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Climber Magazine Review

This review was originally published in Climber magazine and the original can be found here

Jamie Maddison - Posted on 18 Jul 2011

We all experience the dreaded Lull: that period of your life where you simply can’t find the time, energy or money to get out climbing on neither rock nor plastic. But you can’t just let all of last season’s crushing go to waste, so what do you do? As many of you will already know the solution is to hit the home training equipment, more specifically a good, preferably wooden, fingerboard. Well, one such company offering climbing salvation is Crusher Holds.

Researched, tested and produced by hard northerners, they have so far created a good range of quality Ash and Beech hardwood training boards, a refreshing change to some of the Day-Glo resin eyesores on the market today. For the past few months now I’ve been solidly using two of Crusher’s most popular products, the 'MegaRail' and the new 'Matrix' board. This review sums up my many hours spent in the attic dangling off the floor and lets you know exactly what training with a Crusher will entail:
 

MegaRail


Dimensions: – 595 x 70 x 44mm (approx)
Features:
40mm – 20 degree rounded Jug
40mm – 20 degree slope40mm – Flat Jug
Four Finger Edges - 20mm deep
Two Finger Pockets - 35mm & 25mm
Mono Pockets - 30mm & 20mm

The MegaRail is a smallish board, designed to look inconspicuous and unobtrusive above any doorway, ideal for those with limited space or a less than enthusiastic partner/parent/overlord. Constructed from high quality hardwoods (which are all FSC certified), this smallish hangboard is actually rather pretty, and feels pleasant just to touch. 


“Just holes in wood this board is not.”

I found training on the MegaRail to be largely straightforward. Warming up on the jugs it seemed a natural progression to work your way from the peripheries through to the centre of the board, which resulted in a compact but powerful workout. The holds themselves cover a wide range of abilities, but there’s something for everyone climbing Font 6A and above to start properly training with.
 

On top of that, all edges and pockets are clearly well designed and well cut and I never felt in danger of tweaking a finger from any hold despite many repeated sessions using all of them. Be warned however, the monos can become quite the addiction so always make sure you’re properly warmed up before succumbing to the single digit psychosis. I was also mightily impressed with the quality of slopers produced from such a small board: whilst not the hardest in the world, they were simply ‘luuuverly’ to hang from.
 


“Hey dope, you've no hope if you don’t train that slope.”
 

Downsides are minimal; UberWads (I’m most definitely not one of them) may have wanted a bit of extra room between the 20mm monos, as it seemed a tight squeeze for two hands with the holds being so close together. The majority of us however will only ever hang these tiny pockets in conjunction with aid from a better edge, so for most this will not be much of an issue. Otherwise, I thought the MegaRail was really quite without fault.

Conclusion: Overall I think this board is a great supplement to those mid-graders who are already getting quite a fair bit of climbing in. It’s economically priced, with a decent selection of holds and a sleek, compact design. Everything adds up to create a good hangboard, ideal for those who want to markedly improve their finger strength but don’t want to convert half the house into a gym to so!

 

Matrix

Dimensions: 700 x 145 x 44mm (approx)
Features:


Onto this big bad board: the Matrix fingerboard has every conceivable hold under the sun. With monos, duos, crimps, half crimps, pinches, two finger dinks, ergonomically designed slopers and wide or narrow pull postions, it's got pretty much everything you could possibly ever wish to hang off.

I found that such a large variety of different grip positions made for an excellent all-round training session: just one set of repeaters on each hold resulted in close to a 100 maximal finger contractions. And because you don’t have to use same edge twice (unless you’re training something specific) I found my sessions more bearable than if I was doing repeated sets on the same pocket, as I could tick off each hold in my head as a countdown marker on my way to the finish line.



"Hang a pocket for tea, win a grade for free."

The Matrix also has a unique feature of two parallel vertical incuts, which allows you the use of your thumbs, to turn adjacent the edges into pinches, resulting in even more variations in grip positions. That being said, I’ve always had the mantra of ‘always open hand’ drilled into me for so long that I found it quite awkward to turn the edges into the crimps and pinches shown in the video (above). But to each his own, and the option is there for those who wish to train these positions.

The board’s central section, for practicing lock-offs and one arm deadhangs is great and has become a favourite component of my sessions, tackling a weakness I’ve never seriously addressed before. The remainder of the holds should also not be overlooked and are most certainly some of the best-designed edges around, calculated to eek out maximum performance whilst minimizing chances of injury. However, one minor complaint was that I did find the large duos to be a little bit painful to hang as they pinched the skin of my (rather stubby) fingers.
 

“There is always a positive from a one arm negative.”

The only aspect of the board that I thought could have been improved upon was the slopers; to me they seemed just a touch too easy and I was really hoping for a true devil incline that you would have to fight to the grim death just to inch your weight off the floor. But it is a training device, and these slopers are best suited to aiding all levels of ability, and if you really want to make them harder you can simply add more weight (or try doing it one handed).

Conclusion: The many months of research and testing put into this board by those who know what they are talking about is plain to see. The Matrix is without a doubt one of the most comfortable and easy-to-use boards I’ve ever laid my hands on. On top of that, it looks exquisite and is cheaper than many other top boards, all the while offering unparalleled performance. It’s an absolute big thumbs up from me. If you can’t get out regularly and are looking for a top-notch training supplement at a good price, then this is the board for you.
 
 


"Hey chimp, dont be limp, bone that crimp."

Training Manual

Each fingerboard also comes with a downloadable guide to help you make full use out of your new training aid. Starting with the basics such as how to mount the board and good pre-training warm ups, the manual then advances onto sessions and training cycles. This little handbook is an invaluable collation of current fingerboard training thought, covering several different methods in which to train by. It’s an ace and thoughtful addition to the package, so that you can make the most out of your board, get strong and hopefully avoid injury in the process!


Crusher Holds © 2017