For those of you, like me, who don't live in a climbing mecca such as Boulder, don't have the space to build your own climbing wall at home, and don't live near a climbing gym or some form of training center, there is still a great way for you to get your climbing training in at home. Hangboards are a popular option, but Blank Slate Climbing has taken it one step further.
Last month, Blank Slate sent me one of their training boards to test out. This was perfect timing as ice season just ended and I am now getting ready for rock season and a big trip to the Alps this summer.
The Blank Slate training board is quick and easy to put together and mounts safely in your doorway. With 17 pre-installed standard t-nuts, you can add your own combination of climbing holds, hangboard, rings, and even attach a suspension trainer with bolts and carabiners.
The Blank Slate training board also comes with silicone bands, much like those you wear on your wrist, to hold your phone or even iPad facing you on the crossbar. Some people use it to watch movies while training, but I mount my phone in order to play music and run the Tabata app for my workouts.
For actual workouts, I try to follow the climbing program from the Alpine Training Center in Boulder. Connie is great at posting the workout of the day (WOD in crossfit lingo) on the ATC site, and I get some tips from my great friends that go there regularly. Mountain Athlete also posts their climb specific training sessions, following a 6-8 week cycle for both rock and ice. The site is a great resource for more detailed explanations and demo videos of all the various exercises, helpful for those of us new to the whole training center or crossfit scene.
I use my Blank Slate Climbing trainer, kitted out with various climbing holds, as a replacement for the system board specified in all these workouts. I currently use a separate pull up bar for dead hangs and pull ups, but I will probably add a hangboard to my Blank Slate training board for that purpose, and also to give me the ability to do some hangboard specific workouts in the future.
The biggest difference between the training board and a system board is what to do with your feet. I have debated drilling some foot holds into the door rim but my better half quickly put a stop to that one. I now use a chair and rest my toes on the edge, with my body at a 45 degree angle to the training board, acting a bit like an overhang.
To my home climbing training gym, I have added a few dumbbells, along with a couple bags of birdseed at different weights. With a little improvisation, I can now do most of the exercises and workouts listed on either Mountain Athlete or the Alpine Training Center. If you want to add some kettlebells you could do that too- you can go as crazy as you want, really.
Though the situation may not be perfect, the Blank Slate training board and home gym beats no climbing training at all and is actually quite fun. I would love to hear from all of you on how you train at home for climbing.