Trainer to the JStars: Part 1 – New Post on RCTM.com!

Check out my new post on “Trainer to the JStars – Part 1” over at RockClimbersTrainingManual.com:

“Over the past six months we’ve been extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to train one of America’s most accomplished sport climbers. I can say unequivocally that the experience has been one of the highlights of my varied climbing career. It’s every coach’s dream to work with the very best athletes within a given sport, and we are no different. While we have tremendous confidence in our program, and its long track-record of producing results for mortals like us, we’ve long ‘fantasized’ about recruiting an elite-level guinea pig for some next-level experimentation. Would it work for a top-level athlete? Can it be adapted to the full-time climbing schedule of a legit pro? There was only one way to find out, but we needed a strong climber with an open mind….”  Continue Reading

Announcements! – New Post on RCTM.com!

 Check out my new post on “Annoucements!”  over at RockClimbersTrainingManual.com:

“We are very pleased to announce a new feature of RCTM.com — a user forum! This will be a great tool for interacting with each other, and will hopefully facilitate the development of a vibrant international “Community of Interest” in rock climbing training. For now, the forum is hosted on Pro Boards.com, which is a great forum site with lots of functionality. We have a link to it in the menu bar at the top of the page (or you can click here)…” Continue Reading

Bonus Climbing – New Post on RCTM.com!

Check out my new post on “Bonus Climbing”  over at RockClimbersTrainingManual.com:

“…Lately it seems like my eyes are generally too big for my forearms; I’m continually selecting objectives that turn out to be harder than I expect, and take longer to send than I’d hoped. More often than not I have to extend the length of my seasons to send my projects, if I send at all. This season has been a nice exception from that trend! I was prepared to spend the entire season on Mission Impossible, but instead I sent on my third outdoor day. That left me with ample ‘fitness capital’ to expend on my endless list of potential objectives….”  Continue Reading

The Rock Climber’s Training Manual is NOW AVAILABLE!!!

The long winter is over—The Rock Climber’s Training Manual is finally available! If you’ve been waiting for this moment to order your copy, you can do so here. If you’re still on the fence, read some of the feedback the book has received here. It will probably be a while before distribution is set up and the book arrives in retail stores, so ordering online now is likely the quickest way to get your copy.

Seven towering pallets of The Rock Climber’s Training Manual arrived in Colorado on Thursday. After work I went up to Fixed Pin Publishing’s storage facility in Denver to see the goods and pick up a few crates of books. The books look great! It’s tempting to just sit and flip through it, but we still have a lot of work to do to get the books out to you!

One of seven pallets of The Rock Climber’s Training Manual. Your copy is in there somewhere!

One of seven pallets of The Rock Climber’s Training Manual. Your copy is in there somewhere!

Kate has graciously allowed me to convert our living room into a mini-shipping hub so we can get all the books signed, packaged, and shipped. We’re currently in the process of rapidly filling all the existing pre-orders (in the order they were received). I’ve learned more about the US Postal Service in the last week than I ever wanted to know. We expect to have all the pre-orders in the mail by the end of this week, and we will continue process new orders as we receive them.

Learning how to use a Pallet Jack–nothing could possibly go wrong with this :)

Learning how to use a Pallet Jack–nothing could possibly go wrong with this 🙂

The first batch of books went in the mail yesterday, so some of you should start receiving books any day now. We’re striving to get books out as quickly as we can; it’s a lot of work but it’s really rewarding. We’ve been working on this project for so long, and we can’t wait to get it out to the people we wrote it for. It’s pretty cool to see some of the addresses we’re shipping to; all over the US, Canada, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Ireland, Switzerland… Word is getting out and its very exciting.

Loading just shy of 1,000 pounds of books into my creaking Honda Civic.

Loading just shy of 1,000 pounds of books into my creaking Honda Civic.

To me this feels like the start of a big project—the project of sorting and filling hundreds of orders—but when I step back from what is right in front of me, I realize this event is also the end of a project that’s spanned 18 months. During this time period we’ve spent countless hours researching, brainstorming, writing, reviewing, and editing copy; scheduling photo-shoots, taking, selecting and editing photos; arranging, reviewing and revising layout; arranging for book reviews and marketing our concepts to climbers and media outlets. It’s been a lot of work, and we had a ton of help along the way.

Signing books and stuffing envelopes.

Signing books and stuffing envelopes.

