This story originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of our print edition.
“I loved the different depths on the same edge. It increased the number of holds without adding size to the board, and the small raised bumps inside the pockets made it really easy to find the same spot every time,” one tester said of the Rock Prodigy’s unique variable-edge system. Testers also agreed that this board had “the most worthwhile pinches” because they were positioned with the thumb on the bottom and fingers on top; this isolates the forearm and hand muscles you use when pinching. Other boards allow you to cheat a little bit by placing pinches on the outside of the board so your thumb and fingers are on either side; this position allows you to activate the compression muscles in your chest and shoulders, so you’re not focusing fully on forearm pinch strength. Testers found the overall texture of the board pretty aggressive, and some of the smallest edges were a little sharp, but they were easily sanded down for more comfort and ease of use. It is more difficult and involved to mount than any other board because you must customize the width and mount two pieces. However, using the Rock Prodigy on a DIY sliding-panel system (meaning you can change the width at any time) was excellent for asymmetric training.
The personalization on this board, from variable-depth edges to a customizable overall width, the high-friction surface, and 15+ grips make this a board that’s great to have for the long haul as you progress as a climber. Look elsewhere to target sloper strength.
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