For next few days, REI will DOUBLE your gift to the Access Fund - up to $65,000. Donate Now!
Mountain Project Logo

Counterweight Campus System?


Original Post
Mike Hensley · · Lafayette, CO · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 25

Does anyone have any insight into how one might rig a counterweight campus system? I'd like to get some of the efficient strength benefits of campusing while also reducing my injury risk. Keeping my feet on a low rung or on the floor seems imprecise. Any thoughts here?

Jon Rhoderick · · Redmond, OR · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 865

I would rig a pulley system with mechanical advantage so that the weight wouldn't have to travel as far as you do if the campus move is tall

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 108

What kinds of injuries are you trying to avoid?

djh860 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 110

They make bands for that

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294

Here is a similar topic:

https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/113642140/pull-up-assist-band-for-campus-board


If you're open to advise, don't do it. If you cannot campus on the biggest rung at wherever you train, then don't use the campus board. Campus training is more than just strength, you're also training dynamic movement (however simple it is). Unlike the hangboard where you're loading your fingers statically, on a campus board you're loading your finger dynamically. Any sort of assistance (counterweight, rubber band) messes with your movement, and in my opinion, creates a higher risk for injuries.

Jer · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 25

p.s. not an ad, I paid full price

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294
Jer wrote:

p.s. not an ad, I paid full price

Funny you should mention Crimpwerks, I just bought a set and received it last week. But it's more of a "no hang" device like the Grippul and Gripster though, I don't see how it simulates campus training.

Matt C · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 0

Hey Aikibujin, curious how you like them?  Any feedback?  Yeah they're not really intended as a substitute for campus training, perhaps a segway however. They were designed to be used mostly with a cable weight machine (with which they work great) or some other resistance platform. 

Mike Hensley · · Lafayette, CO · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 25

I'm really curious about the "don't campus" line of thought, and I wonder if you guys would mind unpacking that for me a little bit. If injuries are caused by stress and stress is a function of weight, then wouldn't weight reduction (either through weight loss or a counterweight) reduce the risk of injury? If the line of thought is that campusing is unnecessary, because a person can climb 5.12 solely by using good technique, then doesn't it follow that a 5.12 climber might be just as weak (and therefore susceptible to injury) as someone who climbs at a lower grade? If so, why wait until you're climbing higher grades to start campusing?

To answer David's question, the only injury I've ever had from climbing was tendonitis in my elbows and fingers. None of it was serious, but the finger injury sidelined me for quite some time in college.

The thread aikibujin posted was helpful. Thanks for that. The recommendation to campus up jugs in the bouldering cave that I found in that thread seems right. I'm really looking to gain large muscle power as much as I'm looking for finger strength, so that seems like a good place for me to start.

RockinOut · · NY, NY · Joined May 2010 · Points: 100

Surgical tubing or bands. They make assist bands just for that...different colors are different strengths, depending on how much assist you want. 

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 108

Can anyone cite a study which shows that hangboarding/campusing increases injury risk as opposed to climbing? I haven't seen one and it doesn't make much sense, given hangboarding/campusing can be done with controlled proper form much more easily than general climbing.

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294
Matt C wrote:

Hey Aikibujin, curious how you like them?  Any feedback?  Yeah they're not really intended as a substitute for campus training, perhaps a segway however. They were designed to be used mostly with a cable weight machine (with which they work great) or some other resistance platform. 

I just got them last week, so haven't had a chance to really use them yet. But initial impression is that they're well made. I bought them due to their small size, I think they will be great for use when traveling. Just playing around with changing the holds, I noticed that I could *almost* bolt the second set of holds I ordered to the back of the base plate. I don't know how feasible is it to make the base plate thicker, but if there's a way to bolt holds to the front and back of the base plate, that could make them even better for traveling or just for general usage, because now you have instant access to two different edges without having to take out the hex wrench and change the holds. So in the weight room, a user can use a larger edge to warm up, then switch to a smaller edge for a harder work out.

Matt C · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 0

I am currently working on a very good solution to that very problem.  Stay tuned...

Pnelson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 380

There is no reason for anyone to take weight off while campusing.  Hangboarding, yes, but not campusing.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 568
David Kerkeslager wrote:

If you are climbing < 5.12, maybe even 5.13, campusing isn't going to make you a better climber. 

Do it if you enjoy it, but be careful and don't expect noticeable performance gains.