Many people contributed time and resources to help us (see below), but first and foremost, this book never would have happened without all of the folks out there reading this blog. This project was originally conceived by the users of the Mountain Project Training Forum. They gave us the inspiration—and ultimately the motivation—to put our ideas on paper. They, along with my loyal ‘Lazy H Climbing Club’ followers, challenged us daily with questions and discussions that broadened our knowledge and motivated us to keep learning and exploring. We hope you feel like this project belongs to you as well as to us, and hopefully you can join in the modest sense of celebration (and relief) that we are experiencing today. Sometime in the future, when the dust in our shipping hub has settled, perhaps we can get together in person and share a toast to the end of this adventure.

RCTM_Acknowledgements

Introducing RockClimbersTrainingManual.com!

I’m very excited to announce the launch of RockClimbersTrainingManual.comRCTM.com will improve on this humble blog in just about every imagineable way.  First and foremost, my brother Mike will be an equal partner, providing his encyclopedic training wisdom.  Although Mike & I appear fairly similar on the outside, we have somewhat different approaches to training, and we emphasize different activities.  I know this community will benefit greatly from his perspective.  Mike has been completely off the grid since we started writing the book over a year ago, so this will give everyone a chance to engage with Mike again, and get his thoughts on various training and climbing matters.

Next, users will quickly notice that RCTM.com is more visually appealing, with many new, spectacular photos and a much cleaner look.  You will also notice RCTM.com is far better organized than this pathetic cluster of a website 🙂  There are categories for different aspects of training and performance, with an easy to follow menu in the website header that will make it easy for you to navigate between topics. 

Home ScreenshotThere is certainly an advertising aspect to the new site–we want people to to find us when they google “Rock Climber’s Training Manual”, we want to encourage climbers to consider trying the Rock Prodigy method, and we want the site to explain what readers can expect to get from our book.  Furthermore, once the book is available we will be selling autographed copies through RCTM.com (if you’d like to be notified once we’ve begun accepting pre-orders, go here to sign up). 

However, RCTM.com will be much more than a static marketing tool.  It will be a live blog, just like this one, with weekly posts, and other new content added regularly (for those who check in periodically to look for new blog posts, you’ll want to click on the Articles Page to see a chronological history of latest posts).   Posts will also be organized by training phases and/or performance styles, so if you just want to know about Power Training for example, it will be easy to find all the posts related to that topic on the Power page.  We’ll also use the site to solicit feedback about both the book and the program, so that we can make the second edition that much better.  If you would like to share a testimonial about your experience with the Rock Prodigy method, please do so here.

While the framework for the site is based on our upcoming book, we want the site to be interactive and constantly evolving.  Our dream is to build a community of climbing training enthusiasts who can collaborate to further the community’s training knowledge.  We really want to encourage questions, comments, and other perspectives.  Users will have opportunities to contribute content, in an effort to achieve more than a one-way flow of information.  If you have questions, please ask!  If you have an idea for an article you’d like to contribute, please let us know!  Also, if you notice any bugs with the new site, tell us.

All of the content on this blog has been migrated to RCTM.com, including all of the great comments and questions that folks have submitted over the years.  The Lazy H Climbing Club will likely be riding off into the sunset soon, so please take the time to Bookmark RCTM.com and join me on the migration to greener pastures.  In the mean time, I will post links on Lazy H for any new posts that are added to RCTM.com.  For the many folks out there who are ‘Following’ this blog, please take the time to follow RCTM.com (go to RCTM.com, and click the gray “Follow” box in the lower right corner of your browser.  If your browser doesn’t display this box, click here, scroll down, and then click the button labeled “Follow The Rock Climber’s Training Manual” on the right sidebar). 

Follow Instructions1

ORFollow Instructions2

The experience of running The Lazy H Climbing Club has been transformative.  It’s not a stretch to say that without this vehicle, The Rock Climber’s Training Manual never would have been written.  Thank you so much for your interest, your questions, your comments, and your likes.  They kept me going and motivated me to push further into the unknown.  I’ll see you all over at RCTM.com!

Mark Anderson

What I Got for Christmas

Christmas came a week early for me this year.  While driving Logan home from downtown Denver to see the impressive light display at City Hall, I received a call from my friend and publisher Jason Haas.  The “Proof” of the Rock Climber’s Training Manual had arrived from the printer!  The proof is a collection of various test-printings of the completed book.  In our case, it included:

  • The finished, laminated cover,
  • Two large sheets of glossy paper each showing 8 “representative” printed pages (printed with the actual ink that will be used, on the actual paper that will be used)
  • The entire 304 page book (printed with inexpensive paper & ink)
  • The entire 1-season Logbook (printed with inexpensive paper & ink)
  • The entire 1-year Logbook (printed with inexpensive paper & ink)
The two large sheets showing the finished look of 16 representative pages.

