Ben Moon was one of the early adopters of the campus board. It seemed to work pretty well for him, so I figured that reviewing the School Room Campus board program would be a pretty good place to start.
Before we get down to business, it is worth mentioning that campusing is not for beginner climbers. There are plenty of other ways to get strong and improve your results on the rock. If you have been climbing for a good few years, done an apprenticeship on the fingerboard and are looking to push your way into double digit bouldering, or very hard sport climbing, then it might be time to start a campus board program – just start slowly (and not with this routine, I’ll post a good starter campus routine soon).
If you are just starting out with the campus board, then you may not be all that familiar with the way the exercises are described. It’s really very simple and relates to the numbered rungs (rails) on the board, although there are a few variations that combine both the hand to use (left or right) and the rung number.
To kick things off, some basic ladders, using all the rungs after a good warm up is enough to get a feel for things. Build your way up to some mini sets of ladders up and down each rung, you might even try some one-handed bumps, all on nice big rungs.
Will Anglin does a stellar job of covering off the science and art of campusing on his blog, so I suggest you go and check it out.
Crux crush also has a nice overview of various movements on the campus board, which I think is well worth a look too.
Ok, so let’s assume you have spent some time familiarizing yourself with the campus board, feel pretty strong and have no nasty injuries. Go get yourself super warm and then warm up some more.
Now picture the perfect half crimp, make the shape with each hand and look at it. This is your one grip, don’t use another grip and if your hands start opening up on the board You. Are. Done.
Cool, you’re ready. The following campus board program comes directly from the Moon Climbing site, but I’ve programmed it into a handy timer that you can access at the bottom of the page and from inside the Climbing meta tracker (along with some others I haven’t covered on the blog yet, so go register if you want them all!).
Disclaimer: I know the campus board in the images only has 7 rungs, but you gotta work with what you’ve got!
2 Sets with 1 minutes rest between each set.
2 Sets leading with each arm (4 sets in total) with 1 minutes rest between.
Rest 4 Minutes
3 tries leading with each arm (6 tries in total) resting 2 minutes between each try. This is a fairly advanced movement and while desirable, you can switch it up by trying for 1-4-6 or 1-5-7 (which is tough anyway), keep practicing 1-4-7 too.
Rest 4 minutes
3 Sets of 1-4-1-4-1-4-1-4-1 leading with alternative hands, i.e. Left hand touches rung 4, comes back to 1, then right hand touches 4 and back. Each hand touches rung 4 2 times for each set. Rest 2 minutes between each set.
Rest 4 Minutes
2 sets for each arm, 1-4-3-4-3-4-3-4 for each set keeping one arm constantly on rung one and the other moving between rungs 3 and 4. Resting 2 minutes each set.
The nice thing about a campus board program is that you can start with nice big rungs and move down to a smaller (more painful) size once you master a program, so this one should keep you going for quite a while.
I find using the interval timer easier than remembering to set a stopwatch for each rest and if you use the text-to-talk function, it will remind you what to do as well. There should be enough time for you to easily complete each exercise, it certainly works for me, but I’m always keen for feedback so let me know if anything needs tweaking.
Go get it!