Campus board

Last updated
Campus board with wooden rungs Campus board wood.jpg
Campus board with wooden rungs

A campus board is a training tool that has been widely adopted by sport climbers to improve their plyometric performance; it was invented in 1988 by German climber Wolfgang Güllich to help him climb the world's hardest-ever route, Action Directe , and has since become a standard training tool for climbers. [1]



Typically, a user ascends or descends the campus board using only their hands, and often leaping from hold to hold (i.e both hands are off the board while transitioning between holds). Campus boards can take a variety of different forms and may incorporate a variety of materials. The earliest campus boards, and still used today, were made of horizontal thin slats or rails of wood attached to an inclined board in a ladderlike configuration. Later versions have utilized bolt-on climbing holds or sections of a pipe. A campus board is generally set at an overhanging angle of inclination. One consideration for selecting the angle of inclination is the avoidance of any interference that may result between the user's legs and the campus board or wall. [1] [2]

There are a variety of training approaches that may be used with a campus board, but all of them are centered around the concept of plyometric training. As one example, a user may alternate the use of specific fingers to increase finger strength when ascending or descending the board. As another example, upper-body strength may be increased by utilizing large lunges between specific rails or holds of the campus board ("power throws"). Reactive training may be used to increase muscle recruitment rates by dynamically moving between the campus board rails simultaneously with one or both hands. Training on a campus board may result in better performance due to the improvement of motor training, increased finger strength on a variety of grips, and greater power and lock-off strength of the arms. [1]

The campus board has been a topic of controversy especially for newer or younger climbers, as it risks causing injuries to the climber's tendons due to improper technique or fatigue. As such, the campus board is generally not recommended for more novice or younger climbers. [1]

The first scientific analysis of campus board training was published in 2021. [3]


Campus Board Campus Board.jpg
Campus Board

The campus board was invented by German climber Wolfgang Güllich in 1988 while he was training for a new extreme sport climbing route called Action Directe , which required extreme dynamic finger strength. [1] The first campus board was hung at a university in a gym called "The Campus Centre" in Nuremberg. [1] Hence the term "campus" has been applied to the name of the training board, training method, and style of climbing, or "campusing" in which only the user's hands and arms are used. In French and in Italian, the campus board is referred to as pan Güllich. [4] Early adopters of the campus board included British climbers Jerry Moffatt and Ben Moon, who trained with Gullich and his climbing partner Kurt Albert, at their German gym. [5] [6]


A hangboard Concet Climbing Solution Hangboard .jpg
A hangboard

Subsequent to the development of the campus board, the hangboard was also developed that focuses on building static arm and finger strength. It is a popular training tool for rock climbers and comes in many forms and materials. [7]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bouldering</span> Form of rock climbing

Bouldering is a form of free climbing that is performed on small rock formations or artificial rock walls without the use of ropes or harnesses. While bouldering can be done without any equipment, most climbers use climbing shoes to help secure footholds, chalk to keep their hands dry and to provide a firmer grip, and bouldering mats to prevent injuries from falls. Unlike free solo climbing, which is also performed without ropes, bouldering problems are usually less than six metres (20 ft) tall. Traverses, which are a form of boulder problem, require the climber to climb horizontally from one end to another. Artificial climbing walls allow boulderers to climb indoors in areas without natural boulders. In addition, bouldering competitions take place in both indoor and outdoor settings.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Traditional climbing</span> Type of rock climbing

Traditional climbing is a type of free climbing in rock climbing where the lead climber places the protection equipment while ascending the climbing route; when the lead climber has completed the route, the second climber then removes the protection equipment as they climb the route. Traditional climbing differs from sport climbing where the protection equipment is already pre-drilled into the rock in the form of bolts.

