A hang board – also known as fingerboard – is a type of training tools that help strengthen the fingers. This workout tool is often used by rock climbers to develop a better grip for a steadier climb as well as to tone and strengthen the upper body. Other than developing the best technique, it’s essential to get the right hang board to start your workout! If you’re on the hunt for a hang board, we’ve reviewed some of the best products available online to narrow down your search.
Image used under Creative Commons from CAYL bouldering
Table of Contents
The Best Hangboards
- Portable design
- Fine texture
- Excellent symmetry
- Not suitable for expert climbers
- Ergonomically designed to prevent injuries
- Easy to install, all-in-package
- Excellent texture
- Requires additional board for mounting
- Innovative design
- Enhances finger strength, control, and precision
- Ergonomically designed to prevent injuries
- Harder to mount
- Easy assembly
- Unique combination of holds
- Foam padding and felt covers to prevent friction burns
- Creaks when used
- Holds sold separately
- Suitable for intermediate to advanced climbers
- Easy installation
- Textured finish for better training
Metolius Rock Rings 3D
The Metolius Rock Rings 3D is a set of mini hang boards that feature innovative holds for effective training. Each set comes with a pair of independent mini hang board trainers with each one featuring flexible, single point suspension. It also comes with an instructional and training guide.The Metolius Rock Rings 3D helps you develop stronger fingers by allowing the rotation of the joints so you can maximize your workout. This feature also reduces the risk of injuries during training. Because it’s not mountable (you simply hang the units), they are perfectly portable and installation is so easy. We love the fine texture of the material so the Metolius Rock Rings 3D aren’t hard on the skin.
This product is suitable for beginners because of the excellent grip. The only downside is that advanced user may find the holds too easy to grip so the Metolius Rock Rings 3D aren’t for everyone. This produce gets plus points for its innovative design and the excellent symmetry. For this Amazon user, the Metolius Rock Rings 3D is the perfect hang board for newbies and intermediate climbers alike:
Awesome pull-up bar add-on grip strengthener! These are pretty awesome as an accessory for a pull-up bar for a beginner/intermediate climber who isn’t ready to jump for a full hangboard…. Great for training finger and tendon strength for dead hangs and pull-ups. Combining grips (4 finger one hand, 2 other hand) is a great way to progress. Highly recommended as a beginner at-home grip tool.
Metolius Simulator 3D Training Board
The Metolius Simulator 3D is the much larger sibling to the Metolius Rock Rings 3D. This full hang board features a great variety of holds that advanced to expert climbers will love. The holds are large enough that they train the fingers effectively but not too large that it makes training a breeze. This challenging hang board will build finger strength gradually. It’s also ergonomically designed to reduce injuries during training.We like the shape of the board, which tapers from the bottom in both dimensions because it offers better forearm clearance. The holds are placed along the broad arc that tapers downward so you’re not gonna pull the wrong muscle during training. The package comes with a comprehensive instructional guide, a training guide and all the mounting hardware you need to start your training.
Overall, we are impressed with the quality and durability of the Metolius Simulator 3D. We did not come across major issues while using this board save for the fact that you have to add another mounting board before mounting this product, something that does not sit well with some users. We feel that the Metolius brand should’ve informed customers about the additional mounting board explicitly on the package just to avoid any surprises. For this Amazon customer who gave the Metolius Simulator 3D a five-star rating, the product is highly recommended for its effectiveness and excellent design:
Lots of holds, lots of exercises. Using this training board has had an obviously positive effect on my climbing at the gym. Training with open hand techniques, following the Metolius guide has developed my arms quickly. Highly recommended for people serious about boosting their training quick. I went from working V1s to V3s in a month.
Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center
The Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center is a hang board that features an updated, proprietary design that gently but consistently trains the fingers for strength and precision. This hang board features a smoother texture that protects the skin from friction burns while improving control while you train. The Rock Prodigy hang board also offers smaller holds that support small crimp grip and a bumper on the pinch so you can pick up your pace during your workout.
This well-designed hang board offers great results as long as you train hard and consistently. This product is easy to use, the quality is impressive and it’s durable too. Our only gripe is that the hang board is harder to install than other training boards because the set comes with two separate units. As such, you have to make sure the units are spaced out perfectly during mounting. Also, this product is best for advanced to expert climbers, not the best choice if you’re starting out. For this Amazon user, the Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center is an excellent board and one you get the hang of it, you won’t find a better hang board:
Because all the holds and dimensions are similar to the older Rock Prodigy hangboard, the newer hangboard by Trango is suitable for beginners and expert climbers alike. This is a really well thought out hangboard designed By Mike and Mark Anderson. Very ergonomic on the joints, plus the variably textured surfaces are very skin friendly. This will not tear up your skin like your garden variety board will. Don’t buy other hang boards – buy this hang board. And while you’re at it, get their book on training – “The Rock Climber’s Training Manual”. You won’t regret it.
Blank Slate Climbing Trainer
The Blank Slate Climbing Trainer is a mountable hang board that promises to provide excellent training without damaging your wall during installation. This hang board features a unique combination of jugs, slopes, and holds to build finger strength gradually. The board also features foam padding, felt covering to prevent friction burns during training. It also features a slot mechanism so it fits different door widths.
