RPTC Install and First Impressions

I permanently installed my Rock Prodigy Training Center last week, and I’ve done my first few hangboard workouts of the new season.  To install the RPTC, I took a bunch of measurements of my old, sprawling setup, and used those figures to optimize the spacing of the RPTC.  In the end I settled on 4.5″ between the interior edges of the two halves (YMMV!).  I have the halves oriented horizontally, and so far this is working well for me.

Measuring the spacing between halves of the RPTC.

Measuring the spacing between halves of the RPTC.

So far the RPTC has worked out even better than I’d hoped.  One thing I really like about it though, is that before I was using four different “stations” to complete my workout.  This required a ton of space, but moreso it required a lot of moving from place to place throughout each workout.  It made the rest periods stressful as I raced to get in position in time to start the next set (not to mention all the time I spent taping various fingers to protect my skin from overly-sharp holds).

My old hangboard setup.  A ridiculous amalgamation of modified hangboards, holds, rock rings and system tiles

My old hangboard setup. A ridiculous amalgamation of modified hangboards, holds, rock rings and system tiles.  Switching grips meant moving my stopwatch, chalkbag, toothbrush, pulleys and platform from one set of holds to the next. 

All the other nonsense replaced by a single, streamlined unit

All the other nonsense replaced by a single, streamlined unit.  Now what to do with all the extra space?

That is all a distant, unpleasant memory now.  I can do my entire workout in one place, I don’t need to move weights and platforms all around between sets, and best of all NO MORE TAPE!  I haven’t had to use a single piece of tape since I switched to the RPTC.  I used to end each workout with a massive pile of used tape.  I would regularly go through 1-2 rolls of athletic tape each season, just for hangboard workouts!  Good riddance.

A typical tape job for my old hangboard workouts (!)

A typical tape job for my old hangboard workouts (!)

That said, the texture on the RPTC is not one-size-fits all.  Most of the folks I’ve talked to really like it as is, but more advanced climbers (those using smaller holds, with more resistance) will probably benefit from sanding some texture down in certain areas.  It only takes a few light passes to make a difference, so take it easy and check your work frequently.  I used 150-grit sandpaper on the following surfaces:

-All pinch surfaces
-The radius of the thin crimp
-The radius of the shallowest Index-Middle pocket
-The radius of the shallowest Middle-Ring pocket.

Usually 3 or 4 light passes with the sandpaper is enough, so don’t over do it!  Its much harder to add texture than it is to remove it.

So far I’ve been using these grips, in this order:

-Large Variable Depth Edge Rail (VDER), with outside Position Index Bump (PIB) between my Middle and Ring fingers.
-Shallowest Middle-Ring pocket
-Thin Crimp
-Mono, using outside part of shallowest Index-Middle pocket (#4 below)
-Shallow VDER, with outside PIB between Middle and Ring Fingers
-Shallowest Index-Middle pocket
-Medium Pinch

RPTC Grip Identification

When I finish my Strength Phase in a few weeks I’ll post some charts showing the resistance I used from workout to workout so we can compare notes. 

One more note, Trango is now offering a pulley kit which you can install under your hangboard to facilitate removing weight.  If you aren’t using pulleys, you probably should be.  As explained here, you should train on hold sizes that are typical of your goal routes.  For most climbers, that will mean at least a few small holds, with weight removed.


2 thoughts on “RPTC Install and First Impressions

  1. When using the two-finger pockets do you tend to work all three two-finger groups, or just one, or two? The order I’ve been working is Ring/Pinkie, Index/Middle, Middle/Ring, Wide Pinch, Crimp and Sloper. I don’t plan on ever using a Ring/Pinkie pocket combo in any real world situation, but I still workout with it to isolate each position to increase my finger strength overall.


    • Jeff,
      I train Middle-Ring and Index-Middle. I’ve only encountered Ring-Pinky once in the real world (on Damage at Shelf Road). I think there can be value in training RP for the reason you mentioned–to isolate each finger flexor. That said, I personally don’t train it because I only seem to be able to give a quality effort to about 7 grips, and that grip doesn’t make it into my top 7.


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