If you’re an avid rock climber and your usual climbing gym is closed, don’t worry, there are a few solutions out there for you. Since most of us have been stuck inside recently, we’ve all had to get creative when it comes to exercise. And for climbers, there are some crazy cool climbing boards out there that mount to your door frame.
If you watched Alex Honnold’s mind-blowing journey up El Capitan in Free Solo, you’ll remember the scene where he’s in his van and gripping what looks like a board with holes, showing off like the spider monkey he is. He’s hanging from the ground by two fingers, chalk bag at his side, the door to his van wide open with a Yosemite meadow in the background. He’s using a hangboard, and you can too until we’re out of quarantine.
Experienced climbers likely already have a hangboard, one that’s been a trusted training companion for years. For beginners or anyone missing their rock climbing gym, this is the perfect way to stay occupied and fit. The best hangboards are a unique training tool for climbers. Finger-specific training isolates and increases forearm strength, leaving you with improved muscle strength and grip.
Check out our options below and start climbing again.
1. Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center
BEST FOR BEGINNERS
The Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center is a versatile hangboard with a variety of holds, edges and pockets. That’s why it’s the best hangboard for beginners in particular, although intermediate climbers can also get a challenging workout from this board. According to Outdoor Gear Lab, the board “caters easily to 5.10 and 5.13+ climbers alike.” The two-pieces of this hangboard can be installed so that they are exactly the right width apart for your body. This does make the Trango slightly more difficult to install, but it’s still a worthy addition to your home gym. Constructed from a skin-friendly polyurethane, the material provides just the right amount of support for your fingers. All in all, it’s an impressive hangboard that has a lot to offer beginners who are serious about improving their skills.
2. Progression Board
BEST FOR INTERMEDIATE CLIMBERS
You can buy most of our picks for the best hangboards for under $100. But if you’re serious about this sport and want to invest in your training, this is a fantastic piece of equipment. The Progression board is great for type A learners: it provides a simple but effective training regimen that’s just under your limits. To find the sweet spot — where you can work hard without blowing yourself out — has been a tried and true training technique, and that’s what the Progression board is all about. The 2mm difference between crimps keeps it challenging as your skills advance. That being said, the Progression Board does lack a variety of holds, so if you want to practice different techniques and holds, this might not be the board for you. One of our pricier options but still a foolproof training tool, the Progression Board is a great choice for climbers who like routine.
3. Metolius Contact Board
Metolius has a great all around board for climbers with its variety of holds and erogonomic, variable width pitches. It has 11 pockets, 4 central edges, top mounted jugs, and both rounded and flat slopers. It is curved to prevent stress and injury but the texture of the board has been said to be rough to the point that it needs to be sanded down. It needs a lot of room for mounting which can be a problem for some so be sure to check the size measurements before purchasing. Otherwise, it’s a great overall board for climbers looking to practice their strength training.
4. Metolius Deluxe II or Compact II
The Deluxe II is a new addition to the Metolius family. With its wood base, it serves as a unique hanging board. It has an assortment of holds including jugs, slopers, edges and pockets. The wood creates a smooth grip for your fingers if you’re sensitive to plastics or just want to try something with a more natural texture. It also has the perk of looking like art so you can mount it anywhere and it’ll be sure to look attractive. The Metolius Compact II is a similar but slightly smaller wooden board with the same grips and overall design. Choose both or either one for your climbing needs.
5. Mammut Diamond Finger Hangboard
BEST PREMIUM HANGBOARD
If you’re looking for a professional piece of climbing equipment to mount in your home climbing gym, you can’t do better than this premium pick from Mammut. The attractive walnut finish will enhance your home decor while also functioning as a challenging piece of exercise equipment. This board has a wide variety of holds for everyone from beginners to expert climbers. There are also single hand rope attachment points for those who want to practice their single hand exercises. On the top of this board, you’ll find a phone mount. That’s because this board is designed to be used with the Mammut climbing app, which provides professional training plans. That may or may not be enough to justify the price tag, but this is a great choice for climbers who can afford it.
6. Metolius Simulator 3D
The Simulator 3D is a great choice for experienced beginners who are looking to take the next step in their training. This is an approachable board with easier grips and something to help everyone train. As one of the best hangboards from a trusted brand, it’s seen often at climbing gyms. This climbing board is a favorite with everyone because of its base: it pulls slightly inward instead of lying flat, so you’ll hang toward the wall as you would when climbing. This more natural feel is quite appealing for beginners but also for climbers seeking a milder routine. Advanced climbers may find the holds slightly too large and with the 4-5mm distance, it could be deemed not challenging enough.
7. So iLL Iron Palm
BEST FOR EXPERIENCED CLIMBERS
Experienced climbers will wonder why there aren’t more board from So iLL on this list. For many climbers, So iLL makes the best hangboards in the world. Unfortunately, that also means the brand’s most popular and best-selling hangboards are sold out pretty much everywhere. However, there’s one popular So iLL board that you can still add to your home gym — and it’s the most difficult board on our list yet.
The Iron Palm is best for training with sloper grips because of its unique shape: instead of a traditional vertical slope, there are two large, widely spaced half spheres which are easier to grab however you like. This causes a more unique challenge to training, and we’re confident you will see results after using the Iron Palm. The only downside is that there are only two techniques you can practice with this board, the slopers and the pinchers. If you’re looking for more variety in your training, then this might not be the best hangboard for you.
8. Moon Fingerboard
The Moon Fingerboard has been a cult classic for years on the difficulty scale. It has grips that are wickedly devilish and tricky and lead to fantastic training sessions that will leave you exhausted. Not a board for beginners, the Moon Fingerboard may as well take the prize for most challenging hangboard. It focuses on crimp strength although it has pockets and slopers as well which are just as difficult to navigate. If you’re up for a challenge, this is the correct board for you.
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