The 3 Best Peg Boards for CrossFit (And How to Use Them Effectively)

peg boards crossfit

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While peg boards could be found in select fitness circles and climbing gyms for many years, they’ve more recently found a home in CrossFit gyms around the world.

Climbing up a peg board is an advanced exercise that increases arm and back strength, as well as stability. If your grip strength is lacking, adding a peg board to your training should be a no-brainer. There’s a reason rock climbers use it during training!

Here’s a beginner’s guide on using this piece of equipment, plus the 3 best peg boards for CrossFit.

What’s a Peg Board?

Made famous by its debut at the 2015 CrossFit Games, the peg board is a fitness tool used for strengthening the upper body.

Drilled into the wall, users climb the peg board using two wooden dowels. Placed inside the holes that climb up the board, one “rep” is counted each time you reach the top of the peg board.

(Or, in the case of CrossFit competition, when you’ve reached the top and successfully climbed your way back to the bottom. Jumping down from the top = no rep. Not to mention your dowels will be stuck at the top.)

Peg Board: Muscle Worked

In a CrossFit workout the peg board hits your: 

  • Arms. Your biceps and forearms must work incredibly hard to keep you on the peg board. Peg board training is amazing for increasing grip and pulling strength.
  • Shoulders. Your deltoids help generate force from the shoulder to your hands as you climb up the board. The rear delts help stabilize the arm that isn’t ascending or descending.
  • Upper back. Your rhomboids and trapezius (traps) stabilize you on the board. 
  • Mid Back. As with pull-ups, your lats generate much of the pulling force that helps you get up and down.
  • Core. Without tight abs and active obliques, scaling the peg board would be impossible.

The Best Peg Boards Available 

Below are the three best peg boards for CrossFit. 

*Safety Tip: If you’re installing a pegboard for CrossFit in your home gym, be sure the wall you mount your board to can hold it. Consult a handyman if you aren’t sure!

Best Pegboard for CrossFit

#5- PB-1 Echo (Maple base model)

The original pegboards at the Games were clear, but Rogue’s staple product is the PB-1 Echo. You’ll find these in most CrossFit gyms with peg boards. There isn’t a better option on the market.

Pros

  • 95 inches tall (nearly 8 feet of vertical climbing space)
  • High quality maple wood
  • No polyurethane finish, so you can paint to match your home gym/brand if desired
  • 35 holes to climb up and down
  • Comes with dowels
  • 90-Day Warranty

Cons

  • Due to height, high ceilings required
  • May need to pay for professional installation

Rogue also offers a more expensive pine option with a metal Rogue name plate and a higher end maple product, both with a polyurethane finish. But unless you plan to specialize in peg board or use it for extensive rock climbing training, the PB-1 model should do the trick.

Affordable/Budget Peg Board for CrossFit

If you see the peg board as just a fun piece of equipment to add to your home gym, there’s a lot to like about Plyobox Warehouse’s model. It’s cheaper than the Rogue PB-1, and if you’re building in a home gym without low ceilings, it might actually be the best option.

Pros

  • Made from double layer 3/4inch plywood
  • Sturdy design
  • Shorter than Rogue’s PB-1 (5 feet of climbing space)
  • Custom engraving options available for home gym/CrossFit box branding
  • Comes with 2 dowels

Cons

  • Mounting hardware isn’t included, so you’ll have to either buy it yourself or hire someone to put it up in your gym.

Beginner Peg Board for CrossFit

Beginners can definitely use a peg board too. Whether it seems like a fun goal or you just got your first pull-up and are excited for something new, the Synergee 4ft pegboard is a good option.

Benefits and Specs:

  • 1.5inches thick, made of quality plywood
  • 8ft option available if you have higher ceilings and/or want a longer board
  • Comes with all mounting materials
  • Staggered hole placement makes for a unique challenge climbing up the wall

The 4ft option gives you room to practice the peg board without one rep seeming insurmountable.

Tips to Improve on Peg Board

Mastering the peg board for CrossFit isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Here are some tips to help you learn the basics.

Practice One Hole at a Time

Even athletes who can do lots of pull-ups sometimes struggle to get to the top of the peg board. 

If you’re unable to climb that high, focus on going up halfway or even a quarter. If you’re brand new, focus on going up one set of holes and coming back down for a week or two. With enough reps, you’ll eventually be able to climb the whole thing.

*Placing a cushion or mat below you in case you fall can be a good option if you’re afraid of falling.

Work on Grip Strength

For many, grip strength is the limiting factor on the peg board. Start drilling these exercises to boost forearm strength and endurance:

Pair With Push/Cardio Exercises

Once you can successfully climb the board once or twice, you’re free to add peg boards into your CrossFit WODs.

For effective programming, treat the pegboard like you would a rope climb, muscle-up, or pull-up workout. It won’t be exactly the same, but at least it will help you pair fewer “pull” movements with it.

Good pairings include:

  • Push exercises, like bench presses, push-ups, thrusters, and jerks
  • Cardio exercises like running, rowing, Assault bike, or double unders

Peg Board CrossFit Workout Ideas

1. CrossFit Games 2015 Final WOD

For time:

  • 3 Pegboard Climbs
  • 24 calorie row
  • 16 calorie assault bike
  • 8 Dumbbell Squat Snatches (100/70lbs)*

*Sub a lighter kettlebell or dumbbell in here if needed.

2. Peg Board Annie

50-40-30-20-10

  • Double unders
  • Sit-ups
  • Perform 2 Pegboard ascents in between sets

3. Peg Board Couplet WOD

For Time:

  • 15 Thrusters, 115lbs
  • 3 Pegboard climbs
  • 12 Thrusters, 135lbs
  • 3 Pegboard Climbs
  • 9 Thrusters, 155lbs
  • 3 Pegboard Climbs
  • 6 Thrusters, 185lbs
  • 3 Pegboard Climbs

4. AMRAP Pegboard WOD

AMRAP 20:

  • 30 Wallball Shots, 20/14lbs
  • 15 Assault Bike Calories
  • 1 Peg Board Climb

5. Grip Strength Challenge WOD

5 Rounds for Time:

  • 2 Pegboard Climbs
  • 50m Farmer’s Carry, 70lb kettlebells
  • 10 Chest-To-Bar Pull-Ups
  • 400m Run
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About Julien

Hey! Thanks for being here. I’ve been active pretty much my whole life and I discovered Crossfit about 5 years ago. I want to help you improve your Crossfit performances by giving tips on specific movements, workouts and equipment. You have a question? Get in touch!

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