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Benchmarking

The Beastmaker Tests

The Beastmaker benchmarking system is the result of an extensive collaboration between Neil Gresham and the Beastmaker team. Our tests take the guesswork out of training by clearly identifying your strengths and weaknesses and showing you which areas you need to focus on. The system will steer you towards your goals and provide a practical and effective method for tracking progress along the way. The Beastmaker tests enable comparison with other climbers, but above all else they will show you if you’re improving and keep you motivated to get out and crush!  

 Beastmaker strength tests will identify which finger grips are strongest and weakness. Photo: Nick Brown 

Beastmaker strength tests will identify which finger grips are strongest and weakness. Photo: Nick Brown 

Strength tests

Ever wondered which of your fingers are strongest and which types of grip you perform best at? Are you better at locking off or pulling up and is your core in synch with your arms and fingers? The Beastmaker strength tests will reveal the answers, so that you know which exercises to prioritise. Tests can be conducted at one of our approved centres or at home for free. All you need is access to a Beastmaker 1000 and a 2000. You can use the results to steer your training programme or better still, we can produce a personalised programme for you. 

 Deadhang repeaters are used as a measure of pure forearm endurance. Photo: Nick Brown

Deadhang repeaters are used as a measure of pure forearm endurance. Photo: Nick Brown

Endurance tests

Do you have the necessary endurance to achieve your climbing goals? Are you more suited to shorter or longer routes and how do your fingers compare to your arms when it comes to endurance? The Beastmaker tests are a measure of pure endurance, without an element of technique to cloud the picture. Use the results to shape your endurance programme or let us do this for you. Tests can easily be re-taken, at the mid and the end point of your programme to assist with tracking progress.  

 Are you supple enough to achieve your climbing goals? Take a Beastmaker flexibility test to find out. Photo: Ian Parnell 

Are you supple enough to achieve your climbing goals? Take a Beastmaker flexibility test to find out. Photo: Ian Parnell 

Flexibility tests

Climbing is not just about pulling hard. The best and most versatile climbers are as supple as Ballet dancers. Find out how you measure up by taking a Beastmaker flexibility test. It could be that your time is better spent stretching than using a hangboard! All three tests can be taken separately or as a combined package. 

 

"The Beastmaker tests provide the foundation for all my training. The results don't lie and they provide a functional method for prioritising key areas and achieving your goals." 
Neil Gresham
 
 If you've been climbing longer than 6 months then the Beastmaker tests could be a key tool to help you improve. Photo: Nick Brown

If you've been climbing longer than 6 months then the Beastmaker tests could be a key tool to help you improve. Photo: Nick Brown

Who are the tests for?

Any climber who wants to improve will benefit, whether female or male, from virtual beginner* to elite level. Many of the world’s best climbers are using the Beastmaker tests to monitor their progress, but you certainly don’t need to be an elite performer to take advantage.

* We advise that you must have been climbing (fairly regularly, EG: approximately 2 – 3 times a week) for at least 6 months. Total beginners should NOT test and are advised to focus on technique and building up base strength by climbing.

We don’t advise that anyone with an injury or medical condition takes the tests. Junior climbers should only test under the supervision of an approved Beastmaker trainer and we advise a minimum of 3 years experience for juniors. See our detailed terms and conditions. 

 

 

 Beastmaker test conspirators Neil Gresham and Steve Golley have over 40 years of coaching experience between them. Seen here, running a coaching holiday in Kalymnos. 

Beastmaker test conspirators Neil Gresham and Steve Golley have over 40 years of coaching experience between them. Seen here, running a coaching holiday in Kalymnos. 

Who’s behind the system?