I don't have a study. 

If you don't believe me, try it for yourself and see.

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294
David Kerkeslager wrote:

Can anyone cite a study which shows that hangboarding/campusing increases injury risk as opposed to climbing? I haven't seen one and it doesn't make much sense, given hangboarding/campusing can be done with controlled proper form much more easily than general climbing.

First of all, hangboarding and campusing are not the same. I am actually a proponent of hangboarding (with counterweight) even for beginners, because I think it's a very measurable and controllable way to progressively strengthen the muscles and connective tissues for climbing. Done right it helps prevent injuries.

Campusing, on the other hand, is not easily measured and controlled. The gap in spacing and the size of the campus rungs is pretty dramatic compared to the infinite small adjustments you can make on a hangboard. Campusing is also a dynamic exercise. On a hangboard, you get your fingers in the correct position and then slowly pick your feet off the ground. If you're hanging on too small of a hold or hanging with too much weight, you're simply not going to be able to hang on for very long. Unless you go totally aggro on the hangboard, the risk of injury is very small. But when you're campusing, you're training power, which can be defined as force * distance / time. You're trying to generate the maximum amount of force in the shortest amount of time, so it's easy to put too much "try hard" in a campus move and injure yourself.

Not everything needs a "study" to prove the point. But if you don't believe those of us who say "don't campus", go ahead and experiment on yourself. If you don't blow a pulley in a year or two, you can come back and tell us we're wrong.

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 12,779

I don't remember climbing more than one or two easy 12s in my not-so-long climbing career (not that I care much). I very much doubt I could come close to sending a 5.12 just now.

But campusing surely helped me to climb harder both outdoors and indoors. Because it enabled me to have the dynamic finger strength to launch and latch long deadpoint moves. And to some extent the accuracy (and confidence) for latching those moves. Long deadpoints were a key thing holding me back from climbing harder (especially since I don't have an over-abundance of height or reach).

I've campused for lots of years. The only time I ever got injured was once when I tried to "stack" an evening campus workout after an afternoon of hard sport climbing. And I got a shoulder injury (not a finger injury). Which soon healed just fine.

As for "the first style" being uncontrolled . . . to me that sounds like saying that performing long deadpoints is uncontrolled -- and therefore any serious specific training for long deadpoints must be uncontrolled.

I would say that campusing is one of the less uncontrolled ways to train for long deadpoints. I'd prefer to train on a system board, but I don't have regular access to a system board or Moon board that is relevant to strength or style.

Ken

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 12,779
aikibujin wrote:

 if you don't believe those of us who say "don't campus", go ahead and experiment on yourself. If you don't blow a pulley in a year or two, you can come back and tell us we're wrong.

I've been campusing for years. I have not come even close to injuring a pulley.

Most of those years I was using Open grip. But then I noticed that my Crimp grip wasn't very strong. And I saw a video of bouldering champion Jan Hojer campusing with a Crimp grip.

Therefore in the last couple of years I've also been doing campus moves with a Crimp grip. 

. . . Still have not come even close to injuring a pulley tendon.

So I have indeed gone ahead and experimented on myself, and here I have come back to tell you:

You're wrong.

Ken

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 568

Ken, do you actually do feet off ladders on a standard campus board using a crimp grip?

Like 1-2-3-4-5? 

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,097

practically speaking, i would think that it would be difficult for a counterweight system to work very well while campusing.  I guess it could help when you are initially hanging, but if you can't dead hang a campus rung it is going to be really hard to actually do the campus moves.  i would think that as soon as you dropped the clutch and launched upwards, in most cases you would accelerate upwards faster than the plates would accelerate downwards.  this means a couple things: a) they won't be counterweighting you through the movement.  and b) when they do catch up with you it is going to be a slam fest, particularly if you slip off a rung.  ugghhh, i can see that being pretty shitty.  i don't see this working well, unless you campus slowly (which completely defeats the purpose of campusing).

if you are dead set on campusing, i would start with feet-on moves and gradually make the feet super shitty.  then, slowly try to work your way into standard ladders, etc.

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95
Mark E Dixon wrote:

If you are climbing < 5.12, maybe even 5.13, campusing isn't going to make you a better climber. 

Do it if you enjoy it, but be careful and don't expect noticeable performance gains.

This. Mark lays down the wisdom as usual. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply to "Counterweight Campus System?"
in the Training Forum

Log In to Reply