Strength and Conditioning Programs for Wildland Firefighters

Climbing Workouts

Climbing Workouts

What the hell is a hangboard?

That picture to the left – that’s pretty much it. Fake rock with a gazillion places to jam your fingers. Hangboards are a great training tool because they allow for an almost infinite number of ways to do pull-ups. Well, “infinite” might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point. By allowing you to modify your grip, and off-set your hands, a hangboard is an easy way to freshen up a stale pull-up workout.Also, climbers don’t just do pull-ups on hangboards, they’ll incorporate dead-hangs and ab workouts as well. Below are some workouts created by Metolius to follow. Metolious makes bomber climbing gear, and their hangboards are fantastic.Metolius’ Simulator 3D Climbing Board (pictured left) is the cadillac of hangboards, but they offer some cheaper alternatives, like the Metolius Project Hangboard which retails for about $55, and offers about half of the holds as the 3D Climbing Simulator. Rest assured, there’s still plenty of nooks and crannies to jam your little fingers into for a solid hand, arm + back workout. If $55 is still a bit much for you, Metolius also offers a great product called Rock Rings. They’re compact, convenient, and you can hang’em anywhere really. Off a tree branch, a pull-up bar, basement stairs – anywhere. They retail for about $22 and for the money, they’re a steal.

I personally have the Metolius Project Hangboard . I’ve had it for years, and I love it. They’re easy to install (just screw it in to some studs, or mount it off an exposed wood beam in your basement – that’s what I did.) Hangboards do a great job of increasing grip strength and forearm strength; I noticed that it helped minimize fatigue early in the season when I was running saws. It’s a great training tool and can be a great conversation starter when mounted in the kitchen. Below, are some more of Metolius’ other training products.

Entry Level: (Excerpted from the Metolius Training Site)

Time (minutes) Task
1st minute 15 second hang, Jug
2nd minute 1 pull-up, Round Sloper
3rd minute 10 second hang, Medium Edge
4th minute 15 second hang w/ 3 shrugs, Pocket
5th minute 20 second hang w/ 2 pull-ups, Large Edge
6th minute 10 second hang, Round Sloper
5 knee raises, Pocket
7th minute 4 pull-ups, Large Edge
8th minute 10 second hang, Medium Edge
9th minute 3 pull-ups, Jug
10th minute Hang as long as you can, Round Sloper


Time (minutes) Task
1st minute 15 second hang, 3 pull-ups, Large Edge
2nd minute 2 pull ups, Round Sloper
20 second hang, Medium Edge
3rd minute 20 second hang, Small Edge
15 second 90º bent arm hang, Pocket
4th minute 30 second hang, Round Sloper
5th minute 20 second hang, Large Edge
4 pull-ups, Pocket
6th minute 3 offset pulls each arm (high arm jug, low arm small hold), Jug/Small Edge
Change hands and repeat
7th minute 15 knee raises, Jug
15 second hang, Medium Edge
8th minute 25 second hang, Medium Edge
9th minute 15 second hang, Slope
3 pull-ups, Jug
10th minute Hang as long as you can, Round Sloper


Time (minutes) Task
1st minute 20 seconds straight arm hang, Large Slope
3 pull-ups, 4-Finger Flat Edge
2nd minute 20 seconds slightly bent arm hang, Large Slope, stay on
20 seconds L-sit or 20 hanging knee curls
3rd minute 5 pull-ups, 3-Finger Pocket, stay on
25 seconds straight arm hang
4th minute Use every hold starting at the 3-Finger Pocket and working up, staying on each for 5 seconds (don’t get off to change holds)
Finish on Large Slope with a 20 second hang
5th minute 20 seconds single arm hang, Four-Finger Flat Edge
switch hands and repeat
6th minute 5 offset pull ups, Large Slope (top hand) 3-Finger Pocket (bottom hand)
change hands and repeat
7th minute 30 seconds 90 degree bent arm hang, Four-Finger Incut Edge
15 seconds straight arm hang, 3 Finger Pocket
8th minute 3 L-sit pull-ups (bend knees if you have to)
5 seconds front lever or 15 seconds straight arm hang, Large Slope
9th minute 20 seconds straight arm hang using only 2 fingers on 3 Finger Pockets
3 power pull-ups (use weights or helper for resistance, should just be able to do 3 pulls)
10th minute maximum slightly bent arm hang, Large Slope (go ‘til failure) no rest
maximum straight arm hang – Large Slope


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