Can CGR reviewer Katie Mundy crush her problems using the Beastmaker 1000 series fingerboard…?
Like many climbers who start to climb in the 7’s I’ve began to find specific moves really blum’n tricky. As well as needing a lot more technique I’ve had to look at my finger and core strength and work out where my weaknesses lie – I have discovered there are many. So on this note, I was excited, if not a little nervous to receive a Beastmaker 1000 series fingerboard (it’s a little intimidating to start with).
In the past 2 years, Beastmaker has fast become one of the leading fingerboard makers; and what started in a small Sheffield cellar has rapidly spread across the globe to become a worldwide brand. It is one which stands for ‘dusty cellared home grown power’, with the ethos that anything is possible given the right tools for the job (and a bit of elbow grease).
The boards are made from Tulip wood, which is a good strong, malleable wood, and leaves a smooth finish for your pinkies to crank on. Being wood it also absorbs the sweat from your hands. Unlike many products which start in the UK, then meander off to faraway shores to be produced; Beastmaker still create theirs right here in sunny Blighty.
Now the reason I’ve never bought a finger board (apart from pure laziness) is that I never knew where to put one. I don’t want some blue resin monstrosity on my beams or door frames, inside or out. But being made of wood, the Beastmaker board fits in a little better, it’s a bit more like a piece of furniture. Saying this, I still wasn’t allowed it inside, so off to the garage I went. If you don’t want to attach it directly, you can get panels to put up behind the board, (not from the site though, which would be nice).
With my board now proudly attached to a beam in the garage I began my training…
Firstly I noted down how much weight I could take off on each of my fingers. This was where I got my first surprise. I realised that my index and middle fingers were literally taking all the weight when I climbed, my back two fingers may have well of been making a cup of tea elsewhere! I told a few people about this and it seems a pretty common thing, given the setup of your hands. But this is something I would never have worked out had I just carried on climbing away, constantly failing on the same moves. Inspired to right this wrong I set up a weekly training schedule.
To really see a difference it’s probably best to train 2-3 times a week but I didn’t really have that much time, so I stuck to once a week 1 1/2 hours a session. I will add here that I miss read the training plan on my first session and ended up doing a gruelling 2 1/2 hour session! Not advised.
When you first use the board it’s a little slippery with it being wood, but get the chalk on it and have a couple of goes and it feels grand. So much nicer than shredded fingers on a resin board (you know the feeling). Being a 1000 series it has lovely big jugs on top for a good old warm up before starting; note this is not the case for the 2000 so make sure you get the right one when ordering. The 1000 series is designed for people climbing between V3 and V9, improving finger and core strength in a graduated manner. I’ve found there’s a lot of scope for your improvement, with so many hold variations, I’ve been able to really concentrate on specific areas when it’s for a certain move I’m working on.
The 2000 series on the other hand has 45 degree slopers, monos and shallower finger holds, so it’s definitely a next level board, which again has so many variations on it. Not ideal for warming up on, but if you’ve already got the 1000 you’ve covered all bases.
Back to training and apart from being in a freezing cold garage with my cat looking at me like I’m crazy, all is going well. I’ve moved from doing drags in deep pockets to the much shallower ones and can put more weight on my two rubbish back fingers. So after a few weeks I have been noticing the difference in my strength; now this isn’t ground breaking stuff; we all know if you train you get stronger. So what makes a Beastmaker board different from all the other ones out there?
Well, apart from the material they use, the main difference would be the time and research gone behind each and every hold position. Nothing is there that shouldn’t be. Unlike many boards which have holds just plonked on; the Beastmaker team say they have rigorously trial and errored many combinations to create the most effective training board; and seeing as it’s what they train on, it must be working!
So, has the symmetry of the board helped at all? Well yes, if anything it’s helped to show me my weaknesses, and I’m now super determined to even myself out. The wood has been kind to my fingers and the board is slowly starting to blend in with the beam. Even my Nana’s had a little go on it, so family friendly as well! And at £75.00 I’d say pretty wallet friendly too.
Beastmaker already have a training plan on their website and it’s being updated shortly. Just make sure you don’t misread it and have a 2 1/2 hour session on your first go!
For stockists or to buy online see: http://www.beastmaker.co.uk/