This is an index of topics related to climbing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Glossary of climbing terms</span> Definitions of terms in rock climbing and mountaineering

Glossary of climbing terms relates to rock climbing, mountaineering, and to ice climbing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rock-climbing equipment</span> List of manmade gear

Rock-climbing equipment requires a range of specialized sports equipment, for training, for aid climbing, and for free climbing. Developments in rock-climbing equipment played an important role in the history of rock climbing, enabling climbers to ascend more difficult climbing routes safely, and materially improving the strength, conditioning, and ability of climbers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Action Directe (climb)</span> Rock climbing route, Germany

Action Directe is a short 15-metre (49 ft) sport climb at the limestone Waldkopf crag in Frankenjura, Germany. When it was first climbed by German climber Wolfgang Güllich in 1991, it became the first climb in the world to have a consensus 9a (5.14d) grade. It is considered an important and historic route in rock climbing history, and one of the most attempted climbs at its grade, where it is considered the "benchmark" for 9a. The training techniques Güllich used to prepare for the unique physical demands of Action Directe also revolutionized climbing and what could be achieved.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sport climbing</span> Type of rock climbing

Sport climbing is a type of free climbing in rock climbing where the lead climber clips into pre-drilled permanent bolts for their protection while ascending the route. Sport climbing differs from the riskier traditional climbing where the lead climber has to insert temporary protection equipment while they are ascending.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wolfgang Güllich</span> German rock climber

Wolfgang Güllich was a German rock climber, who is considered one of the greatest and most influential climbers in the history of the sport. Güllich dominated sport climbing after his 1984 ascent of Kanal im Rücken, the world's first-ever redpoint of an 8b (5.13d) route. He continued to set more "new hardest grade" breakthroughs than any other climber in sport climbing history, with Punks in the Gym in 1985, the world's first-ever 8b+ (5.14a), Wallstreet in 1987, the world's first-ever 8c (5.14b), and with Action Directe in 1991, the world's first-ever 9a (5.14d).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jerry Moffatt</span> British rock climber

Jerry Moffatt, is a British rock climber and climbing author who is widely considered as being the best British rock climber from the early-1980s to the early-1990s, and was arguably the best rock climber in the world in the mid-1980s, and an important climber in the history of the sport.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Grip strength</span> Force applied by the hand to hold

Grip strength is the force applied by the hand to pull on or suspend from objects and is a specific part of hand strength. Optimum-sized objects permit the hand to wrap around a cylindrical shape with a diameter from one to three inches. Stair rails are an example of where shape and diameter are critical for proper grip in case of a fall. Other grip strengths that have been studied are the hammer and other hand tools. In applications of grip strength, the wrist must be in a neutral position to avoid developing cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs).

Complex training, also known as contrast training or post-activation potentiation training, involves the integration of strength training and plyometrics in a training system designed to improve explosive power. According to Jace Derwin:

Strength training and plyometric training are both effective measures for increasing athletic performance independent of each other, but a true program designed for power-based athletes needs to incorporate both disciplines. A study done in 2000 in the NSCA's Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research measured three different training protocols: strength training, plyometric training, and a combination of both. The group that used combined methods was the only group that showed significant increases in BOTH strength and power.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Climbing competition</span> Competitive rock climbing

Competition climbing is a type of rock climbing held indoors on purpose-built artificial climbing walls, although earlier versions were held on external natural rock surfaces. The three standalone competition climbing disciplines are: lead climbing, bouldering, and speed climbing. A fourth discipline of "combined" is based on combinations of results in the three main disciplines. Competition climbing is sometimes called "sport climbing", which is the type of lead climbing performed in competition climbing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of rock climbing</span> Key chronological milestones

In the history of rock climbing, the three main sub-disciplines—bouldering, single-pitch climbing, and big wall climbing—can trace their origins to late 19th-century Europe. Bouldering started in Fontainebleau, and was advanced by Pierre Allain in the 1930s, and John Gill in the 1950s. Big wall climbing started in the Dolomites, and was spread across the Alps in the 1930s by climbers such as Emilio Comici and Riccardo Cassin, and in the 1950s by Walter Bonatti, before reaching Yosemite where it was led in the 1950s to 1970s by climbers such as Royal Robbins. Single-pitch climbing started pre-1900 in both the Lake District and in Saxony, and by the 1970s had spread widely with climbers such as Ron Fawcett (Britain), Bernd Arnold (Germany), Patrick Berhault (France), Ron Kauk and John Bachar (USA).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Climbing hold</span> Shaped grip attached to a climbing wall