The two large sheets showing the finished look of 16 representative pages.

The purpose of the 8-page sheets is to verify that the printed colors look “true” (that is, they look they way we want them to look).  It’s actually not that easy to get printed material to look exactly the way it does on a computer screen, and its more art than science that often takes some trial and error to get dialed-in correctly.  One reason for this is that computers use “RGB” format (literally Red-Green-Blue) to represent colors, and printers use CMYK (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Key (black)).  That, and every computer monitor is slightly different, is adjusted differently, and displays the same image slightly differently.

All 304 pages of the book.  These are printed in 16-page "Signatures", which are then bound together to form the book.  The RCTM has 19 signatures.  As you can see by the color marks at the top and bottom of each page, these haven't been cropped to actual size.

All 304 pages of the book. These are printed in 16-page “Signatures”, which are then bound together to form the book. The RCTM has 19 signatures. As you can see by the color marks at the top and bottom of each page, these haven’t been cropped to actual size.

The low-fidelity printed books are used to verify that all the columns of text, figures, pictures, numbering, etc, are properly aligned and ordered.  Apparently it’s not uncommon for a page to appear multiple times, out of order, or in some other whacky configuration. 

I went over to Jason’s house Thursday night to check out the proof.  It was really exciting to see the entire book printed in actual size.  It’s one thing to scan through a PDF; it’s quite another to hold it in your hand.  The first thing I noticed is how visually stunning it is–there’s something interesting to look at on virtually every page.  We put a lot of effort into the figures and they look excellent.  There are also many, many stunning images from some outstanding pro photographers, and the photos look great.  There was one slight problem with some of the trasparent blue colors in our figures appearing lavendar.  We will bring this up with the printer to see if it can be improved, but its probably not a showstopper.  Our primary concern is that the photos look good and they do.

The Fixed Pin brain trust examining each page of the book for errors.  Ben on the left, Jason on the right.

The Fixed Pin team examining each page of the book for errors. Ben on the left, Jason on the right.

We found various nit-picky errors like text boxes that weren’t properly “justified”, but nothing major.  We made notes of all these and Jason has already corrected them and uploaded a new master file to the printer.  The covers we received were printed in “matte” rather than laminated, so we will ask for them to re-send laminated covers.  Aside from that the covers looked sharp.

The cover proof.

The next step is to discuss our feedback with the printer, then they can start pringing actual books.  They will overnight the first copy off the press to us so we can make one last check that everything looks good.  At that point we should have a good estimate of a release date for the book.  With the holidays in full swing we probably won’t hear much for at least another week, but I’m excited for the press to start churning out books in the near future.

Off To The Printer

The Rock Climber’s Training Manual has been sent to the printer!  That means as far as my contributions are concerned, the book is “done”.  According to the guys at Fixed Pin, it normally takes about 3 months from the time the book is submitted to the printer until it arrives on bookshelves. 

The cover spread.  Mike took the cover photo of me on To Bolt Or Not To Be at Smith Rock.  The back cover includes some awesome feedback from our early reviewers.

The cover spread. Mike took the cover photo of me on To Bolt Or Not To Be at Smith Rock. Click on the photo to read the awesome praise on the Back Cover from our early reviewers.

Once the printer has the electronic file, they scan all the pages to ensure everything is of sufficient resolution for printing.  Then they will select 16 “representative” pages and print these all (in color) on one giant sheet of paper, which they will air-mail to Fixed Pin.  This will give us one last chance to review the colors and make sure everything looks “right”.  If we see any problems, we highlight them and send the sheet back to the printer.  Once they get the green light, they’ll configure the press to begin printing books.  Once the presses start running, the first book off the press is over-nighted to the publisher, and we have one last chance to “stop the presses” before the full run is completed. 

Once the books are printed, they’ll air-mail a small quantity of books (which are mostly used for promotional purposes), and the rest are boxed and put on a ship.  A large portion of the “3-month” process is consumed by the cargo ship crossing the Pacific Ocean.  If we’re lucky, the books clear customs without any snags and then they will be ready for distribution.

