Which training board to use?

I’m getting ready to start (again) the Climb 5.13 program and I am trying to make some changes to avoid the pitfalls that have befallen me in the past. Previously my limit bouldering was usually not really limit. I had a hard time finding problems that felt hard but completely impossible. So I am thinking of trying to do the limit bouldering and maybe the mini-project bouldering on a board. I have access to a fixed 2016 Moonboard, an adjustable 2017 Moonboard, an adjustable Tension board and a 12’ wide adjustable Kilter board. I’m wondering which board I should use? I live in SLC so my climbing is on sandstone, limestone and cobbles and current abilities are V6/7 and 5.12c/d.
I’m leaning toward the Kilter or Tension board as they aren’t as popular so I’m more likely to have “control” of the board which I like. If anyone has good thoughts on which board to use, I’d love to hear them.


Personally, I’d mix it up rather than sticking to one. Have a couple of projects on each so that you have options based on psyche and availability.


@Kris That’s definitely one way to go. I’m a bit hesitant to do that as I feel like it takes so much time to get used to a board and find good projects. My previous cycles seemed to lack focus so I’m trying to tighten things up a bit and spend more time on a few projects

Then I’d just choose whichever. I honestly don’t think it matters at all, as long as you’re challenging yourself. Each board has its strengths and weaknesses, but nothing that you can’t sidestep with intention.
You bring up an interesting point though, and one that isn’t discussed enough. Is the adaptability to different boards better or is learning one so that you can (maybe) apply a higher percentage of physical capability better?
For me it’s adaptability, but I’ve spent a lot of time already learning to try hard, so now I want to learn that skill in new environments and situations. For you it might be learning to try hard in a more controlled environment.

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Learning to try hard is definitely a goal but my desire to stick to one board has less to do with success on problems and more to do with being efficient with my time. I’d rather spend more time limit bouldering on one board than project shopping on two boards. You bring up a good point though. Theoretically, would it be better to cycle through a boards with every workout or to spend a block of time with each? Different answers for different goals I expect.

I don’t have any arguments to support this at all, but if I were you I’d cycle between Kilterboard and Tensionboard. Maybe start with a week of easy problems (to get into it and this serves as a deload week), then try hard for 3 weeks, then switch to the other and repeat? Probably the most important part of anything you choose is to evaluate your progress… As long as you do that, you’ll fine tune sooner or later :slight_smile:


@pawilkes Just my two cents on this from a strictly practical POV. I am in my second run of the Boulder Strong program and the volume of climbing would make me suggest the Tension board to help preserve your skin.

The wood holds are far less aggressive and will allow for multiple sessions a week at max effort without the limitation of skin. It always pisses me off in the gym when I can’t finish a project just because my skin is torn or thin and about to rip. Kilter isn’t bad with the rounded holds but they are still textured af, but the Moon (though it might apply best to outdoor bouldering) is kinda vicious… though I do love it haha.

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Personally, I’d go with Kris’s recommendation to cycle between the boards even though it may mean you might not climb as hard on each as you would if you focused on just one. It almost doesn’t really matter- if you’re not worried about what grade you’re climbing and you’re just climbing at your limit, you can find limit problems on each board no problem.

You can also pick the board based on the week and the goals- since each of them bring something different, you can use those strengths to keep yourself challenged and make sure you’re also not necessarily edging toward injury by just doing one type of climbing over and over. (I say this as someone who climbs exclusively on a kilter home board and has to manage this particular challenge on the daily).

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Maybe a slightly different way to look at it is to pick a board based on a specific problem or move? I know this is slightly harder to do without climbing on them a little, but our gym just got a tension and moon board at the same time and I picked the tension board for a specific problem that looked good and focus on developing skills on it (plus I have shit skin and wood=good)

That being said, I think the best option is to switch it up also.

I like the idea of using the Tension board for it’s skin friendly nature. Thanks for all your thoughts. I think I’ll spend my time climbing tomorrow playing on the Tension and Kilter boards and seeing which one I want to go with.

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I spent 30-40 minutes yesterday on the Kilter board and I think I’m going to go with it. I found a couple other features that I like compared to the Moon Board.
-First, the auto disconnect function is nice as it allows multiple people can trade off control of the board. I was getting on the board just as someone else was wanting to get on it so we figured out how to set it up and we both had a good session. (The Tension board app has this too, it looks like Tension and Kilter use the same platform for their app.)
-Second, I like that there are screw on small feet scattered over the board. I think this allows for problems that are less jumpy than Moonboard problems. The Tension board has small feet too but they seem to be bigger, possibly due to the material diffence, and I think the smaller feet may encourage better footwork.

Hopefully these thoughts will be useful to someone down the line trying to make the decision on what board to use.


I’d pick the least popular board because I’m antisocial and don’t like making friends