10 Best Bicep Exercises Using A Climbing Peg Board

There’s no doubt about it, weight training is the best way to build muscle and get stronger. 

However, without supplementing your training and working on your weaker areas, it’s easy to plateau. 

Working on your functional strength is actually just as important as doing heavy lifts.  

It involves more natural – as well as more complex – movements. And by training in this way, you’ll be able to highlight and work on your weaker areas, which could be holding you back. 

And by varying the way you use your muscles you’ll be giving them new stimuli to adapt to. This in turn will help you build and get stronger. 

Climbing peg boards are one of the simplest and most challenging ways to improve your functional strength. 

You can use them to train at home and not only are they fun to use, but they can really help you progress with your lifts too. 

What is a climbing peg board? 

Climbing peg boards are wooden boards with holes in them. Pegs or handles can then be slotted into the holes. And by holding onto the pegs you can climb your way around the board moving from hole to hole. There are different sizes and shapes or peg board available and you use them for a variety of exercises. 

Not just for rock climbers, anyone can use them to work on their upper body strength as well as their grip and forearm strength. 

They’re a great training tool and can be easily mounted at home or on your garage wall. 

What muscles does a peg board work? 

Peg boards are great for building your biceps. And because you can do a variety of pull up style movements on them, they’re also great for building your lats, traps, shoulders, chest, and core. 

Peg boards can be used for a range of exercises (as you’ll see below) and different exercises will target specific areas.  

Why use a climbing peg board? 

There are loads of benefits from using climbing peg boards: 

  • Grip strength and forearm strength – using a climbing peg board will really help you build on your grip and forearm strength, which are both fundamental in weight training. By training with a peg board, you’ll not only be able to improve your performance climbing, but you’ll also be able to progress your lifts too. 
  • Coordination – when you’re used to weightlifting in the gym, it can be easy to switch off and just make your way through your training. Peg boards however are fantastic for building coordination as well as breaking out of the same lifting patterns that you’re used to. 
  • Strength – it’s not just weightlifting that’s going to help you build strength. Lifting your bodyweight over a sustained amount of time is fantastic for building upper body strength. They will really help you improve your pull ups and muscle ups too. 
  • Sustained tension – it’s not just about how much you lift but building muscle and strength is also down to the quality of your exercises. By continuously holding up your bodyweight, you’re sustaining tension on your muscles which is really important for maximising your gains. 
  • Core stability – climbing peg boards are about skill as well as strength. And navigating your way around the board requires a good level of core work to help keep you stable as you climb. 
  • Targeting areas you wouldn’t normally target – mixing things up is one of the best ways to stimulate muscle growth. Using a peg board is a great way to use your muscles in new ways which in turn will supplement your strength training. 
  • New challenge – peg boards are challenging to use which makes them interesting and fun to use. They give you a mental focus and they’re a great alternative when you can’t face counting reps and sets down at the gym. 

Top 10 exercises 

If you’re new to peg boards, then the following exercises are a great way to progress. 

Start with straight handles so you can get used to climbing. And then work up to the Peg Board Ball Handles to increase the difficulty.  

1) Dead hangs 

fitness expert uses a mirafit peg board to hang

These will help build initial strength as well as get you used to holding onto the pegs. 

Grab hold of the pegs and try to hold on (without touching the floor) for up to 2-3 minutes. 

2) Pull up holds 

If you’re not able to do pull ups yet, you can use a weight bench to get yourself up into a pull up position. Then, hold that top position for as long as you can. 

3) Scapular pull ups 

These are great for building your shoulders and upper back. In a dead hang position, bring your elbows and shoulders down so that you’re a little more elevated than when you’re in a dead hang. Then lower yourself back down. Repeat. 

4) Pull ups 

Peg boards can also be used for straight pull ups. Once you feel ready to progress, practise pulling yourself up into a raised position. Remember to keep the pegs level when doing this (rather than at different heights). 

5) Staggered pull ups 

fitness expert uses a mirafit peg board to do a staggered pull up

As above, use the peg board to perform pull ups. However, this time, have one peg higher than the other. This will help you progress to climbing around on the board. 

Once you have done one side, swap the peg positions so the opposite hand is higher than the other for the next set. 

6) Single arm hangs 

These are dead hangs again, but you’ll be hanging off just one arm rather than two. Aim to hold for around 30 seconds on each side. 

7) Weight shift from side-to-side 

Keeping the pegs level, bring yourself up into a raised pull up position. Then slowly move yourself from side-to-side. 

For this exercise, it’s just your body that moves, you don’t need to move your hands or the pegs. 

8) Up down 

fitness expert uses a mirafit peg board to climb up and down

As you prepare to climb, get used to using the pegs by doing up down movements on the board. This is where you simply lift the right-hand peg up a notch, followed by the left. The move the right-hand peg back down and then the left back down – so you’re back in your starting position. 

Once you have done this, start again but with the left side. 

9) Horizontal climb 

fitness expert uses a mirafit peg board to climb horizontally

This is climbing from side-to-side. Start off with the pegs level on the left side of the board, and then move the right peg across one. Bring the left peg over one and then repeat until you get to the far side.  

Go back the other way to train both sides. 

10) Vertical climb 

fitness expert uses a mirafit peg board to climb vertically

Finally, you can train by climbing up and back down again. Bring yourself up into a pull up position and then keep moving each side upwards using the holes. Then bring yourself back down again, (right hand then left hand etc.) until you’re back to your starting position 

Tips for using a climbing peg board 

Climbing peg boards are mostly about practice. However, there are a few things that will help you improve: 

  • Use your weight – get used to using your bodyweight to help you move around the board, especially when moving sideways. Climbers do this a lot and even though it will feel strange at first, it will help you get a better reach. 
  • Keep your chin up – try to keep your chin just above peg height as you climb as this is a more secure position for climbing. 
  • Remember to use your back – like pull ups, climbing uses your back so remember to engage your upper back and keep it tight as you climb. 

Interested in training at home? Find out how to turn your garage into a home gym here. 

And don’t forget to find us on Instagram @MirafitOfficial.