The holds are sold separately, which may be frustrating to some but we think that’s somewhat an advantage because you’ll be able to truly customize the board according to your preferred level of difficulty. The board is made from high-quality Baltic Birchwood and powder-coated steel frame; it’s nice, thick and durable so there’s no fear of it breaking down training after training. Once fully mounted using the burly bolts included in the set, there’s pronounced creaking here and there but the board itself feels solid when used and it can support up to 280 pounds of weight. Overall, this is an excellent hang board and we love the fact that it’s customizable. An Amazon customer loved the Blank Slate Climbing Trainer’s quality and performance:
The holds are sold separately, which may be frustrating to some because of the way the product is marketed on Amazon (the hangboard and the additional holds are pictured together) but we think that’s somewhat an advantage because you’ll be able to truly customize the board according to your preferred level of difficulty. The board is made from high-quality Baltic Birchwood and powder-coated steel; it’s nice, thick and durable so there’s no fear of it breaking down training after training. Once fully mounted using the burly bolts included in the set, there’s pronounced creaking here and there but the board itself feels solid when used and it can support up to 280 pounds of weight. Overall, this is an excellent hang board and we love the fact that it’s customizable. An Amazon customer loved the Blank Slate Climbing Trainer’s quality and performance:
This is the best piece of home workout equipment I’ve ever owned, would definitely recommend to anyone that enjoys climbing.
The Black Peacemaker Hangboard
The Black Peacemaker is a hang board that features a variety of jugs, slopes, rails and pockets to improve finger strength and endurance. It’s an excellent hang board for intermediate to advanced climbers. The board has a dimension of 3.2 x 7 x 29.5 inches, which is quite massive. Mounting this hardboard is fairly simple and easy, it won’t take you longer than 30 minutes. The kit comes with two burly bolts and these are the only components you need to mount the board. And once mounted and tested, the Peacemaker is solid as a rock and can take quite a beating.
We can’t help but love the textured finish of the hang board, it really made a difference in training the fingers in terms of building strength and precision. The pockets, varying pinches and crimp rows add challenge to your training; we totally broke a lot of personal records after using this hang board. This product gets an A+ on quality and performance and there’s not much negative worth noting except the price, which is double the price of similar products. Some users say that the board is not as large as described but we feel that the size is subjective. For this happy customer, though, the Black Peacemaker is a worthy investment:
This was my first board, that I mounted on a low-profile blank slate climbing and it works great. I like that its got a great texture for the slope, and the jugs are nice.
Buying Guide and Other Tips
An Introduction to Hangboard Training
A climber’s weakness is always the fingers and hang board training is designed to strengthen the fingers for power lifting. The training almost always requires a hang board.
A hang board is a mountable board with jugs and slots. It doesn’t take much to learn the basics of the workout. Essentially, you are training your fingers to hold on to tiny crevices and power lift while hanging on a training board. Because hang boards feature slopes and jugs, the workout can be intense but short. The training is rarely easy but never severe.
The key to using a hang board is to build power gradually. That means you have to warm up thoroughly before you work on your grips. And when you proceed with the grips, don’t hang on for more than 10 seconds.
Ideally, your goal should be to perform 5 to 8 sets per session to achieve optimal results. That said, it’s important to pace yourself during training because it’s all too easy to misuse the hang board and excessive strain on the fingers will lead to tendon damage and elbow injuries.
Image used under Creative Commons from Mark Doliner
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Hangboard
Hangboards have been a part of rock climbers’ training for years simply because these tools improve finger strength effectively and significantly. It’s a great training board for beginners and advanced climbers alike. Of course, there are certain things you need to consider before purchasing this workout tool. Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind when checking out different hang boards:
Hangboards feature slopes and jugs or “holds,” which you’ll use to hang on to the board. The holds come in varying shapes and sizes, some of which are so small; you can barely use them to hang from.
The idea is to train yourself to hang on to the tiniest crevices for a few seconds or so to climb better in real life. They should not allow you to hang on for more than 10 seconds. Choose a hang board that come with a few holds that you’re likely to fall off after 7 to 10 seconds. If the holds are too large that you can hold on forever, then it’s not the best hang board for you.
Hangboards are typically made of three different materials: wood, polyurethane, and polyester resin. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages, which we highlighted below:
Wood generates less friction so the level of difficulty is high without causing friction burns on the fingers. Wooden hang board offer excellent edges and pockets as well as great but slippery slopes. The downside of wooden hang boards is that the hold sizes come in limited size. Also, wooden hang boards tend to have dismal pinches.
Hangboard made from polyester resin are durable and efficient in terms of training the fingers because the material can be molded into any shape. As such, most hang board made from polyester resin offers diverse shapes that are not seen from their wooden counterparts. The downsides of polyester resin hang boards are that the texture can be rough on the skin and the punishing friction gets even worse when you’re training in hot, humid spaces.
Hangboards made from polyurethane resin are lighter and less likely to chip during mounting. It offers the same unique holds as hang boards made from polyester resin. But just like polyester hang boards, polyurethane hang boards are rough on the skin and more likely to break down faster than its wooden and polyester counterparts.
As far as difficulty level goes, the difference of difficulty level between hang boards varies significantly. While there are no true “easy” boards, opt for a product that forces you to work harder to achieve stronger fingers without causing injuries. If a board makes hanging or climbing all too easy, you’re not maximizing your training.