Mere Mortal's Guide to Beasting the Beastmaker 45° Slopers

The Beastmaker 2000 is a wooden hangboard produced by a couple of lads in the UK and is now available worldwide. It's good. I've posted about it before. My board was in the first shipment to hit Australia back in 2009.

Anyway let's get down to business. You're reading this because you are a mere mortal like me and the Beastmaker slopers feel impossible to hang.

Beastmaker 2000 has three sloper angles: 20°, 35° and 45°.

Beastmaker 2000 grip layout
I naturally favour an open-hand grip and avoid crimps (opposite of most people) so when I got my board I could immediately do a couple of chinups on the 35° slopers. Some people I coach who are good climbers struggle to even hang these. Don't worry if this is you.

In your quest for the 45° chinup, you'll need to get comfortable on the 35°'s. 

Before doing anything
  • Warm up thoroughly. If I go to my board now and try to hit the slopers I will immediately fall off. They'll feel impossible. It is vital to warm up these grips. Do some bouldering. Use easier grips like the 20° sloper. Spend 20 minutes or so building up the squeeze you're going to need.

Cheating

  • Nestling your fingers into the ridges, using your thumb, or any other kind of malarky to provide assistance is only cheating yourself. I also find that it doesn't help with progression on the slopers. Follow my guide below instead.

Grip on the 45°s
A word on grip
  • I always thought maximising the amount of skin on the wood was the key to success. However, as soon as I begun work on the 45°s, I realised that the best grip was two pads only as shown above.

Stage 1
  • 5 chinups on the 20° sloper. Should be easy for most climbers.

Stage 2 - Beasting the 35°'s
  • Deadhang the 35° slopers. If you're struggling, put one hand on the 20° and the other on the 35°. Hang this for as long as you can, then switch. You'll notice a tendency to barndoor as you do this because the grip on the 20° is much stronger than the grip on the 35°. Control this!
  • Once deadhangs are no problem, start chinups. You will find it is hardest to control the down part of the motion. Make sure you have a mat under your board as you could fall hard on your tailbone.
  • Work up to about 5 very controlled chinups (in a row). Once you're at this point you're ready for Stage 3.

Stage 3 - The Dreaded 45°s!
  • You're not going to be able to deadhang the 45°s straight away. So we are going to share grips. One hand on a 35°, the other on the 45°. Deadhang, and twirl off gracefully (you'll see what I mean). Now swap. You're building up the squeeze power on the 45°s.
  • Mixed-grip chinups. One hand on a 35°, the other on the 45°. Chinup (and down) cleanly. Swap.
  • Multiple mixed-grip chinups. One hand on a 35°, the other on the 45°. Chinup (and down) cleanly TWICE. You're now on the cusp, hang in there. Once you can do THREE of these it's time. Get the video camera.
  • Chinup the 45°s. You'll most likely slip off on the way back down. Keep at it and nail your first clean 45° chinup! FEEL THE POWER! Now update your Facebook status.



How often? How long?
  • Let motivation be your guide. One or two sessions a week, with your other climbing and training should do it. From the point when I could do a handful of clean chinups on the 35°s, I was 10 sessions away from my first 45° chinup (doing 1-2 sessions a week). I was doing a fairly standard hangboard session (crimps, pockets etc.) with slopers thrown in at the end. Your mileage may vary. Let me know if this works for you.

Board/skin prep
  • Get a big soft brush for brushing slopers between each attempt. Like a dustbin brush. Really helps.
  • Chalk up, wipe off any excess, then breathe hot warm air onto your fingers.

Humidity
  • In a stark opposite to regular rock climbing, humidity makes a HUGE difference - it's good! If it is cold and dry you are going to struggle your arse off. I did my first 45 chinup in pouring rain, 100% humidity and high temperature. I was training regularly and keeping notes, and this humidity manifested in ridiculous personal bests on the board.

Different boards
  • I am assured that well-loved boards (UK Climbing Works) are waaaay easier to use the slopers on. Oils exuding from people's skin seep into the wood and affect friction. By all accounts, The Works' board is sticky.
  • As you can imagine, 1° makes a big freakin difference. If you or someone else has installed the board on a surface that isn't exactly plumb, you're going to be in trouble, either in a good or bad way. Use an angle-finder to measure your slopers and ensure they're spot on.

If you have any other great sloper tips or frictional insights, please share in the comments.

4 comments:

Tom OH said...

nice post dude

Mat Loskot said...

Thanks for this clear & simple workout.

One question to the "How often? How long?" part.
How do you exactly mix this workout with your other climbing/training within single session?
Do you do the Bestmaker slopers workout at the beginning (after warm-up) or at the end of session, after climbing/other training?

Lee Cujes said...

Hey there Mat

I do this stuff as part of a dedicated hangboard session. It usually takes around 2 hours so that's it for that day.

I'll then have another session (perhaps) during the week (maybe it'll be bouldering, or another hangboard session if I'm psyched on it. And then on the weekend - a day at the cliff.

So no - I don't combine this with another session in the gym. But that's me! If I had to go to a commercial gym to train it would be a different story I'm sure!

Brian Weaver said...

Now I finally understand why I have so much trouble with the 45s! I measured the angle on my board. Everything is mounted perpendicular to the wall but somewhere along the line with the wood there is a difference that creates a 2 degree problem. My slopers are 47s! I can hang with one arm on the 35s (37s) but seriously struggle on the 45s. Will definitely try out your sessions to see what progress I can make.

My personal best is a 2 second hang on a cool, dry day. Will probably improve in the summer with some humidity!