If all goes well, hopefully we will see it in stores/online by Valentine’s Day; tell your sweetheart: nothing says I love you like a climbing training book 🙂

Where There’s A Will, There’s a Way to Weigh Less

Performance rock climbing is all about strength-to-weight ratio.  We tend to fixate on the “strength” side while ignoring the “weight”.  Perhaps because the strength side of the equation seems actionable, and the weight side is all about restraint.  The reality is that losing weight is probably the easiest thing a climber can do to improve.  Unlike strength and technique, body weight can be improved substantially in a matter of weeks.  However, many people just feel powerless to affect their body type.  There is also now a bizzare element of social pressure to discourage any form of dieting, or even any interest in healthy eating.

There’s a story circulating right now about former NFL Offensive Lineman Matt Birk.  Birk recently retired from football and sought a lifestyle change for the sake of his health.  He dropped 75 pounds over the course of eight months.  I found the before and after photos pretty inspiring; he looks like a totally different person:

Matt Birk, before and after.

Matt Birk, before and after.

I didn’t start paying attention to my weight until 2011, and that is probably the single biggest training mistake I’ve made in my career.  I would weigh myself before hangboard workouts, but that was just to better understand my training intensity for that day’s workout.  I never weighed myself during my performance phase.  And I used to eat garbage, mostly.  When I first got out of college, I would routinely consume an entire 12-pack of Dr. Pepper cans over the course of 2-day weekend trip to the Utah dessert.  My staples were pizza (usually frozen/cardboard) and spaghetti.  At the time I felt I was pretty fit and healthy (amazingly), because I excercised all the time.  While exercise certainly can help, its very easy to wipe out hours of exercise in a few minutes of over-eating.  Furthermore, often excercise increases your appetite, making dieting much more difficult (these days, when I’m trying to get lean, I limit my exercise to a few brisk walks throughout the day.  I save the intense cardio work for the months when I’m not concerned about my weight). 

This picture was taken around 1999.  I'm on the left.  Definitely not lean and mean.  When I look at pictures of myself from this period its easy to see why I was struggling to climb 5.11

This picture was taken around 1999. I’m on the left. Definitely not lean and mean. When I look at pictures of myself from this period its easy to see why I was struggling to climb 5.11

Any serious climber should have good muscle definition throughout their body.  If you don’t, you could probably stand to lose some weight, and the amount may surprise you.  For me, the difference between my mom thinking I’m skinny and actually being skinny is about 10 pounds.  Anyone with hangboard experience knows that’s a huge amount of weight to your fingers, and so, a tremendous variable in climbing performance (obviously the amount will vary from climber to climber).

If you’re already lean, you may be able to trim a significant number of pounds by shedding un-needed mass in your lower body.  If that sounds like you, see this post.

The rest of us just need to go on a diet! It’s easy to adopt a fatalistic attitude, but the fact is we have a great deal of control over our destiny.  The human body is amazingly “plastic”, meaning it can adapt and change to suit different needs.  Even for those at the advanced age of 37, like Matt Birk ;). 

There are many healthy and reliable ways to lose weight, but I think the biggest barrier facing most climbers is simply that they don’t believe its possible, or important. A lot of people think that weight loss can only be accomplished through copious amounts of suffering and self-denial, but making a few simple substitutions in your diet can go a long way. Our upcoming book has an extensive and thoroughly researched chapter on Weight Management, so I won’t go into too much detail, but here are a few quick tips:

  • Get a scale and use it daily; it can be very motivating
  • Eat lots of veggies, and most fruits are ok too
  • Protein and Fiber are your friends; eat a reasonable amount of LEAN protein each day (not a full rack of pork ribs), and eat as much fiber as you can stand
  • Avoid eating foods high in carbohydrates (basically anything that tastes good when you’re already full)
  • Don’t drink anything but water

For example, instead of whatever you normally eat for lunch, try a salad of spinach, bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and tuna, dressed in a modest amount of balsamic vinagrette.  You could eat these foods until your stomach is on the verge of exploding and still loose weight.  For dinner, eat a lean piece of grilled chicken breast or grilled fish, with sides of steamed vegetables (like brocolli or sparagus).  Skip the rice, potatoes, bread, etc.  If you crave lots of sweets like me, load up on fruits (watermelon is king, but canteloupe, grapes, apples and pears are good options too).

If you choose to go on a diet, remember there is a point of diminishing returns.  Your body needs energy to perform well, and constantly starving yourself will inhibit your performance more than an extra pound of lost weight will help. Experiment with different healthy weights until you find that “sweet spot” where you perform at your best.  For me, I’ve gotten down to 139 pounds in recent years, but I find I perform the best around 143-145 lb.  At that weight I’m more energetic, I have a better attitude, and I’m still resistant to illness and injury.

