Warming up properly is one of the best things you can do to prevent injuries when rock climbing. Your tendons, muscles, and mind will thank you for it. But when you’re climbing outside rather than hanging onto plastic in the gym, it can be hard to find easy climbs to ramp up on. That’s why whenever I climb outside, I bring the Tension Flash Board ($75).
The Flash Board can be hung from tree branches, bolts, or even hooked around your feet with the included adjustable cord. Much like a hang board, this board imitates common rock holds. The cylindrical design has 13 holds, ranging in size from small crimps to 20-millimeter pockets. By flipping the board upside down, you have access to a whole new set of grips with different sizes. When I’m first warming up, I start out with the biggest size, lightly weight the board with my body, and transition slowly from an open to a closed crimp hand position. This gives my body a chance to get the blood flowing, used to crimping again, and psyched for what’s ahead. Once I’ve started to warm up, I move to smaller holds on the board.
At just two pounds, the board is extremely portable, easily fitting inside my Moon bouldering bag. I prefer the feel of wood holds rather than traditional plastic materials, as it’s a little easier on my skin. (Plus, wood holds are biodegradable.) Every Tension product is crafted from locally sourced American hardwoods and is processed and finished in Denver. The $75 price tag may seem steep for a warm-up tool, but your tendons will be better for it in the long term. Looking to save a little money? Tension also sells Flash Boards with cosmetic defects for $65 here.