sure to match at the top and bottom!
Exercise #2 | Single-Arm Bump
Start matched on the bottom rung. With your left hand, begin bumping up one rung at a time until you are at your max. Be sure to match at the top. Repeat with your right hand.
Exercise #3 | Touches
Start matched on the bottom rung and with your left hand, tap the second rung and return to the bottom rung. Repeat with the right hand and then tap the third rung with your left hand and return to the bottom rung. Repeat again with the right hand. Repeat this all the way to your maximum reach.
Campus Board Training Exercises | Power
Using the campus board for exercises will involve a bit of Power, aka strength x speed. In climbing, power is the ability to move between holds. So, power exercises require you to generate much more speed than exercises such as ladders.
When campusing, it is important to keep the shoulders engaged, never hang low into your sockets. To do this, stand at a neutral position and roll your shoulders backward, and stop before you return to neutral. It should feel as though you are trying to make your shoulder blades touch behind your back. This position will keep your shoulders safe while campusing!
Exercise #4 | Jump Catch
Start matched on the bottom rung. From the ground, jump to the highest rung you can reach and catch it with your left hand while leaving your right hand on the lowest rung. Match the top rung! Return to the ground and repeat with the right hand.
Exercise #5 | Double Campus
This campus board routine also sometimes referred to as the 1-5-9.
Start matched on the bottom rung, campus to the highest rung you can reach with your left hand. Without matching, campus to the highest rung you can reach with your right hand. Match at the top, and return to the ground and repeat starting with the right hand.
The 1-5-9 is a well-known benchmark for climbers that involves beginning matched on the “1” rung, campusing with one hand to the “5” rung, and campusing with the other hand to the “9” rung. It is the pinnacle of the double campus.
Exercise #6 | Single-Arm Max
Start matched on the bottom rung. Simply campus to the highest rung you can reach and match. Repeat on the other arm.
If any of these exercises are too difficult to perform while campusing, try starting with your feet on footholds beneath the campus board.
If you incorporate campusing into your training, don’t forget to include these six crucial campus board exercises in order to target your specific weaknesses as a climber and to get the most out of the campus board.
While Campus Boarding is a great tool to up your climbing game, it's important to understand Campus Board Dos and Don'ts.