Climbing as a Full Body Workout

When a non-climber hears of climbing, they often think of the single wall at the amusement park. The wall there is designed to get you to the top so that you can enjoy a scenic view and experience the thrill of being high up. At a commercial climbing gym, the experience is a little different. We want to push your boundaries physically, mentally, and technically. It's not enough to just get to the top, you have to do it on paths that get more and more challenging as you progress. 

Today I want to discuss the physical side of rock climbing. Rock climbing is a full body exercise, which means that you are working out every major muscle group. Your shoulders, back, core, and legs are being used every time you step foot on the wall. 

What are the benefits of a full body workout?

Full body workouts are great for developing functional strength that can be transferred to other activities. They also help to develop smaller muscle groups which can easily be missed during a regular gym workout. The workouts can be done fairly fast and you don’t have to keep track of which muscle group you are scheduled to exercise on a particular day, since they are all getting worked out. 

Why is climbing one of the best full body workouts?

The key to getting the most out of any workout is trying hard, and climbing always makes you try hard. The problems are designed to be challenging but within your grasp, so you continuously push on. Climbing at your limit is similar to a max workout, and is one of the best ways to develop strength. And unlike traditional workouts, climbing routes are designed to be fun -- so even on a day where you're feeling tired, you're more likely to come play and end up getting some exercise, whereas you might put in less effort or even skip going to a regular gym altogether.

All good personal trainers will tell you that the most effective workouts are the ones you can be consistent with. It is also easier to be consistent with climbing because of the social aspect of it. When you head to the climbing gym, it's like hanging out with your friends. This increases your drive and helps you to stay consistent with the activity. 

How does climbing work out the entire body?

Climbing is one of the few sports that it is not limited to fixed movements. This means that every new climb you attempt requires your body to do something new, and the variety of movements will work different muscle groups. Even the change in angle of the wall makes a big difference in your workout. A steep wall like a cave works a lot more core since it demands additional effort to keep your feet on the wall. In comparison, a flat and more vertical wall works your legs and calves since you place more weight on your toes.

Is climbing for you?

Climbing has very few barriers to entry, and is designed to be beginner friendly. No appointment is needed, and the walls are designed to have routes anyone can climb up. These beginner paths help to build the foundation for strength and technique which make it easier to move up to more difficult levels. Beginner climbs also have the climbing holds closer together so kids of all ages can also climbing on them too. 

If you're looking for a fun and enjoyable way of getting a full body workout, try climbing!  You may just find it to be the one form of exercise you can stick with for life. Happy Climbing!

Kevin Allen