Too often, a visit to a climbing or bouldering hall does not fit into the after-work program. A short session on a fingerboard or campusboard is much faster. In the guest article by Christoph Völker you will find out how to build your own campus board in your storage room, office, garage or exterior wall. He presents us a manual with many important details.
A guest post by Christoph Völker from target10a.com
On campus boards, at first glance, the strips attached to it attract attention. These are relatively easy to replace. More insignificant, but still essential, are the inclination of the board and the dimensioning of the footwell! The footwell is defined by the vertical distance of the first ledge to the ground and the horizontal distance to the treadle.
By training on various campus boards in recent years, I can say the following: No campus board is the same and just boards with unfavorable dimensions fall quickly. So that the recommendations on the most important measures are not lost in the text, a list is made right at the beginning - the explanations are given at the bottom of the text:
- Inclination angle: 18 ° (or in the range 16 ° -20 °)
- Distance to the ground (mat!): 1,50m
- Horizontal distance to the tread zone: 75cm
- Vertical minimum handle height: 95cm
The right inclination for building your campus board
The most common question asked is the angle of inclination. The original campus board by Wolfgang Güllich has an incline of approx. 12 °. Metolius recommends 15 ° for this. I recommend making the board a little steeper with an 18 ° incline. This results in better legroom during long exercises like up & down. At 15 ° I have to be careful not to touch the board with my legs.
The elbows are another reason to make the board steep enough at 18 °: The aggressive joint position with long blocking pulls on boards that are not inclined favor the so-called tennis elbow (epicondylitis).
Who does not like the 18 °: 16 ° are for me the minimum, 20 ° tilt the maximum, which I can recommend. A tiltable campusboard is not necessary.
Note: The steeper the board, the flatter the grip surface of the attached strips. 11 ° undercut bars therefore fall by 18 ° on an 8 ° inclined board.
Further tilt angles of famous campus boards:
- the board on the Moon website should have about 17 °
- Jerry Moffatt's foundry board in Sheffield is said to be steep 20 °
The height of the first strip and the distance to the tread zone
Two less considered dimensions are the distance between the first strips and the floor and their horizontal distance from the step zone. These two dimensions are somewhat dependent on each other and are intended to ensure space for the legs and enable a comfortable start to the exercises. Chest height or a little higher has proven to be good as the height of the first bar. So 1,50m maybe also 1,60m or 1,70m (in contrast, Metolius recommends only 1,20m starting height). If you still have to put a boulder mat underneath at home, you should take the height of the boulder mat into account. Otherwise, on lower boards, you don't want to start the exercises on the first bar. However, this makes it more difficult to count the lasts during the exercises and makes the training less easily reproducible. Most of all, you lose the space for your hips and legs.
I would even make the campus board a little shorter in the upper area in favor of this minimum starting height of 1,50 m if the spatial conditions force a compromise. For most and best exercises (e.g. pull through), the row of groins should not be more than 95cm high! Yes - I don't think the classics like Up & Down and the Double Dynos are the best exercises on the campus board (which doesn't mean that these exercises are bad either).
The fact that a distance to the step zone is mentioned here also means that a step zone is essential for a good campus board. Here I would attach four continuous step rails at a distance of 20cm. Depth of the rounded step rails: 15mm-10mm. A little tip: If the step rails are chosen with a small depth, they should be a little wider for stability. So at least 20mm. Otherwise they will break relatively quickly due to the impact.
Vertical height of the grip area
A great height of the grip area of the board would be 1,85m. Of course you can wish even higher, but it is luxury. With 1,85m height of the grip area plus 1,50 foot area you get to a minimum room height of 3,35m. Certainly a common measure for Boulderhallen. But those who do not live privately in an Art Nouveau villa will have to scale down for space reasons.
The same applies to the width of the entire board: one can dream of six meters, with two to three meters is already very much feasible. Minimum are 85cm for at least two last rows.
Further dimensions and recommendations
- Minimum room height of 2,50m
- Luxury room height of 3,35m and more
- Minimum width of 85cm for at least two last rows
- Luxury width of three meters and more
- 5cm distance between the rows of bars
- four continuous baseboards at a distance of 20cm
- Depth of the rounded footings: maximum 15mm, minimal 10mm
- Use a smooth, skin-friendly wood for the grip area
The campus bars
The size of the campus bars is very individual and depends on the space on the board. For beginners in campus board training I would recommend 35mm and 27mm. The smaller bars are reserved for campus board experts. The large warm-up or athletic bars, like 100mm roundwoods, are great, but you have to have the space and the necessary small change for it. No matter what shape and size - campus rails must be rounded off accordingly, so that the strength and not the pain resistance is trained. As a material I consider wood unbeatable. I would not make plastic moldings on my board!
As a last length 40cm are sufficient up to a depth of 35mm. With the big roundwoods and athletic bars you can definitely reach to 60cm length.
The distance between the bars can be chosen between 10cm and 30cm. For shorter strips shorter distances are recommended than for the large strips. Slightly shorter distances are basically better, but of course a cost issue. With shorter intervals, the training is better scalable. If a train is a bit too hard, the next level can be reached faster with shorter distances.
The following distances can be recommended as a guideline:
|Small (15mm and 19mm)||12cm to 15cm||40cm|
|Medium (27mm and 35mm)||15cm to 20cm||40cm|
|Large (58mm and 100mm round)||20cm to 25cm||60cm|
If you also want to have a Slougraining option on your campus board, you can attach a ball-hanger-like handlebar. Here, too, I strongly advise you to take wood as a material. The surface should be structureless and processed only with emery paper. So no frozen grooves - they strain the skin unnecessarily.
Five mistakes when building a campus board
- No baseboards: Without baseboards, the board loses its value considerably. Skirting boards are indispensable for scaling the difficulty and for variation of the exercise. Some exercises, like block and swing, are not possible at all without step rails.
- Attaching baseboards or steps irregularly or with intervals in between: reliable training can be used to optimally scale and reproduce the training. On the campusboard no treadmill technique should be trained.
- Alternately attach different strips in a row: Some manufacturers offer strips with two different profiles ("dual" campus strips). For lack of space and in order to offer the visitors an alleged added value, these strips are sometimes screwed alternately in a row. In my experience, this bar change is extremely annoying during training! So please choose a profile!
- The same applies to fingerboards: If you can treat yourself to the luxury of equipping a number of training boards like the beastmaker, then please choose a board! Alternating the beastmaker 1000 and 2000 makes the entire series almost worthless! You just have to be able to use the same grip shape with every pull.
- The distance to the ground (mat) is too small: The distance between the first strips and the ground should be 1,50m or 1,60m. This height allows a comfortable start and freedom for the legs. When using a boulder mat, its height must be taken into account!
Different campus boards in comparison
|Campus Board||Tilt||Horizontal distance to the baseboard||Vertical height to the start bar||baseboards|
|Güllich Campusboard||about 12 °||- (no baseboards)||about 215cm||no|
|Block Heroes Bamberg||18,2°||39cm||98cm||ja|
|Block Heroes Dechsendorf||about 18 °||?||?||ja|
|DAV Kletterhalle Würzburg||15,0°||80cm||150cm||ja|
|Rock Inn Wurzburg||12,4°||- (no baseboards)||130cm||no|
|Block hut Augsburg||15,3°||65cm||170cm||ja|
|Boulderworld Munich West||18,2°||100cm||155cm||ja|
You will find the matching bars, hemispheres and roundwoods www.target10a.com.
Credits: Image and text Christoph Völker of target10.com