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Moon board or similar beneficial for trad?


Original Post
Robert Rowsam · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 120

So I cancelled my gym membership about a year ago, and while I've never been a very strong climber, I have noticed a fairly significant decrease in my free climbing ability. I climb almost exclusively trad, and a lot of aid, but I've  been resorting to aid more and more. I was ice climbing today and was really feeling much weaker than last season and it was really disapointing. My question is if people have had success translating strength gians from a moon board specifically to crack climbing ability? If the moon board program isn't effective, is there a similar system that is?
Thanks!

J W · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,535

Regular climbing workouts will help keep you at a decent strength level- if all you’re doing is moderate trad and aid and ice, even a couple days a week, you’re going to lose power.

A moon or tension board if you want to invest is a great option- I’d recommend the Tension over the moon for both accessibility and the mirrored problem function, but either will help keep you strong. 

blakeherrington · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 1,060

The distinction between "trad" and "sport" is overrated. Top rock climbers are increasingly able to climb hard climbs regardless of the style of movement and protection schema.

If interested in getting better at trad, sport, or ice climbing, rejoin your gym or build your moonboard and actually use it in a way that more closely approximates the stronger climbers in your community, and is less like the ways that you used in the past.

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95

Question for OP: what grades are you climbing or aspiring to climb? The moonboard works great for the 5.12 and up crowd, but would likely be a bit too steep and difficult to be accessible to a 5.9 trad climber. Bouldering on plastic is still massively useful to someone at that level, but the moon board may not be the best medium for it; a 25 degree woody set densely with a large variety of holds may be a better choice, depending on your level and needs.

In general, access to an indoor wall is valuable for basically all climbers. But an off-the-shelf board is not necessarily as useful to you as a DIY home wall tailored to your level and needs.

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,030

It seems that the money that would be needed to build your own moonboard at home could pay for a lot of months of gym membership?

Every person I personally know, who climbs hard trad, also climbs hard sport, and bouldering. You can quibble about the definition of “hard”, but cracks become overhanging at some point in the grade range, and forearm endurance kicks in big time. And you can train that on a bouldering wall, even if you don’t make a single handjam or fingerlock while bouldering. 

Robert Rowsam · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 120

Thanks all

JCM wrote: Question for OP: what grades are you climbing or aspiring to climb? The moonboard works great for the 5.12 and up crowd, but would likely be a bit too steep and difficult to be accessible to a 5.9 trad climber. Bouldering on plastic is still massively useful to someone at that level, but the moon board may not be the best medium for it; a 25 degree woody set densely with a large variety of holds may be a better choice, depending on your level and needs.

In general, access to an indoor wall is valuable for basically all climbers. But an off-the-shelf board is not necessarily as useful to you as a DIY home wall tailored to your level and needs.

Honestly, I'd just like to be able to confidently lead any 5.10 and send 11's. Right now I can make the occasional 5.9/10 move, but wouldn't be able to lead a 5.10 clean. You make a good point, I'm probably not strong enough to make good use of the moon board. What I like about it is the structure, training programs, and community around it. I know, you can get this all at the gym, but I'm just not fond of the place (only 1 option where I'm at). 


Maybe I just need some good resources on home woodys and training exercises for the everyman? 
PosiDave · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 65

- Strength training (weight or TrX)  for strength not bulk
- Fingerboard
 Will help a lot as well as just climbing

That being said, if you can’t boulder v4 outside, a moonboard probably isn’t what you want right now. 

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95
Robert Rowsam wrote: Thanks all

Honestly, I'd just like to be able to confidently lead any 5.10 and send 11's. Right now I can make the occasional 5.9/10 move, but wouldn't be able to lead a 5.10 clean. You make a good point, I'm probably not strong enough to make good use of the moon board. What I like about it is the structure, training programs, and community around it. I know, you can get this all at the gym, but I'm just not fond of the place (only 1 option where I'm at). 


Maybe I just need some good resources on home woodys and training exercises for the everyman? 

A moonboard would be too advanced for you at this time. If you do not have access to a good gym, then a decent home wall would be very useful.

Regarding having a gym you don’t like: you don’t have to love your gym for it to be useful. Even a really mediocre gym can be used successfully to improve your climbing; you just need to be more proactive about learning how to best use the resources available there.

To do this you have to remember to approach the gym as a training space, not a climbing area. Climbing should be fun and inspiring; training doesn’t have to be. It just has to work. If the bouldering setting sucks at your gym, make up your own problems on the system board or spray wall or just on the regular bouldering walls. If there isn’t a good space for endurance training, do foot on intervals on the campus board. If the culture/scene sucks, go at off hours and avoid talking to the annoying employees. All of these fixes are a nuisance,but are worth it if your main goal in the gym is to improve as a climber. 

 I was a member for several years at gym with all these issues, a gym I found to be quite annoying, yet worked around those issues and continued to improve as a climber. Fortunately that gym eventually added some improved training space, which was nice.

What specific complaints do you have about your gym?
Robert Rowsam · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 120
JCM wrote: 
What specific complaints do you have about your gym?
I think I understand what you're trying to say, and I appreciate your help and advice, but there has been enough complaining about the gym here. I'd rather not turn this into a gym vs woody thing. Maybe I should have posed my question differently. Let's just assume I've made up my mind on wanting to build a woody or systems board of some type.

