A campus board (sometimes known as a pan Güllich – very rarely we must add), is a training tool for boulderers and climbers alike.
Traditionally, campus boards set at an overhanging angle and are made up of horizontal thin slats of wood, attached to a main wooden board (looking like a ladder).
What Is the Campus Board For?
Simply put: training. There are various uses, but they are all various methods of plyometric training. You can increase finger strength, upper body strength, in terms of power. You can also improve your control by practicing smooth movements. Most bouldering gyms will have some for of training section with this in.
There are a few different ways to train on the board. Note, you don’t need your feet. These are the most common:
Start with two hands on the bottom rung, and attempt the biggest possible move – reach the highest rung possible with one hand.
Tips: No locking. Explosive power.
Hold one rung with both hands, now jump to next rung possible, and catch with both hands. Some people jump two rungs, or three.
Tips: Jump two, drop one for an extra challenge.
The holy grail of campusing. It is an extension of the first exercise. You start on rung 1, go to 5, then to 9 (alternating hands). This is the hardest training exercise. You can practice on 1-4-7, or even 1-3-5. It takes years to get to this level.
Tips: Don’t try this unless you are experienced.
Who invented the Campus Board?
The Campus board was invented by Wolfgang Güllich in 1988. He wanted to train specifically for a sport climbing route called Action Directe. Güllich was a pioneer in the sport, and incorporated scientific methods to his training approach.
- Inventor: Wolfang Güllich
- Date: 1988
- Where: “The Campus Centre” in Nuremburg, Germany
The campus board was developed for increasing plyometric strength in the fingers and arms. Plyometric exercises are those which muscles exert the maximum force in short intervals. You don’t need your feet for this!
- Nicolay Stien, Helene Pedersen, Vegard A. Vereide, Atle H. Saeterbakken, Espen Hermans, Jarle Kalland, Brad J. Schoenfeld, Vidar Andersen. (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 and Medicine (20), 438 – 447.
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