The Beastmaker tests have been developed by Dan Varian and Neil Gresham, both who are high-level performers, with years of coaching experience. Dan Varian, has made first ascents of three Font 8b+ boulder problems, climbed trad E10 and is the co-founder of Beastmaker training products. Neil Gresham has climbed E10 and 8c+ and was one of the earliest pioneers of coaching, who has been at the forefront of developments for over two decades. Another key collaborator is Ned Feehally, co-founder of Beastmaker and 3 times British champion, who has climbed several Font 8b+s and flashed Font 8b. Our tech guru, Steve Golley has over fifteen years coaching experience and has collaborated with Neil on various projects such as the HangboardGuru app. 

 

 

 Dan Varian, co-founder of Beastmaker in action.. Photo: X

Dan Varian, co-founder of Beastmaker in action.. Photo: X

Where to test? …..anywhere with Beastmaker boards

The Beastmaker tests can be taken on your own, at home or at any climbing wall with Beastmaker fingerboards or with one of our trainers at an approved Beastmaker test centre (see below for details).

You will need:

  • Beastmaker 1000 AND a 2000 board
  • A tape measure and a stopwatch.
  • A few 2kg weights - only if you are climbing in excess of V9 / French 8a (flash/onsight) and taking strength tests.

Strength and endurance tests must be taken on separate days, but you can take flexibility on the same day as either strength or endurance. 

 

 
 
 How does your sloper strength compare to your ability to use other holds? Take a Beastmaker test to find out. Photo: Nick Brown

How does your sloper strength compare to your ability to use other holds? Take a Beastmaker test to find out. Photo: Nick Brown

How long do the tests take?

It is not possible to take strength and endurance tests on the same day. You must take a rest day before taking either test.

You can take a flexibility test with either a strength test or an endurance test.

Beginner strength: approx. 45 mins - 1hr 

Intermediate & elite strength:  approx. 1 hr - 1hr 15 mins

Beginner endurance:  approx. 45 mins

Intermediate & elite endurance approx. 1 hr

Flexibility: 15 - 20 mins

 If you're new to hang boarding then check in with one of our approved trainers for your first test. This is a great way to ensure that you're testing and training safely in the future. Photo: Karl Gregory

If you're new to hang boarding then check in with one of our approved trainers for your first test. This is a great way to ensure that you're testing and training safely in the future. Photo: Karl Gregory

Should you solo-test or test with a Beastmaker trainer  

A key advantage of Beastmaker tests is that you can take them on your own, for free using our online test suite (LINK). However, we only recommend this to those who are experienced in fingerboard training, so if you’re unsure, we advise booking an assessment with an approved Benchmarker trainer. Additionally, if you want your scores to be to appear on our verified ranking list then you will also need to be tested by an approved trainer (or supply video footage of your tests). The trainer will take you through the exercises, log your scores for you and then send them off for analysis. You can also discuss options for an additional fingerboard training programme or a full training programme. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and learn how to train safely and correctly on a fingerboard. These sessions will ensure that you’re getting the maximum benefit from your fingerboard training, as well as the tests.

 1 or 2-arm lock-offs are used to test arm strength, subject to the level of the climbers. Photo: Nick Brown

1 or 2-arm lock-offs are used to test arm strength, subject to the level of the climbers. Photo: Nick Brown

When to test?   ….before, during and after a training period

The best time to take the tests is before starting a period of training. This will help you to define what areas need to be emphasized in the plan and provide you with a reference tool to see if you’ve improved. It is also advisable to take them at the midpoint of a program, to check that you are on track and then again at the end, to see if all the hard work has paid off and to identify any last-minute gaps that need addressing. Another good time to test is during the middle of the climbing season to check that you haven’t made any performance losses and are on track for your goals or projects. The beauty of Beastmaker tests is that you can re-take them on your own at any point for free (without the need for a trainer or to pay for results) and this is perhaps their greatest value  - as a quick and free method of monitoring your own training. 

 
 
 A core strength test in action. Photo: Karl Gregory

A core strength test in action. Photo: Karl Gregory

Key benefits of the Beastmaker testing system:

 

Availability - Beastmaker boards are everywhere!

