Power Training Through Campusing

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Often rock climbs come down to a single move- the crux of the climb. Being strong enough to get through the cruxes can be difficult.

“if you cannot pull a single hard move, you have nothing to endure,” said Tony Yaniro, one of the founders of modern climbing training. Yaniro spoke of having power to make sure you could have the endurance to maintain on longer climbs. Endurance is easier to train- it involves simple tenacity. Power training requires a right amount of recovery and exercise. There are a few different ways one can train power.

”I think there are a couple ways to gain power for climbing but the quickest and most efficient way, as long as your elbow tendons and shoulders are prepared for it, is to campus,” said professional climber Ethan Pringle.

In 1988, Wolfgang Gullich invented a training device to strengthen his fingers for the brutal steep pockets of Action Directe, the world’s first 5.14d in Frankenjura Germany. Gullich’s covered a steep plywood wall with rungs and placed it in a university gym called the Campus Center.

The introduction of campus boards facilitated training explosive power for bouldering and difficult sport climbing moves. Through big moves on set distances, finger strength, lock off, and dynamic movement can be increased greatly.

“Training on the campus board not only is a good way to get stronger fingers and an upper body in general, but it’s also a good gauge to see how much you’re gaining in your training- unlike just doing problems in the gym the campus board is a fixed scale.” said Pringle.

“Campusing on a roof or a severely overhung wall is also really beneficial, I find. It works your big muscles a lot as well as your core muscles Even if you have to start out doing short moves between jugs, campusing easy problems on super steep walls will get you much stronger, period,” said Pringle. “Just don’t overdue it because you can hurt yourself campusing much easier than when your feet are on the wall and make sure you’re plenty warmed up. Campusing is also a great way to learn how to keep momentum all the way up the wall.”