There is possibly no other hangboard that provides more systematic fingerboard training or is as easy to track and see subtle improvement the Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center. Offering a variety of grips that build easily upon the last, this well-designed board offers several unique features that facilitate very precise hand positioning. This means the user can ever-so-slightly increase the difficulty to match her or his increase in strength to make sure they are getting the most out of every workout. The Rock Prodigy also unique in that it is a two-part design. This design allows the user to custom spread the width of the holds helping to maximize good ergonomics during their workouts and minimize the amount of stress they are putting on their shoulders and elbows. The two-part design and plethora of edges do come at a cost. That cost is mostly in its difficulty of mounting and how much real-estate it takes up. If you have the space in your house for this Editors' Choice winner, you won't be disappointed once it's on your wall.
Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center Review
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Great diversity of edges and pockets, two-part design caters to different body sizes, ideal progression of holds, easy to track progress, applicable to a wide range of users
Cons: Most challenging to mount, not great for tight spaces, straight-across 1/4 edge is less rounded and a little harder on our fingerstips than other models
Our Analysis and Test Results
You train on a hangboard to get strong, and few boards make it easier to get strong than this one. The Rock Prodigy has the most systematic collection of edges and pockets to help you get stronger and hopefully inspire you to keep training. Not only that but it has among the most grip options of any model we tested, which helps keep things interesting. It's suitable for a wide range of users, from dedicated 5.13+ climbers to those looking to buy their first hangboard.
Edges and Pockets
The Rock Prodigy offers the greatest diversity of edges and pockets of any model we tested, though it is worth noting that the Metolius 3D Simulator does come pretty close. This is awesome because, for the vast majority, edges and pockets provide the foundation of hangboard training. Best of all, the Rock Prodigy provides what is likely the best progression of holds of any model we have seen.
The Rock Prodigy offers a plethora of edges, utilizing a unique design. Its' two highest edges slowly get narrower as you move from right to left, with the lower set of edges starting off where the higher set left off. The top set of edges start at around 1 1/4" in depth and taper down to approximately 3/4". The lower set starts around 7/8" and tapers to just under a 1/4". A quarter of an inch edge is smaller than many other models offer.
You're probably wondering, "Well, how do I know I have my hands in the correct places?" To help keep track of where to position your hands, there are two small bumps on each level on the vertical wall at the back of the edge (this is so you aren't hanging on the bumps themselves). These were easy to use and let you line up your hands perfectly. Another bonus of this design is that they encourage a progression of difficulty and make it easy to track. For example, for a week you were on a given edge with the bump on your ring finger, but now you can hang the same amount of time with the bump at your index/pointer finger. We love this and how, more than any other model, it allows its user to fine-tune their training.
You can feel the tapered edge design some, though it was a lot less apparent while using the wider-edges. Even on the smaller edges, our testing team never felt it was a problem. We did appreciate that Trango added a straight-across, non-tapered 1/4" edge for when you are really feeling like getting vicious. This straight-across 1/4" edge isn't as rounded as other models and was a little harsher than average on our fingertips, but it was hardly terrible, and we still loved using it.Pockets
Besides the tapered edges, this model also sports five pairs of pockets, several of which can be used in different ways. The highest three finger pocket (next to the four-finger quarter-inch edge) feels deep. At 1.5", (nearly two pads for most people) it is a great design for folks looking to start training on less than four fingers.
Other than that, this model offers one more three-finger pocket and three two-finger ones. Like the edges, these pockets too can be used in several different ways. The three-finger pocket is ribbed to allow better support for your tendons, and it also accommodates mono or two-finger hangs. The three-finger pocket also offers three different depths, basically giving you three more mono-finger pocket options.
Two of the two-finger pockets are the standard offering of 3/4" and 1" depths. The lowest outside two-finger pocket is ribbed and much like the higher three-finger ribbed pocket. The ribs provide support for mono-digit hangs at two different depths or used as a standalone, two-finger pocket. All of our reviewers noted how much they liked the ribs in both the two and three-finger pockets because of how much additional support they provided. This couldn't be truer than when doing single digit hangs off from these grips.
