Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review > Metolius Contact Board

So for a long while Noodles has been injured, so he's been embarking on a bunch of hangboard training to keep up his strength. Whilst he's been playing around we've also been training with him; so what have we been training upon?

Yup; we've reviewed a bunch of Metolius boards over the years, you can read our reviews: here. We have looked at the Project Board and the Simulator 3D, both boards are great but they did lack one valuable aspect for training.

If you're looking for all the reviews we've run on hangboards you can find all of them: here. From the Beastmakers to the So Ill Iron Palm to the Nicros Infinity Board we have looked at many and we will continue to do so (we're reviewing a few others right now) we do love hangboard training.

As per usual we're going to point out that we're not trainers and we do what we need for our training, what we do isn't specifically right for you and you should consult a proper trainer before you hit any board

What we did was we based (as usual) our training from the Metolius website, because that's where you'll probably start looking for information; and that's one of the beautiful things about Metolius and their boards there is always some really comprehensive training literature so when you want to train you can read up on what you're doing and see if it works for you. We of course suggest that you consult a professional, warm up well and train responsibly.

Let's dive in and look at the board...
  • Full featured board with loads of holds and pinches
  • CAD designed for symmetry
  • Curved for less joint stress
  • 11 pockets
  • 4 sets of central edges
  • Pull up jugs and flat slopers
  • Skin friendly texture
  • Size: 826mm x 279mm x 67mm
So when you look at this board compared to the other Metolius boards we've looked at its on another level! The texture is fine and better than before, there are more options on the board so it's less of a beginner board (but it's fine for people beginning to train) and there is the all important inclusion of PINCHES. Yup pinches... we do love us some pinch action. After we played on the Redpoint board and then the Iron Palm, both of which have pinches on them, we decided there was no going back... all boards should have pinches on them. It's one of the grip positions we love to train and something that is overlooked on many boards

Now pinches are a special thing, the Iron Palm had some alright pinches on there, the Redpoint had too much of a thumb catch on it so it was too easy and the 5.12 from The DRCC, well they were good... the dual texture made them sexy but the pinches on this board win. They're big enough that you can really grab on and hang around... easy enough that you can complete you're routine but if you really want you can make them hard for yourself. They basically go from beginner to expert just like the entire board does. It's one of those boards that does do everything very very well; if you're like us and have access to many boards then it's one you'll always keep hung up somewhere....

The texture allows for long sessions without killing your skin, it's not as friendly as a full wooden board but it does allow long long sessions of training without any worry. We'd call this a Full Board rather than a compact board because of it's size, it is large and even having it on our Blank Slate it's size shows. The Blank Slate also makes it harder to use... taking it up just a notch or two because you have the inbuilt angle of the board and then you have the angle on the Blank Slate as well. For us it's perfect because its at the right level for where we are with our training... it also shows why the Beastmakers were so hard... 45 degree slopers with an extra 10 or 15 degrees = hard as all hell.
Contact Training Board with numbers

Here's a list of all the hand positions that are on this board... it's 19 so there are a bunch to suit all training needs:
1: Outer jug // 2: Round sloper // 3: Four finger edge // 4: Two finger pocket // 5: Three finger pocket // 6: Deep three finger pocket // 7: Medium pocket // 8: Three finger pocket // 9: Medium three finger pocket // 10: Two finger pocket //  11: Pinches //  12:  Three finger pocket // 13: Shallow three finger pocket // 14: Shallow two finger pocket 15: Flat sloper // 16: Edge // 17: Deep center edge Deep edge // 18: Medium edge // 19: Shallow edge

Like we said this is a full board, it is big and when mounting it you might want a second set of hands. We took the Blank Slate down and did this on the floor, as this board isn't made for the Blank Slate (there are boards that bolt straight on) we do have a small overhang problem on the outer edges of the pinches. All mounting hardware is included and if you've had a board before its just a case of screwing it to where you want. 

Thankfully Metolius have a video on how to install a board:

Now normally we'd do a video here with what we did and how we did it. This time we just used the Metolius training guide, we added in extra pinch and offset hang sets to our routines and we also included a bunch of training on the Atomik Missiles. We used the Missiles hanging under the Blank Slate because it allowed us to get much lower than just on the board itself... much much lower and it also allows us to really pull of and lock quite a distance

You can find the training guide for the Contact Board: here
A general training guide: here
And the 10 minute sequences: here 

We'll get into what we personally did below:

Get out the violins out here we go... so yeah I still have that ankle injury from a while ago so hangboard training and light bouldering is what i'm doing these days. Now you can put the violins away :)

We've had this board for around a year and it takes time to get used to training upon it; we went from the Beastmakers to this and then to some Atxarte boards that we're in the process of reviewing and then back to the Contact. Why did we go from one board to another? Mainly because I have a long list of things I wanted to work upon and some boards did some things better than others. If I'm training my sloper strength then of course i'm going to get on the Beast, but as I wanted to work on general finger strength and I wanted to do longer workouts the Contact Board made the most sense, it's one of the biggest on the market and it has the most options upon it

Why? Well the Beastmakers despite being truely amazing boards I find that the Metoilus boards have always been more comfortable for me. For instance the Project Board is above a different doorway in the house and I love its jugs for just doing pull ups, the Contact Board offers me so many different ledge options I can really get a good all around workout without killing my skin.

