How Bouldering changed my body

Great for toning arms and butt

Yes believe it or not, this sport beats many other sports cardio workouts you do hands down. Climbing is one of the fastest calorie-burning hobbies and transporting your body up the rock wall helps define your arms and learning to use your legs more and pass your body weight from arms to lower body, helps train every part of your body.

It can also train your core when you belay a climber from the bottom, as you have to lean back against your harness to take in the weight and belay using your carabiner and ATC device.

Rock climbing body building

Many climbers develop a climbing strength training routine alongside their regular climbing to maximise their potential.. Some of the following gym and home exercises are beneficial to modern rock climbing, as well as to your overall health and strength.

Arm and back exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups, bicep/ tricep curls, wide-lat pulldowns, and triceps dips will be extremely helpful for gaining climbing-specific strength. Additionally, exercises that help with explosive/ dynamic strength, such as jumping rope, box jumps, and burpees, are also guaranteed to keep you in a great physical form.

Whatever you do, don’t skip leg day. Leg strength is just as important as your upper body strength, and actually an area in which many hobby climbers are lacking. High-steps and heel hooks require strong thighs, quads, and calves, and a decent amount of flexibility. Weighted squats, pistol squats, and calf raises can be great exercises for targeting the specific leg muscles that we climbers need, along with sculpting your lower half. Regular yoga will also help to relax your mind and develop your mobility and flexibility for difficult slab routes. 

If you are unaware how to use gym equipment, it is worth consulting some of the staff at your local gym or speaking with a coach to ensure that you do not injure yourself.

Weighted squats are a great leg exercise for rock climbers. - Build climbing muscle
Weighted squats are a great leg exercise for climbers.

Rock Climbing Benefits


Spending hours in the climbing gym or out at the crag will help you to maintain low levels of body fat and keep a toned body composition. After all, if you leave out all of the pauses in between boulders and routes, rock climbing burns around 8-10 calories per a minute. Laps on the lattice board or splatter board are a fantastic way to reduce your body fat, build up your endurance, and to work on your technique and strength. , 

Something else worth considering, especially for outdoor climbing, is that the approach can be physically demanding and you will burn a decent amount of calories in the process of getting to the start of your route. The time in nature is also relaxing for your mind, and makes many climbers feel overall more positive. These small climbing habits have an overall positive effect on your mind and body. 

Singapore women in travel - Batu Caves Kuala Lumpur | rock climbing body transformation
Photo was shot at Batu Caves at Kuala Lumpur

Aside from pure strength, rock climbers develop a good level of aerobic fitness. Training endurance through cardio can be helpful when you’re trying to send a route at your limit, with little or no opportunity to rest, so it is important to include some sort of cardio routine into your rock climbing training, whether or not it be climbing specific. Two fantastic options are swimming, which develops a lot of your antagonist muscles, and also simply cycling to the climbing gym instead of taking the car, where possible. Cardio training will help you to keep your body fat levels low, so you’ll be able to see those toned muscles that are so confident boosting and important to your success as a climber.

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