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Pulley System for Hangboards


Original Post
Connor Erickson · · Brandon, SD · Joined 26 days ago · Points: 0

What would you guys use for a counterweight when hangboarding?

Dan Gozdz · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0

I was just putting a chair in a position that I could put my feet on it. I could control how much weight I wanted taking off by pushing more or less with my legs. If you rig a pulley you could use something like this https://www.lpgmuscle.com/shop/weight-plate-holder-loading-pin-6-standard-olympic or anything else that you could attach to your cable/cordage like a backpack with textbooks. Just make sure it's hanging away from sensitive areas in case you go down and it comes up.

Kevin Heinrich · · Kinda All Over · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 45

As a cheap bastard I used gallons of water and a backpack full of bricks for my super weak holds. A gallon of water is ~8.5 lbs.

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 745

Not sure what you mean... weight plates?

you have a pulley with rope running through it, one end of the rope attaches to your harness, the other end of the rope gets whatever weight you are trying to subtract.

I tie figure 8s on both ends of the rope, a carabiner will attach it to my harness, and I have several short pieces of rope and old webbing that I thread through the hole in weight plates and then attach the weights with a carabiner to the other side if the pulley rope. 

John Byrnes · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 577
Dan Gozdz wrote: I was just putting a chair in a position that I could put my feet on it. 

Dan's right.  Place it out in front of you, put your feet on it.  Then further out... one leg... etc.   Way easier than rigging a pulley system that's gonna be useless in a few weeks when you get stronger.  

Personally, I'll sometimes use a 5-gallon bucket with some weight in it so it stays put.  I've had chairs move on me.
Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,104
Lena chita wrote: Not sure what you mean... weight plates?

you have a pulley with rope running through it, one end of the rope attaches to your harness, the other end of the rope gets whatever weight you are trying to subtract.

I tie figure 8s on both ends of the rope, a carabiner will attach it to my harness, and I have several short pieces of rope and old webbing that I thread through the hole in weight plates and then attach the weights with a carabiner to the other side if the pulley rope. 

This,  If you want to be able to accurately track your training, it is by far the easiest way.  Using a chair with your feet on it as is being suggested is an absolutely terrible idea it you are actually interested in repetability and tracking.

b leary · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 36

I saw a picture the other day of Shauna Coxsey hangboarding with her feet on a bathroom scale. Seems like a simple, clever way to monitor how much weight is on your feet without using a more complicated pulley system...

Mike McKinnon · · Golden, CO · Joined Aug 2003 · Points: 65
Ken Noyce wrote:

This,  If you want to be able to accurately track your training, it is by far the easiest way.  Using a chair with your feet on it as is being suggested is an absolutely terrible idea it you are actually interested in repetability and tracking.

You need repeatable and trackable resistance if you are going to progress. Putting your feet on a chair where some days you push harder with your feet (and feel strong) and other days you push less hard (and feel weak). How are you supposed to know if you are getting stronger if you cant track the resistance?


Setting up a pulley system with weights is simple. Eyelet pulley, rope and some 2.5 and 5 lb plates. Done. 
reboot · · . · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 125
Ken Noyce wrote:

Using a chair with your feet on it as is being suggested is an absolutely terrible idea it you are actually interested in repetability and tracking.

While correct, it does beg the question "to what end"? If you have that kind of personality then sure. It's hard to argue it's absolutely necessary (up to some variance) for training to be effective; I doubt most of us achieved our best at our absolute physical peak under the most ideal rock condition.

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,655
b leary wrote: I saw a picture the other day of Shauna Coxsey hangboarding with her feet on a bathroom scale. Seems like a simple, clever way to monitor how much weight is on your feet without using a more complicated pulley system...

That's a good way of doing it if you don't have plates or dumbells/kettleballs or whatever else.  A pulley system isn't that complicated though.  I use two actual pulleys, one directly in front of me and another 4 ft or so to the side, so that the weight is out of your way when you're hanging.  If you don't have pulleys, you can buy the plastic pulley wheels- very cheap and put them on a round stock biner.  Plates are relatively inexpensive too.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,104
reboot wrote:

While correct, it does beg the question "to what end"? If you have that kind of personality then sure. It's hard to argue it's absolutely necessary (up to some variance) for training to be effective; I doubt most of us achieved our best at our absolute physical peak under the most ideal rock condition.


Correct, which is why I prefaced my post with "If you want to be able to accurately track your training", obviously you can progress without tracking it, but at least for me it is nice to be able to quantify that progression.

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 119
John Byrnes wrote:

Dan's right.  Place it out in front of you, put your feet on it.  Then further out... one leg... etc.   Way easier than rigging a pulley system that's gonna be useless in a few weeks when you get stronger.

When you get stronger, there are harder holds and grips, which can't always be worked into simply by increasing load on easier holds. Any one-handed grips, for example, will take a long time to not need a pulley, and use significantly different muscles than two-handed grips, making it difficult to work into them by simply increasing load on two-handed grips.

