Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2021) 20, 438 - 447   DOI:

Research article
Effects of Two vs. Four Weekly Campus Board Training Sessions on Bouldering Performance and Climbing-Specific Tests in Advanced and Elite Climbers
Nicolay Stien1, , Helene Pedersen1, Vegard A. Vereide1, Atle H. Saeterbakken1, Espen Hermans1, Jarle Kalland1, Brad J. Schoenfeld2, Vidar Andersen1
Author Information
1 Department of sport, food and natural sciences, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Sogndal, Norway
2 Department of Health Sciences, Lehman College, Bronx, New York, USA

Nicolay Stien
✉ Department of sport, food and natural sciences, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Sogndal, Norway
Publish Date
Received: 31-03-2021
Accepted: 18-05-2021
Published (online): 25-05-2021
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This study examined the effects of two or four weekly campus board training sessions among highly accomplished lead climbers. Sixteen advanced-to-elite climbers were randomly allocated to two (TG2), or four weekly campus board training sessions (TG4), or a control group (CG). All groups continued their normal climbing routines. Pre- and post-intervention measures included bouldering performance, maximal isometric pull-up strength using a shallow rung and a large hold (jug), and maximal reach and moves to failure. Rate of force development (RFD; absolute and 100ms) was calculated in the rung condition. TG4 improved maximal force in the jug condition (effect size (ES) = 0.40, p = 0.043), and absolute RFD more than CG (ES = 2.92, p = 0.025), whereas TG2 improved bouldering performance (ES = 2.59, p = 0.016) and maximal moves to failure on the campus board more than CG (ES = 1.65, p = 0.008). No differences between the training groups were found (p = 0.107–1.000). When merging the training groups, the training improved strength in the rung condition (ES = 0.87, p = 0.002), bouldering performance (ES = 2.37, p = 0.006), maximal reach (ES = 1.66, p = 0.006) and moves to failure (ES = 1.43, p = 0.040) more than CG. In conclusion, a five-week campus board training-block is sufficient for improving climbing-specific attributes among advanced-to-elite climbers. Sessions should be divided over four days to improve RFD or divided over two days to improve bouldering performance, compared to regular climbing training.

Key words: Isometric, pull-up, rate of force development, strength

           Key Points
  • Five weeks of volume equated campus board training may similarly improve finger strength, maximal reach and number of campus moves to failure regardless of training frequency.
  • Four weekly sessions may be more effective than two weekly sessions for improving rate of force development in an isometric pull-up using a climbing-specific hold
  • Two weekly sessions could be more effective than four weekly sessions for improving bouldering performance when volume is equated.
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