Zlagboard Pro 2.0
Our endurance and lock-off strength sucks. We have a small hangboard, and been doing the same few minutes of hangboard exercise for months. We have zero gains. As with all exercise, you need a plan. Unfortunately we know nothing about training fingers or forearms for endurance. Enter: the Zlagboard Pro 2.0 with Pro plans. Because we're lazy bums.
The board itself is a quality product. The wood is nicely machined and sanded, the metal parts have no sharp edges. Mounting it above a doorframe is easy with six screws (not included, nor are the studs). Our doorframes are crooked as all hell so to get it level it left a small gap on one side.
It has varied holds from jugs to very small one hand crimps. Those hurt, to be honest. There's a few different slopers, and even sloping two-finger holds. Quite the smorgasbord of hard holds. It works by hanging on it, which moves the board down slightly. This activates the gyroscopes on the mounted phone, which lets it know you're hanging. Pull-ups are counted tapping your nose on the touch screen (clean before use, COVID is still a thing). That is a fun idea, but in practice doesn't work that well. Arie's pull-ups are higher than the phone. That means he has to tap the phone on his way up before completing the movement.
The one thing that's going to make or break this device is the app. The app is a great idea in theory. It helps us track workouts and follow a plan by the fine folks at Café Kraft. It's something to keep us accountable and on track.
The reality is that the app is poorly thought through. Redeeming the 6 month Pro-plan voucher was a huge, confusing hassle. There's no field to input that. You have to go through the Vertical Life app, which rejected our code (but still worked somehow?). Not the best user experience.
It's also annoying that you can't pause a workout, or go back if you accidentally skipped ahead.
The plans are good. They're all done by excellent trainers (Patxi Usobiaga, Ingo Filzwieser, and the like). They range from 20 – 40 minutes in length. This replaces two of our forearm strengthening and conditioning sessions each week.
The downside is that you spent € 250 on a hangboard, and then another € 3 per month to get access to the Pro plans. Yes there are free plans included, but they seem quite basic. Grumble grumble. On top of that, the plans do seem to have quite a steep learning curve to get into them. The first plan we're doing (lock-offs and finger strength) is very hard, even the easiest version of it. That says a lot about us, but also about this training device.
It's very painful. 20 minutes is a long-ass hang, let alone doing contractions and lockoffs back to back. We use it twice a week, and every time we moan about how much using this thing actually hurts. We're sure it'll be effective with repeated use, but a few weeks in: it just hurts. We get brutally pumped (some days are worse than other), and your fingers just feel like they're going to fall off. The wood is nice and smooth, but a 40 minute hangboard session just rips skin to shreds.
It's not for the faint of heart.
As with all nice things, this thing is expensive. And we hate the subscription model. It's kind of a 🍆 move for something this expensive. The quality is great. Mounting is easy, and we uhm "enjoy" using the board much more than the small one we had for at the crag. We just wish our fingers weren't so soft.