Reactive Training – Part 4 – Campus Laddering

As the name implies, this exercise involves climbing in a hand-over-hand, ladderlike motion up the campus board with no aid from your feet. Unlike the campus training Double Dynos (to be covered in Part #5), laddering uses controlled dynamic movements that are less likely to result in injury. Consequently, this is a better staple exercise for regular use, and you should only progress to the Double Dyno exercise upon gaining confidence in the capabilities and health of your fingers and arms. Here’s how to do it.

1. Hang with nearly straight arms from the bottom rung of the campus board. Your hands should be about shoulder width or slightly less apart.

2. Striving for brisk, fluid motion, begin laddering hand-over-hand up the campus board using alternating rungs for your left and right hands. Your goal is to ascend the board as quickly as possible.

3. Match hands on the top rung, and then descend carefully by dropping hand by hand down alternating rungs to the bottom position.

4. Perform a total of six to twelve hand moves, never more. To increase difficulty, skip rungs as you hand-over-hand up the board.

5. Rest for three to five minutes, before engaging in a second set.

6. Limit yourself to a total of three sets during your formative workouts. As you gain conditioning, you can do up to ten sets or begin a gradual shift to training with the Double Dynos.

Training tip: Laddering on small rungs tends to train contact (finger) strength more than upper-body power, whereas longer reaches on larger rungs better isolates one-arm power and lock-off strength.

Safety tip: Consider taping the base of your fingers to provide a little extra support to the finger tendons. Terminate your campus training at the first sign of pain in the joints or tendons of the fingers.

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Introducing NICROS’ EH Campus Rungs


Wolfgang Gullich’s original campus board used dowels as rungs. Since then a variety of wooden and plastic strips have hit the market, but none as unique as ours. We believe NICROS’ new EH Campus Rungs are the best campus-training platform available. Here’s why.

1. Variable depth of gripping surface. Each rung ranges from about 3/4-inch depth near the ends up to a full inch near the middle. This way you can begin each set using the smaller outside portion, then gradually work your hands inward as your grip tires.

2. Curved profile. Each rung tapers slightly downward toward its ends making for a more ergonomic grip position. The goal is to have all four fingers on the rung, and our curved design helps facilitate near-equal training of all fingers.

3. No skin-tearing texture. Our proprietary Zero-Tex™ surface makes for the most comfortable campus training possible. Unchalked the Zero-tex surface will feel slippery, but with chalk on your fingers it becomes “grippy” without stressing the skin.

Click here to purchase Nicros’ Campus Training Rungs.

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Copyright 2008 Eric J. Hörst. All rights reserved.