Floyd Eggers · · Kennewick, WA · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 251

Would a bungee system work for this? Gyms use them for helping folks do pull ups.

John Byrnes · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 577
John Byrnes wrote: Dan's right.  Place it out in front of you, put your feet on it.  Then further out... one leg... etc.   Way easier than rigging a pulley system that's gonna be useless in a few weeks when you get stronger.

David Kerkeslager wrote:

When you get stronger, there are harder holds and grips, which can't always be worked into simply by increasing load on easier holds. 

Really?  Do tell.  

Any one-handed grips, for example, will take a long time to not need a pulley, and use significantly different muscles than two-handed grips, making it difficult to work into them by simply increasing load on two-handed grips.

  Excuse me, but why can't someone use a chair/bucket and one hand on the board?   BTW, I just tried it, no problem.   You obviously like your pulley system but that doesn't mean it's the only way.

Jason Halladay · · Los Alamos, NM · Joined Oct 2005 · Points: 12,044
Floyd Eggers wrote: Would a bungee system work for this? Gyms use them for helping folks do pull ups.

Bungees work but, like putting your feet on a chair or a scale, it's not accurate nor consistently repeatable. The resistance of the bungee changes through the range of stretch unlike a pulley system that keeps the counterweight consistent and predictable. 

I use old slings girth-hitched on hand weights/dumbells on a two-pulley system---one pulley centered under the hangboard, one off to the side a few feet to keep the weights from smacking my crotch. One the weight-end of the pulley system cord I have an old figure-eight belay device tied onto the cord. This makes clipping and unclipping the girth-hitched weights to it very easy.
Vaughn · · Colorado · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 50
Connor Erickson wrote: What would you guys use for a counterweight when hangboarding?

I use cheap weight plates I got on craigslist. 

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 119
John Byrnes wrote: Really?  Do tell.  

Excuse me, but why can't someone use a chair/bucket and one hand on the board?   BTW, I just tried it, no problem.   You obviously like your pulley system but that doesn't mean it's the only way.

I was disagreeing with the claim that the pulley is "gonna be useless in a few weeks when you get stronger". The pulley remains useful, and is the way I've seen some very strong climbers work into one arm locked-off hangs on very small holds.

The pulley's certainly not the only way. You'll note I didn't say you can't work into harder holds using a chair/bucket, I said you can't always work into harder holds by increasing load on easier holds.

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,655
John Byrnes wrote:  

  Excuse me, but why can't someone use a chair/bucket and one hand on the board?   BTW, I just tried it, no problem.   You obviously like your pulley system but that doesn't mean it's the only way.

It's certainly not the only way.  I don't think anyone is saying that- or that it can't be effective.  Using a pulley though, and recording exactly how much weight was used for what grips/sets or whatever will provide a super accurate way of tracking progress.  It's like saying "how long did you hang for each rep?" "idk, I just kind of counted in my head- close enough".  That's not really quantifiable.  Again, no one's saying that you can't do that or that it won't produce results.  What we're saying is that if you want a way to track exactly how much you've improved, you record everything as accurately as you can.  There's no guesswork with quantifiable and accurate time and weight (removed or added).

Eric Fjellanger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2008 · Points: 845
John Byrnes wrote: 

  Excuse me, but why can't someone use a chair/bucket and one hand on the board?   BTW, I just tried it, no problem.   You obviously like your pulley system but that doesn't mean it's the only way.

It's okay if you're too lazy or cheap or undisciplined to actually train. Just don't give training advice. Nobody runs a random distance without a stopwatch and calls it training, nobody goes into a gym and lifts some random weights a random number of times and calls it training.

Mike McKinnon · · Golden, CO · Joined Aug 2003 · Points: 65
John Byrnes wrote: John Byrnes wrote: Dan's right.  Place it out in front of you, put your feet on it.  Then further out... one leg... etc.   Way easier than rigging a pulley system that's gonna be useless in a few weeks when you get stronger.

Really?  Do tell.  

  Excuse me, but why can't someone use a chair/bucket and one hand on the board?   BTW, I just tried it, no problem.   You obviously like your pulley system but that doesn't mean it's the only way.

Why would a pulley system be useless ever? You can use it to take off weight and you can use it to add wieght. You will never outgrow it. 

Mark Paulson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 95

I got 50# of weight plates off Craigslist for $20.  I have a sling and biner on each plate for ease of switching weight (I usually HB with my partner[s]).

John Byrnes wrote:

Dan's right.  Place it out in front of you, put your feet on it.  Then further out... one leg... etc.   Way easier than rigging a pulley system that's gonna be useless in a few weeks when you get stronger.  

Personally, I'll sometimes use a 5-gallon bucket with some weight in it so it stays put.  I've had chairs move on me.

So, "an inferior method of training is easier than a superior method".  Weird advice. The easiest thing to do is nothing at all, but that's not really the point of training, and certainly not what the OP asked about.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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