Rock climbing is an enjoyable and adventure-filled sport, but what many people don’t realize is that it can have incredible benefits for overall health and weight loss. The cardio and strength training that rock climbing implies, along with overall levels of fitness that are required to climb, can be extremely helpful for someone who has the goals of losing weight or increasing their fitness levels. So here’s some reasons for you to kickstart a good climbing training plan.
Benefits of Rock Climbing Training
1. Burn Fat
Believe it or not, rock climbing is a great sport for cardio. Top rope and sport climbing in particular are great activities for burning fat. When climbing routes, depending on where you are climbing, you may be on the wall for extended periods of time. In certain parts of the world, single-pitch routes can reach up to 40 meters, meaning that you’ll need high levels of endurance to make it to the top.
Once you start climbing multi-pitch routes, endurance becomes even more important. You can spend hours, even days, on the wall, so endurance and cardio definitely come into play. All that cardio can definitely aid in fat burning, provided that you adopt a healthy and nutritious diet.
2. Toning of Arms
It’s no surprise that arm strength is incredibly important in rock climbing. Your arm muscles are one of the most important parts of your body as a rock climber. A lot of the time, you’ll use quite a lot of your arm muscles together with your feet to get up up the wall, especially on overhanging climbs.
Additionally, many complimentary exercises that help you with your climbing can help you to tone your arms. Chin-ups are one of the best bodyweight exercises that climbers can do to gain strength and tone arms. Additionally, antagonist movements like push-ups and TRX exercises are great supplement to climbing training. Finally, lightweight training, such as bicep curls or bench presses, can also help to strengthen and tone arm muscles.
3. Core Strengthening
Rock climbing requires a surprising amount of abdominal strength, especially when bouldering. Overhanging climbs require you to maintain core tension so that your feet don’t fall off the wall, which would cause you to waste energy. Additionally, when climbing on tiny footholds, it’s important to maintain a tight abdomen to keep your body on the wall.
Ab exercises like hanging leg raises and planks are great additions to any climber’s training. It’s also a good idea to consider using an ab wheel, as this exercise targets the core muscles that climbers use most. When doing ab specific climbing training, think quality over quantity. Doing five repetitions of a challenging core exercise will be more helpful than doing thirty repetitions of a movement that isn’t as demanding.
4. Get rid of looking flabby
Rock climbing is also a great sport to help you tone your physique and get rid of flabby areas. The act of climbing itself is an exercise that uses your entire body, so your arms, abs, and legs will surely benefit. On top of that, it is an activity that requires you to be active for long periods of time. If you go climbing outdoors, you’ll surely have to hike up to the cliff where you’ll be climbing, so you’ll be getting in some cardio training as well.
5. Get rid of looking skinny and scrawny
Rock climbing tones you, but it doesn’t make you look skinny and weak. It’s a great muscle-building activity that can give you a toned, athletic build. Due to the fact that it’s an exercise that includes both strength and cardio, it helps to burn fat but without causing you to lose muscle. It’s certainly helpful to be lean as a climber, considering that it’s a strength-to-bodyweight ration sport, but it’s just as important to have strong, defined muscles.
6. Strengthen your immunity and health
Rock climbing is an all-around exercise that can have great benefits for your wellness and health. Certain studies show that rock climbing can even help in treating depression, which in turn has positive effects on overall health and wellness. For many people, rock climbing is an activity that boots confidence and, as all exercise does, helps to produce endorphins. All of this has benefits for general health.
7. Toning of Shoulders
Your shoulders are a target area that can make or break your climbing. Instable shoulders can cause injuries, which is why it is so important to target and strengthen them. Pull-ups are hands down one of the most crucial exercises for rock climbers, as they strengthen and stabilize shoulders while building the muscles crucial for pulling yourself up a wall. Supplementary exercises such as wide-lat pulldowns and lateral dumbbell raises can also help to give you the strength that climbers require, all while giving you a toned and defined upper body.
8. Toning of Legs
It’s a little known fact that leg strength is also crucial for rock climbers, especially on slab routes. If you only use your arms to get up your route, you will tire your upper body out quickly. Additionally, movements such as heel and toe hooks, which are more popular in bouldering, require a certain level of leg strength, especially strong quadriceps. Pistol squats are an excellent leg exercise for rock climbers, considering the fact that a high foot is sometimes necessary to get through a long move. Other helpful exercises include lunges, which target your hamstrings and quadriceps, and calf-raises.
As you can see, rock climbing is not only a fun activity, but also one that can be extremely helpful for health and weight loss. If you keep going at it, it can even bring you to explore new outdoor destinations. As long as you couple your climbing and training with a healthy, balanced diet, you’ll be on your way to your fittest and healthiest self in no time.