Most climbers these days are familiar with the idea of campus board training. However, most do not make use of it because campussing is seen as something that only elite climbers should do. Wrong! Although the most important thing any relatively inexperienced climber can do is, simply, to climb a lot, a certain amount of time dedicated to the campus board can greatly enhance  the strength element that is fundamental to modern climbing.  

Having said that it is probably best to avoid the board for the first few years of your climbing career; given that climbing is such a technically demanding affair the main focus should, initially, be on mastering the basic skills. Once this has been done more specific training can commence. As rough rule of thumb the ability to boulder Indoor V4 (Outdoor V3) fairly regularly before starting to campus seems reasonable.

  To begin with a conditioning phase of two sessions per week for four weeks  will  be sufficient. The sessions are about thirty minutes long so can be fitted easily into your normal climbing wall routine. Ideally you will have a training partner to help time rests and support you (quite literally when you do Tabatas!) and also spot you on some of the more dynamic exercises. Campussing takes time to get used too and working as a pair makes it a great deal easier to train effectively and efficiently.

  Remember, campussing is quite tough on skin and joints so pre taping may be advisable to prevent flappers. Also, NEVER crimp whilst campussing, the short term gains are more than offset by long term injury problems! Only the very strong and experienced will crimp and then only for specific reasons. As a general rule the full hang or the ‘chisel’ half crimp position are the only safe ways of using the campus rungs-each individual will, over time, find their own specific way to hold the rungs.

  Warming up well before starting the sessions is key to maximising the return from the session and avoiding injury. 20 minutes of bouldering including a few relatively tough problems should be sufficient.

  One last word, wearing climbing shoes is highly recommended, at least initially, you want all the help you can get!




Unfortunately no one campus board is the same as the next, the specifications laid out below are the ideal but, generally, you will have to make use of a less than ideal set up. Don’t worry if this is the case as, with a bit of care, you will still be able to make good gains with almost any set up.


1). RUNG SIZE: Two sizes needed-one set a minimum of 30mm deep the other 25mm.

2). RUNG SPACING: 11cm between rungs.

3). BOARD ANGLE: 13-17degrees.

4). KICKBOARD DEPTH: This is the gap between the bottom of the campus board and the top of the kickboard, 50-60cms.

5). FOOT RUNGS: 10-15mm deep and 15cms between each rung.




Virtually all the exercises are feet on unless otherwise specified.


DOUBLE DYNOS: this is when you jump from one rung to another with both hands moving together and landing on the higher rung at the same time ie. its not a double dyno if one hand arrives before the other!


ONE ARM DYNOS: when one hand jumps from one rung to a higher rung. Although you can use both hands to get into the starting  position you must be hanging on one hand before you try to move up.


TAPS: this is when both hands start together on a rung then one hand reaches up to a nominated higher rung, lightly taps it then returns to the matched position. The other hand then replicates the movement and the process continues until the set is completed.


LADDERS: one of the classic campus exercises this is when both hands start together on a rung then move up the rungs without ever sharing on a rung ie. each hand will miss out the rung held by the other hand. They will only share when they reach the nominated finishing rung; the process is then reversed back to the starting position and continued as long as is required to complete the set.


OFFSET LADDERS; a slightly harder version of Ladders. Starting on the lowest rung move one hand to a higher rung eg, rung 3 then, holding the rung with one hand move the other to rung 4 and share  both hands on that rung.




DEADHANGS: with both hands together on a rung hang straight armed with your feet on the lowest kickboard rung.


LOCK OFFS: this is when you start with both hands together and your feet on one of the kickboard rungs, then pull up into a full lock, after 10 secs lower into a 90 degree lock and after another 10 secs step off.


TUCKS: as the deadhang but tuck your knees up as high as possible. This is the only footless exercise but if you can’t do this feet off put one foot on the highest kickboard rung you can manage. This is a tough exercise!




A description of what constitutes a single repetition will be made  for each exercise as they appear below. X amount of reps makes up 1 set and x amount of sets is what is required of you before you move onto the next exercise.





RUNG SIZE: 30mm or larger.


FEET: always on kickboard.


REST: 4 minutes between each exercise. Rest within exercise will be described below.


a). One Arm Pull Ups  2 sets of 3 reps each arm

Rest 1 minute between each set


b).Double Dynos  Start Left Hand Rung 1, Right Hand Rung1 then

LH2 RH2. Have 6 attempts and BE BRAVE!


c). Taps  Start:  (LH1 RH1 RH3/4 RH1 LH3/4 LH1) = 1rep. Repeat without stepping off 5-8 times = 1 set


d).Ladders  Start: (LH1 RH1 RH2 LH3 RH4 LH4 RH3 LH2 RH1 LH1) = 1 rep. Do 2 sets of 2 reps. 3 mins rest between sets.



SESSION TWO (at least 2 days after session one)




 This interval is made up of 8 sets consisting of 20 seconds exercise and 10 seconds rest which adds up to 3 minutes 50 seconds per Tabata. They are VERY GRUELLING and a training partner is useful to time you and, if required, push you on to prevent failure!  Aim to do this Tabata unassisted if possible.


RUNG SIZE: 30mm+

FEET: Feet on except for sets 7 & 8


1 Pull-ups:  20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest

2 Pull-ups: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest

3 Deadhangs: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest

4 Deadhangs: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest

5 Locks: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest

6 Locks: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest

7 Tucks: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest

8 Tucks: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest


If it seems too easy you can always do part/all the exercises feet off!