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Is Rock Climbing the Ultimate Workout?

Rock Climbing

Sure, pounding out some km’s on a treadmill, or bust a gut on an elliptical can burn some calories and be good for your cardiovascular system. However, if you are looking for a more fun and different way to workout, then you really should consider rock climbing.

Some people worry about being afraid of heights, or not being fit enough to even try it, but rock climbing is really a lot more accessible than you think. Also, in my experience rock climbers are a pretty friendly bunch so you will soon find yourself in good company.

So, jump on board with getting an adrenaline pumping full body workout.

Recent research indicates that rock climbing is not just a good exercise—it may be one of the best.

An hour of climbing can burn anywhere between 500-900 calories.

Rock Climbing is great for strength and muscle toning

Climbing really is a full body workout, just about every part of you play a part in getting you to the top.

All your major muscle groups get worked when climbing, these include core, arms, shoulders, back, legs, glutes etc.  Don’t be surprised if after your first session that your forearms are sore. Don’t worry this does not last long.

Additionally, climbing can help to eliminate muscle imbalances. We all have a dominant side, left or right and one side tends to be stronger than the other. As climbing requires you to use all sides of your body during a session these imbalances are soon evened out.

Climbing is a cardiovascular workout.

Not only is it great for strength and toning, it is a good cardiovascular fitness too. Climbing increases your heart and respiratory rates, which makes it a great choice for a workout.

The only thing to need to factor in how long you rest between climbs, the rests need to be kept to a minimum for an effective workout.

Climbing improves flexibility and mobility.

As you progress in your climbing journey you will, often find yourself in unorthodox positions. For example, your foot needs to go where your hand is, or bridge very wide etc. The more you repeat these types of moves your body adapts and you become more flexible.

Add in a stretching routine in addition to your climbing a few times a week, you will see good gains in your flexibility.

Climbing improves your balance.

Contrary to what you might think climbing is not just about strength and fitness. A great deal of climbing has to do with your balance.

Maintaining and controlling your centre of gravity as you shift and move up the wall is key to staying on the wall and making it to the top.

Moving your body to stay balanced while you move a hand or foot to the next hold requires control and balance.

Regular climbing will help to improve your balance and overall body awareness.

 Rock Climbing is a mental workout.

It’s not just physical either, climbing is a great mental workout. With every route your own personal life-sized puzzle. We all have to solve that puzzle differently; a tall person will do it differently to a shorter person or a more flexible person will be climbing it differently to a less flexible person.

All you have to solve the problem is you and nothing else.

One of the most important aspects of climbing for me personally is the stress relieving aspect of it. Once you leave the ground all of your focus is consumed with how you are moving your body to solves the moves to get you to the top. All of the day to day crap is left behind. No nagging thoughts of ‘I need to finish off the project at work’ or ‘I need to pay that bill’ etc. Well you get the idea.

So, in additional to providing balance to your muscles it can help with bring balance to the mind and help to relieve stress.

When I climb regularly, I find that I am less stressed and make better decisions in my 9-5 life. As I approach problems and decision making with the same mental calmness as when I am climbing.

Completing a route also gives you a tremendous amount of satisfaction. It is one of the best feelings when you finish a route, particularly one you have found hard and have been working to complete.

A note about rock climbers…

I thought I should add in a note about climbers. If you have not climbed before, you may be concerned about these super fit climbers looking down on you. You really do not have to worry about this they are a pretty helpful and supportive bunch.

I have been a climber for almost 20 years and have climbed with a huge variety of people from many different backgrounds and beliefs, all united by a love for climbing.

My climbing journey has allowed me to see some fantastic places, but it has also allowed me to meet some fantastic people.

Check your local area for meet up groups or ask at your local wall and they will be able to help you out.

But most importantly… rock climbing is fun!

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