A leaner me, in 2013, age 35.

A leaner me, in 2013, age 35.

Excessive, persistent dieting can lead to injury and illness.  Most serious athletes will “cycle” their weight management on and off, as with physical training.  That’s great news for people like me who love food!  That means you can have periods of enjoying life’s many treats, and periods where you buckle down and send (that said, “yo-yo dieting” can wreak havoc on your metabolism, making weight loss extremely difficult, so keep your variations within reason). 

When I’m ARCing and hangboarding, I eat pretty much whatever I want within reason (although I have a fairly healthy diet now, even when I’m not on a diet).  I aim to stay within 10 lbs of my goal weight, but otherwise I will eat (and drink) whatever I please. During my power phase I begin adjusting my eating habits, with the goal of reaching my ideal sending weight near the end of my performance phase.

Weight is a tremendous factor in performance–as important as strength.  Fortunately its actually pretty easy to manage once you learn how.  If you have any other tips for healthy weight loss, please post them in a comment below.

Good Things Come in Threes

It’s been a nice long summer and as usual I’ve been neglecting my blog. I have some good excuses this time around though. I’ve been really busy the last six months or so working on three exciting projects (well, two really). The first one came to fruition on June 28th, when my second child, Amelie Karen Anderson was born. I will concede, my contribution to the initial 9-month phase of this project was minimal, and admittedly not all that time-consuming 🙂 though the beginning of the 18-year second phase has kept me quite busy over the last two months. Amelie came out happy and healthy and Kate is doing great.

copyright Katy Moses Huggins 2012

Amelie Karen Anderson at one week, photo copyright Katy Moses Huggins 2013

At this point we are beginning to adjust to life with two children. The adjustment from one to two is much easier than the adjustment from zero to one, but that said, having two is really hectic. With one child, parents can tag-team and its not too difficult to get some alone time. With two, both parents are occupied most of the time. Logan’s arrival didn’t really affect my climbing life until he was about a year old, but I think having two will make climbing quite a bit more difficult. Just the sheer volume of crap (literally, in some cases) that has to be hauled to and from the crag is overwhelming. Fortunately we live in a place with lots of crag options. We may have to be more selective for a while but I’m sure we’ll find a way to make it work.

The next two projects I’ve been working on were just unveiled at the Outdoor Retailer show last week, so its time to let the cat out of the bag. First, I’m co-authoring a book with my brother Mike Anderson on the subject of climbing training, tentatively titled The Rock Climber’s Training Manual. The book will be published by Fixed Pin Publishing and will hopefully be out some time this winter. Mike and I have been kicking around the idea of writing a training book for many years, at the suggestion of many different people. The book is loosely based on “The Making of A Rockprodigy”, a training article Mike wrote for Rockclimbing.com. Many climbers have had tremendous success using the Rock Prodigy training method and they have encouraged us to write something more expansive.

We began hashing out an outline in early November, and spent all winter writing more than 300 pages of copy for fifteen chapters. Here’s a preview of the table of contents to give you a rough idea of what the book is all about:

Part I: Taking Action

– Chapter 1: Introduction
– Chapter 2: Goal Setting and Planning
– Chapter 3: Skill Development

Part II: Physical Training

– Chapter 4: Foundations of Physical Training
– Chapter 5: Base Fitness
– Chapter 6: Strength
– Chapter 7: Power
– Chapter 8: Power Endurance
– Chapter 9: Rest, Injury Prevention, and Rehabilitation
– Chapter 10: Building a Training Plan and Other Training Considerations
– Chapter 11: Weight Management

Part III: Performing

– Chapter 12: Preparing to Perform
– Chapter 13: Red-Point and On-Sight Climbing
– Chapter 14: Traditional and Big Wall Free Climbing
– Chapter 15: Bouldering

Fixed Pin began the layout work in March, and we conducted a couple of photoshoots with Tommy Caldwell and Paige Claasen to help illustrate the concepts described in the book. The book will be in full color with more than 200 figures and pictures. If nothing else, I’m confident this will be the most visually appealing training book every produced! At this point the layout is almost complete and with a bit of luck the book should be off to the printer in a few weeks.

IMG_5829

Photoshoot strategery at Movement Climbing Gym with Tommy, Paige and my publisher, Jason Haas.

