(3 out of 5)
Hangboards are for masochists. I find them incredibly boring. Like riding a trainer indoors if you are a cyclist, the workout can help boost your fitness but breaking through the mental boredom can be just as tiring as the workout itself. If you are looking for a hangboard to take your climbing to the next level, it’s probably not a bad idea. There is a lot of evidence that consistent hangboarding improves your finger strength beyond doing laps on your favorite indoor or outdoor routes. If you can work past the boredom, it can pay dividends.
Choosing a hangboard doesn’t require a ton of research. Most hangboards come with a variety of holds in the form of rails, pockets, pinches and slopers. The best hangboard will provide you with enough variety while also fitting into whatever space you have to hang it on.
Metolius makes a host of hangboards and we happened to be at a local gear shop offering a screaming deal on the Metolius Foundry Training Board. The Foundry is a more compact design than the other models offered by Metolius meaning that you have less hold options while still maintaining a good variety of hold types.
I didn’t end up using my Foundry hangboard all that much (classic home gym equipment you never use move) until I was forced to find a way to try and stay fit climbing during COVID-19. Since then I’ve been spending a lot of time on the Foundry and have found some things I really like and a few others I don’t.
The Foundry makes for a good compact option for a hangboard and is a bit cheaper than most. It’s durable and tacky, offering a variety of holds but due to the compact nature of the board, you are limited in the amount of holds and comfortable shoulder-width positioning for some of the holds.
For such a compact hangboard, the Foundry has every type of hold that you would want to train for: Jugs, large to small edges, rounded edges, slopers, pinches, and pockets of varying width and depth. You can even combine different pockets to make variation holds if that is your thing. Pocket depths range from 32 mm (full pad) to 15 mm (half pad).
Like most of the plastic you are used to climbing on in the gym, the resin used is tacky and gritty enough for good friction assuming you stay up on your brushing between reps or uses.
It’s not overly wide, so if you don’t have a lot of space for a hangboard or aren’t looking to take up a lot of space, this could be a great option for you. It measures 22.75” by 8.5 inches.
The Metolius Foundry hung in a garage.
The compact nature of the hangboard means that some of the holds require your hands to be close together, naturally narrowing the angle from your shoulders to your hands. This can create unwanted stress on your shoulders during strenuous workouts compared to a more aligned shoulder-width hang. This is my biggest gripe with the board given there are some nice edges in the middle of the board that require a narrow shoulder alignment.
If you are in the market for a hangboard and have plentiful room to hang it, I would opt for a wider board that offers more versatility in hold spacing. In reality, your best option is the Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center. When hung properly, it allows for independent movement of your right and left side holds so that your shoulder width is always at an optimal width.
The versatile Trango Prodigy Training Center. Shop on Amazon >
Check out the video below from Metolius and Beth Rodden for a good intro hangboarding workout. We’ve been testing different hangboard workouts during the non-climbing era of COVID-19 and have a few go to workouts we alternate between.