So it was pretty simple why we switched around (other than we are doing many hangboard reviews at the same time)

I get on this board three to four times a week and I do different sequences, I don't add more weight and I don't mess around. I make sure that i'm nicely warmed up, all of my fingers are nice and warm before I go anywhere near doing a training sequence. I also don't use chalk on the board, I just hit it with bare skin and go from there, it's a little harder on super humid days where in the past i've slipped off but this means I just refocus and keep at my routine.

Now training boards are a personal thing... some boards work for some people and other people will just hate them. When people ask us we always point towards one of the Metolius / DRCC or the Beastmakers depending upon the person; if they're around Montreal we invite them over and we let them play with the boards so they can feel how they are and they can pick whats good for them. I choose to use the Contact board more than the others because it give me everything I need, I don't get cranky fingers, I don't get sore skin and now because of the sloper jugs (the new jugs are much slimmer than before) and of course the Pinches this board has taken over my new favorite slot... mind you I do have a campus station where I have a Project Board / an old Simulator and a 3D Simulator set up in a stepped arrangement for training; but this so far has been my favorite board to train on... question is will one of the Atxarte boards give it a run for it's money??

We'll see!

Contact Training Board with numbers

Now getting me off of the DRCC 5.12 and onto another board is a tricky tricky thing. It actually took Noodles some convincing over a few beers for me to get on a to train on this board... what it actually took was him to challenge me to the "All Around The World Challenge".

This challenge involves doing one pull up on every single hold on the board... in control, no half pull ups, alternating between the people playing (Tip: It is easier with more people as you get a rest). Once you've gone around the board doing one pull up, you have a break and then start again but do two pull ups... everyone has three lives and failing at a pull up means you loose a life... the winner is the person who gets the furthest.

Now consider this:
This board has 19 yes 19 different hand positions (we listed them for you above), from deep four finger pockets to thin two finger pockets... we went around the board 4 times before we started to loose lives. FOUR TIMES... lets do some math:
  1. First cycle is 19 pull ups
  2. Second cycle is 38 pull ups 
  3. Third cycle is 57 pull ups
  4. Fourth cycle is 76 pull ups
That is 190 pull ups in control before we started to fall off or have bad form. I think it was the start of cycle five were we were just too tired to do anything else and started to have bad form or fail on something, it's also our record for the house!!

This board is a little too large for where I currently live so I've ahem borrowed the Project Board for a while, but it does give you everything that you need for a good workout when you can't actually get to the gym. I'm liking the texture and the new pinches and sloper jugs are a great addition to our workouts; There's not much I don't really like, of course it could be smaller, but then you'd loose some options... it could be dual texture, but there's really no need on a hangboard... hell it could be wooden, but how would you make it?

If I had a bigger place then I'd have this board just above the DRCC 5.12 so I can use them both

Resin... it's a little heavy but it is huge 

Awesome, it was in bomb proof packaging

Right we'll get this out of the way, we like it... you'll like it because when you look at the price (if you have the space to hang it) then you'll see that it has the most options for it's price point. It may not be as pretty as a wooden board or if you're nit picking as skin friendly as wood but it sure does pack a punch.

Yes it's resin and resin is very old school but as you're not going to be moving it around it's really a mute point and it's only one that people who are very particular will cause an argument over... urethane polishes faster than resin (especially with cleaning and rubber scuffs) but as it's a hangboard and the chances are it will outlast most other things in your home / gym.

It's a great addition to the Metolius line, and as we've reviewed all of their boards except the wooden ones and we've seen the very early versions of their first boards (there hanging around CHR HQ somewhere) we're saying it's the best board they've done to date... it's a progression, it's a definite improvement and should be looked at for anyone that's going to be training anytime soon


Nick M. said...

Great post! I used to climb 5.7 & I'd like to start climbing again. While researching a board to train on I read on one blog that the metolius contact is an incredible board if you have the room for it and you have confirmed that. I have also heard from two different sites that the best board without redundant holds, for beginners to intermediates is the metolius Simulator 3D. What do you think about these comments? And also I'm in Montreal and would like to meet you and try out your boards.

jeremy dowsett said...

Well Nick... that's an interesting problem isn't it :)

Metoluis Simulator and Project 3D review are here:

Currently I only use the Contact board... so that tells you something from the get-go

I would also say that despite it's size it's a pretty good board, mainly because it has pinches upon it with the other Metolius boards don't.

IF you have the space it's this board of if you can get it the So Ill Iron Palm in wood... it really depends upon what you want. Being a 5.7 climber I'd say go climb and don't hangboard train until you hit a plateau

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