I’m really proud of this book. It was a ridiculous amount of work, but I think it will help a lot of people and it breaks a lot of new ground. Readers will notice right away that its very prescriptive. The book tells the reader exactly what to do and when, but it also goes to great lengths to educate the climber on how to tailor the workouts and schedule to meet his or her own specific needs. I think people want a step-by-step guide that removes the guess work form training, and that is exactly what this book does. Climbers with more training experience will easily be able to evolve the programs detailed in the book and make them their own, but at the same time beginners can follow each workout exactly as described and see amazing results.  The book also includes a helpful “Quick Start Guide” that will allow the reader to get to work immediately so they don’t have to read the book cover-to-cover before they can get started.

Many other books provide a catalogue of potential training activities, and then leave it up to the reader to decide how and when to put those activities together. This book provides an easy to follow formula for identifying a specific goal or set of goals, then explains exactly how to devise a comprehensive plan for attaining the goal, along with a detailed schedule explaining exactly which training activities to perform and when. No other resource spells out how to make your climbing dream into a reality quite like this.

CH9 draft1 high_Page_6

Sample page from Chapter 9. Photos on the lower left courtesy of Frederik Marmsater.

Furthermore, every exercise, tactic, plan, etc, we describe in the book is something we know works, because we actually do it ourselves. There are other books out there that go way out on a limb, describing exercises and training methods that the author obviously has never used (at least not extensively). This is not one of those books. The techniques and methods described in our book have been extensively tested and proven to produce serious (5.14-serious) results.

The project started as a detailed manual on physical training, but it also provides plenty of practical information on other improtant topics like skill development, weight-management, injury prevention and rehabilitation, and on-the-rock strategy and tactics. In particular, this is the first book I’m aware of that discusses strategy and tactics for Big Wall Free Climbing. Check back here for more details and status updates as the release date approaches.

The first sketch of the hangboard

The first sketch of the hangboard

The third and final “project” I referred to was spawned by the book. In February, after reviewing some of the early drafts of the book, my friend Adam Sanders at Trango texted me to see if I would be interested in designing a hangboard. I’ve long–well “fantasized” is really the appropriate word–about designing a hangboard. I’ve been using hangboards seriously for training for more than twelve years, and I’ve been through countless boards over that time. I’ve never been satisfied with any hangboard, and I’ve come up with many ideas on how to improve the concept. I was really excited by this opportunity, so I put together some concept sketches for Trango. 

In my view, there are three primary innovations with this product.  The most fundamental and obvious is the two-piece design, which has a number of benefits, including eliminating dead space and wasted plastic in the center of the board, allowing the board to fit climbers of different shoulder widths (thus reducing injury risk to shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers), and allowing for more “clearance” for inactive fingers when using pocket grips.  The next second innovation is the pinch design.  Without going into a bunch of detail, I’ll just boast that the pinches on this board will blow all other commercial hangboard pinches out of the water!  Finally, this board incorporates a variable depth rounded edge that will allow climbers with different finger sizes to find a nice, comfy edge that is repeatable while allowing for steady progression to smaller and smaller edges (more on this later).

HB Sketch Rev2

After about a week of discussing with various hangboard experts (Mike and Lamont), the sketch evolved into this.

Often you start with a noble vision, but reality, budget constraints, the laws of physics, and so forth get in the way. When Trango responded to my concept sketches I knew I had found the right partner. Trango was completely supportive of my ‘outside the box’ vision for the hangboard, and trusted me to make the board the way I wanted to. The result is something that will be both innovative and practical. My hope is that the “Rock Prodigy Training Center by Trango” will be a leap forward for hangboard design.

Lamont's CAD Model.

Lamont’s 3D CAD Model.

To be blunt, designing a hangboard is much harder than it looks, and that is why so many boards fall short. I learned this early on in the process, so we took our time with this board. I built mock-ups of all the grips so I could test them to ensure they were comfortable and ergonomic, but still challenging. My friend Lamont Smith built a CAD model of the design so we could tweak hold locations and shapes. We spent literally months fine-tuning the dual-texture finish to come up with a final result that looks good, performs well, and doesn’t trash your skin.

An early prototype of the left half, testing different texture options.

An early prototype of the left half, testing different texture options.

The Training Center should be available for purchase by early October. I will post a full (though admiteddly somewhat biased) review here before its released, including a detailed explanation of why its designed the way it is. I will aslo let everyone know when and where to get it. Trust me, if you have any interest in ever using a hangboard, you’re gonna want one of these!

Both halves in action.  This is another prototype before we settled on the final texture solution.

Both halves in action. This is another prototype before we settled on the final texture solution.