Overall, our testers love this model's variety of edges and pockets, particularly for folks who are really into seeing the progression they're making or like to track progress more systematically. Some of our users prefer more straight-across depths to work on, but there is no denying the added options this models design creates.
Slopers and Jugs
We found the two sets of slopers on the top of the Rock Prodigy average overall. They are fine in facilitating a good warm-up but nothing to write home about. Despite their unusual shape, the jugs in the middle are quite comfortable and thus among our favorite for one-armed lock-offs and weighted pull-ups.
The texture on the Rock Prodigy is among our favorites for non-wooden models. It is quite fine-grained, and while different in feeling than the Metolius 3D Simulator, these two models tore our hands up the least of any of the polyester resin boards tested. Even with a twenty-pound weight vest and hangboarding 2-3 times a week, this board was only marginally harsher on our skin than our top-textured models, the Beastmaker 1000 and Beastmaker 2000.
While pinches are a rare strong-point of any hangboard, all of our testers were impressed and appreciated this model's three primary pinch options. The Rock Prodigy sports two parts of a pinch that can be used together to create a very wide pinch or individually for two different, small pinch options. While pinches will never be the foundation of hangboard training, they are a great way to mix up your training or help prepare for route-specific moves (think steep) on your project.
Ease of Mounting
One of the most significant benefits of the Rock Prodigy is it can be custom tailored in width to its specific users. This equates to better ergonomics for most people by way of less stress on a majority of peoples elbows and shoulders. The downside of this design is that it certainly takes the most skill to mount. While hardly rocket science, it will no doubt take more time and effort to mount than any other model in our review. Also because of its wide two-part design, you should strongly consider mounting this model to a 3/4" piece of plywood and then install the whole piece of plywood on the wall. This lets you mount the board exactly where you want it and then drill the plywood into the studs for strength.
The Rock Prodigy also will require more space than any other hangboard in our review. While the Metolius Contact might technically have larger dimensions this board, because of the gap between the two sides, the Rock Prodigy requires the most space. We feel the payoff is well worth it for the custom ergonomics as long as you can find a place to put it. If you like this board but are limited on space, check out the Beastmaker 1000 which offers a good selection of holds but requires less space to mount and can even fit above doorways in many places with lower-than-average 7-foot ceilings.
The Rock Prodigy is easily among the most versatile hangboards regarding ability levels. We think this board can cater to 5.10 climbers and 5.13+ climbers alike. While we think that for truly high-end crushers, the Beastmaker 2000 is slightly better, the Rock Prodigy can certainly hold its own with a variety of mono and two-finger pockets of a variety of depths.
Besides being very suitable for a wide range of users, what truly sets the Rock Prodigy apart is its progression of ever more challenging holds. Its tapered four-finger edges with accompanying positioning bumps are nearly unbeatable for tracking and encouraging progress. The same could the about all the ways people could take advantage of its two and three-finger pockets. Who is the Rock Prodigy not good for? Well, almost no one from a climbing standpoint but its large mounting dimensions means it might not be an option for climbers who don't have the right type of space in which to mount it.
At $130, the Rock Prodigy is on the more expensive side of polyester resin models. We feel this model's top-end performance, plethora of progressively harder holds, and two-part design mean it's easily worth its price. It is also worth remembering that while it is the most expensive polyester resin model, it isn't quite as expensive as some wood models like the Beastmakers which both retail around $160. What doesn't help this model's value is that unlike most other models, the Rock Prodigy will almost undoubtedly need to be mounted on a piece of plywood (not included, of course). For those with a history of shoulder or elbow pain, this model's two part-design can be catered to its specific user and thus reduces stress on those joints. This feature alone might justify the price for some users.
The Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center is easily one of the best all-around models out there. Its wealth of grips work well for a wide range of users, and no other model works as well for as many ability levels. It offers one of the absolute best progressions of holds, and we loved its subtle features to help better track your progress and diversify the use of many of the holds. While this model doesn't have the best texture in our review, it's totally fine, even for intense use. This model's few downsides mostly relate to its more involved mounting process and the larger space required to set it up properly. However, we feel that as long as you have the space to fit the Rock Prodigy, this model's wide mounting pattern is easily worth the improved ergonomics and reduced stress on its user's shoulders and elbows.
— Ian Nicholson