Accuracy - A key advantage of Beastmaker tests is that they are conducted on a fingerboard. Only by eliminating climbing movement is it possible to obtain accurate data for pure strength and endurance.

Easy, convenient, low-cost re-testing - The Beastmaker system isn’t just about comparison with a data-pool, it’s most powerful use is for tracking your own progress. Additionally, the concept of comparing yourself to other climbers of a similar grade or ability level has limitations. Climbing does not present a level playing field for analysis in the same way as sports like cycling or track athletics. Comparisons with the data pool and with elite climbers are fun and may provide interesting insights to your weaknesses and strengths but they should not be taken as the final word.

 

 

 It's all about training specifically to your goals. The Beastmaker tests can prepare you for bouldering, sport climbing or as an all-rounder.  

It's all about training specifically to your goals. The Beastmaker tests can prepare you for bouldering, sport climbing or as an all-rounder.  

Goal-focused analysis - Beastmaker test users are assessed in relation to their goals. Your test form will ask you what projects or climbing styles you are focused on at the moment and these will be taken into account in analysis. As such, the same person could be tested as a boulderer prior to a Fontainebleau trip or a sport climber prior to a Kalymnos trip, or as an all-rounder if there are no particular trips or goals in the diary.

 

Enjoyment and long-term participation - The Beastmaker system turns climbers into athletes by teaching correct training practices and use of good form, all in the interest of injury prevention and long-term participation.

 

To book an assessment contact your local approved Beastmaker centre.

LINK TO TRAINERS PAGE

 Our full training programmes include all forms of training from bouldering to circuits, antagonist exercises and warm-ups. Photo: Ian Parnell 

Our full training programmes include all forms of training from bouldering to circuits, antagonist exercises and warm-ups. Photo: Ian Parnell 

Testing-based personalised training programmes

Beastmaker analysis reports identify your weaknesses and the areas you need to focus on in your training but they are not training programmes. Full training programmes (which include all aspects of training such as bouldering, circuits, antagonist exercises, fingerboard sessions, warm-ups, supportive cardio and so on) and fingerboard-only training programs can be purchased separately. Our training programmes are compiled personally either by Neil Gresham (via this website) or Dan Varian (via www.beastmaker.com) both have over decades of experience in this field. Neil and Dan's programmes are geared specifically to the results of your Beastmaker tests and will be tailored to your goals and time constraints. See neilgresham.com for more information and testimonials.

(LINK back to personalised programmes)

 
 
 Photo: Nick Brown

Photo: Nick Brown

Prices:

Solo testing                                      Free

Testing (with inclusive fingerboard tuition) with our approved trainers in our approved centres: 

Strength or endurance only:            £70            

Strength or endurance + flexibility:  £100

Strength, endurance & flexibility package price: £150 (strength and endurance tests to be taken on separate days)

 

Fingerboard training programme:  2 months: £40 / 3 months: £50

Full training programme:               2 months: £55 / 3 months: £65 / 

                                                   4 months: £75

 

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Beastmaker test - approved trainers

 

All of our trainers are MCA certified, which means they’ve been trained in anatomy, physiology, and nutrition. They understand that no two bodies are alike and will work with you to get fit at the right pace.

 
 
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Neil Gresham

Specializations
Weightlifting
Strength Training
Senior Fitness

Aksel’s grandfather introduced weightlifting to him at an early age, so it’s no surprise that he went on to compete nationally. He approaches his own training with patience and resolve and brings that same attitude to his clients.

2_RHTechnique-6.jpg

Steve Golley

Specializations
Functional Training
Fitness & Nutrition
Yoga
Marathon Training

Maiv is addicted to fruits, vegetables, and marathons. During individual sessions, she also trains alongside you, so you never feel like you’re working out alone.

Dan Varian

Specializations
Gymnastics
Sports Conditioning
Strength & Resistance Training
Orthopedic Exercise

With a background in gymnastics, Joel has a passion for applying his experience to helping you develop lean muscle and healthy joints.