A climbing hold is a shaped grip that is usually attached to a climbing wall so climbers can grab or step on it. On most walls, climbing holds are arranged in paths, called routes, by specially trained route setters. Climbing holds come in a large array of sizes and shapes to provide different levels of challenge to a climber. Climbing holds are either bolted to a wall via hex-head bolts and existing t-nuts or they are screwed on with several small screws. In extreme cases, concrete anchors may be used.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">La Rambla (climb)</span> Rock climbing route, Spain

La Rambla is a 41-metre (135 ft) sport climb at the limestone El Pati crag in Siurana, Catalonia in Spain. Originally bolted and climbed by Alexander Huber in 1994 as a 35-metre (115 ft) route, the bolting was later extended by Dani Andrada to a 41-metre (135 ft) route, which was eventually climbed by Ramón Julián Puigblanque in 2003. While there has been debate about La Rambla's grade, there is now consensus that it meets the 9a+ (5.15a) threshold. It is an important and historic route in climbing, and is part of the coveted "9a+ trilogy" with Realization and Papichulo.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Separate Reality (climb)</span> Rock climbing route, USA

Separate Reality is a 66-foot (20 m) traditional climbing route in Yosemite National Park in California. The route is known for its exposed and dramatic crux that consists of a 20-foot (6.1 m) long crack in its horizontal roof. When it was first freed by Ron Kauk in 1978, it was one of the first climbs in the world to have a grade of 7a+ (5.12a). In 1986, German climber Wolfgang Güllich free soloed the route, and the photographs by Austrian Heinz Zak become iconic in rock climbing history.

Climber's finger is one of the most common climbing injuries within the sport of rock climbing, accounting for about 30% of finger injuries seen in climbers. It is an overuse injury that usually manifests in a swollen middle or ring finger due to a damaged flexor tendon pulley, normally the A2 or A4 pulley. It is particularly common after a repeated utilization of small holds. Continued climbing on an injured finger may result in increased downtime in order to recover. The injury was first described in 1988 by Dr. S.R. Bollen.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mélissa Le Nevé</span> French professional rock climber (born 1989)

Mélissa Le Nevé is a French professional rock climber specialising in sport climbing and bouldering.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Climbing gym</span> Indoor sports venue

A climbing gym is a gym dedicated to indoor climbing. Climbing gyms have climbing walls that can be used for leading, top roping, and bouldering. They sometimes offer training equipment to improve technique, strength, and endurance.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hubble (climb)</span> Rock climb, England

Hubble is a short 10-metre (33 ft) bolted sport climb at the limestone Raven Tor crag in Dovedale, in the Peak District in Derbyshire, England. When Hubble was first redpointed by English climber Ben Moon on 14 June 1990, it became the first-ever climb in the world to have a consensus climbing grade of 8c+ (5.14c); and the highest grade in the English system at E9 7b.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Walker, Noah (9 September 2022). "A Beginner's Guide to Campus Board Training". Gripped. Retrieved 27 November 2022.
  2. Academy, U. S. Sports (2016-06-24). "Analysis of Contemporary Anaerobic Sport Specific Training Techniques for Rock Climbing". The Sport Journal. Retrieved 2019-12-14.
  3. Stien, Nicolay; Pedersen, Helene; Vereide, Vegard A.; Saeterbakken, Atle H.; Hermans, Espen; Kalland, Jarle; Schoenfeld, Brad J.; Andersen, Vidar (2021). "Effects of Two vs. Four Weekly Campus Board Training Sessions on Bouldering Performance and Climbing-Specific Tests in Advanced and Elite Climbers". Journal of Sports Science & Medicine. 20: 437–447. doi: 10.52082/jssm.2021.438 . Retrieved 28 November 2022.
  4. Samet, Mike (2011). Climbing Dictionary. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers Books. p. 46. ISBN   978-1-59485-502-3.
  5. "Jerry Moffatt's Classic 1990's Campus Board Film". Gripped. 17 October 2018. Retrieved 28 November 2022.
  6. "Jerry Moffatt: from the Campus Board to early sports climbing training". PlanetMountain. 26 April 2016. Retrieved 28 November 2022.
  7. Corrigan, Kevin (6 October 2022). "Hangboarding For Everyone". Climbing. Retrieved 10 March 2023.