My goal is to be a stronger climber, able to float up 5.10, by training on it a few days a week (let's also say I throw in some mild general strength and conditioning work too). How can I use a woody to help accomplish this goal? Is there a standardized system similar to the moon/tension board that a v2 climber can utilize to improve at home, or is a more independently researched program the best way to go? 

Thanks! 
Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 579

Is there some standardized moon board training system that I’ve never heard of?
Or am I misunderstanding you?

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 480

This isn't supposed to be confrontational, but real

With your determination to build a woody at your level of climbing, you are probably setting yourself up for failure. At V2/5.9, you are pretty weak/unskilled. If anything, you need volume. Something like a Moonboard is going to do nothing but demotivate you. You need to get outside and get on rock as much as possible. Screw the rope. Go boulder outside. Every week.

Yes, a Moonboard or system board can be awesome for trad. Once you start getting into 5.12. Until then, you need at least a basic level of strength, experience, and skill to get up moderates. I bet you're planning on making a steep wall. The Moonboard is steep as shit. Is that relevant to the 5.10 you're currently trying to break into?

Are you pushing yourself? Do you take whippers when leading or does the gear or your head hold you back? If the gear is holding you back, maybe sport climbing would give you a better lead head.

If you're climbing 5.8 trad all the time, the routes you're on are probably too dangerously low angle to fall on anyway. Steeper/harder stuff can be safer.

Are you fat? If you can pinch more than an inch of fat on your belly, you can probably lose some more. Are you eating intentionally? Getting enough protein and no extra bullshit? Though you don’t really need to be skinny to climb 5.11.

What does your typical gym session look like right now? How is it structured? I'm guessing very little structure at all. Maybe you'd like it more if you went in there with a plan.

There are all kinds of climbing plans out there. Andersons, Lopez, Bechtel, Horst are all great resources when you get stronger.

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95
Robert Rowsam wrote: JCM wrote:  How can I use a woody to help accomplish this goal? Is there a standardized system similar to the moon/tension board that a v2 climber can utilize to improve at home, or is a more independently researched program the best way to go? 

You seem to be misunderstanding what the Moon Board and Tension Board offer. They are not training plans; they are climbing walls with boulder problems.  They do not tell you how to use these boulder problems to make yourself a better climber. It isn't too much different on a home wall, except there you also have to make up the boulder problems. This is just one extra step, though, and setting the problems is the easy part. Figuring out how to use those problems to improve your climbing is the harder part. And remaining disciplined and sticking with a program is the hardest part (and is where most people fail).

If you need a training plan, buy any one of the usual training books (links below) and follow the reccomendations it provides. A home wall, a hangboard, an a couple of free weights will give you all the tools you need to follow there plans.

https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Climbers-Training-Manual/dp/0989515613
https://www.amazon.com/Logical-Progression-Periodization-Year-Round-Performance/dp/1544119534
https://www.amazon.com/Training-Climbing-Definitive-Improving-Performance/dp/1493017616/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_t_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=7RGNED8XWG3GVHR6W53E
https://www.amazon.com/Self-Coached-Climber-Movement-Training-Performance/dp/0811733394

In terms of building a home wall, my suggestion at your level is to build as large a 25 degree indoor wall as your garage/shed/etc allows, mount a hangboard somewhere nearby, and fill the wall with as many holds as you can afford. Put holds up first, then make up problems during you climbing sessions. For endurance training, marking a 25-30 move circuit is a good idea.
J W · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,535

Yes- the Kilter Board has a home wall size and is a standard board.

We have one at our gym and we use it to instruct and train beginners with a set system of v0-v4 problems -at 30 degrees. Our board is also adjustable, so once it’s at 50-60 degrees, we have people climbing v12 and up on it as well.

JCM is correct in that the problems are already set on the tension, moon, and kilter- and he’s also right that you can set yourself. The package deals are nice, though- and the holds are also nice because they’re already a good selection vs you having to pick your own out. It really depends on how much time vs money you want to invest in building a home wall and setting vs climbing others stuff. A prepackaged deal is more expensive- especially if you go the LED route.

Robert Rowsam · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 120

I'm sorry if I came off as defensive. I've been climbing for a while and like to think I get out quite a bit, and have a pretty decent climbing resume, but I am pissed at myself for not having the strength and skills to match. I'm not fat and eat pretty well. Looking at the replies, I'm getting that I need to just go back to the basics. Hit the gym, push myself to free more shit, re-develop my lead head, and just try harder.
I got excited at the idea of building a training wall at home for a few reasons, but maybe it's not the time. My goals are all vertical walls or less, so maybe training upside down isn't even something I need to put much time into. I'm seeing my question now seems analogous to a newbie skier asking what to do to be able to hit the Alaskan back country.
I'm going back to the drawing board and rethinking my strategy. Thank you all for your input

Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 181

I wouldn't skip the steep stuff. Kinda like you, I don't have many outside goals that are very steep, but training on steep walls in the gym gets ya strong. Magical feeling to latch onto a hold you used to be timid on, and have it feel bomber.

Have fun, um, in there!

J W · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,535

Yeah, it doesn’t need to be super steep, but 25-30 degrees can do wonders for your power on vertical trad.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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