Rock Climbing for the New Year
So, you are approaching the New Year and want to do something to better yourself, but this time you want it to be a lifestyle.
You have the standard list of resolutions: exercise more, overcome a fear, reduce stress, spend more time with friends and family, the list goes on. Well, I have your solution, climbing. Climbing is a combination of those resolutions put together. Continue to read to discover how rock climbing will help you live a happier, healthier life.
Let’s spring into the resolution of wanting to exercise more; rock climbing is an excellent option because you tend to have so much fun climbing, that you don’t notice you’re building muscle and endurance. Climbing requires full-body strength to be successful. Footwork, balance, and lower body strength are a few of the physical factors that help propel you up those walls. Although not often thought of as a form of cardio, ascending walls can burn well over 700 calories in a one-hour session! A bonus to this form of exercise are the tricky movements and long reaches often required in climbing, which aids flexibility and coordination development. So, there you have it, strength, endurance, and full-body strength.
From a physical standpoint, climbing is incredible, but some of the mental aspects of climbing will help teach valuable life skills while reducing stressors. We all know that exercise boosts levels of norepinephrine, a chemical of the nervous system that primarily fights off stress. Climbing rewards athletes by entering a state of Zen.
According to several studies sourced from the Mental Walls website, climbers who lose themselves in the flow of climbing enter a mindset that can create a sense of euphoria, blocking the pain out, and overcoming challenges. Climbing also involves overcoming challenges. A known worldwide climber, Alex Honnold, states, “The process of overcoming your fears all the time helps put life’s other challenges into perspective.”
On to the resolution; spend more time with friends and family. The climbing gym is also a great way to make new friends. Because climbers share the same wall space, there are many opportunities to chat casually. Over time, these casual chats about a specific route or how you feel that particular day often turn into more extended conversations, and eventually; friendships. You meet people from all walks of life and with a vast age span.
Lastly, climbing gyms are expanding their offerings to include yoga, fitness classes, and an exercise area, all of which are included in the membership. In my opinion, there is no better use of your money and time than to join a climbing gym.
Written by: Molly Donelan, Director of Programs and Events
New Years Workouts for Climbers
Basic Core Workout
2-3 rounds, 10 reps of each(Right/Left=1 rep)
- Heel touch crunch
- Rainbow crunch
- Heel grab sit up with right ankle
- Heel grab sit up with left ankle
- Hand resisted bicycles
- Kneeling trunk twists
- Knee to elbow plank
Advanced TRX Core Workout
Expert: 1 minute of each with no rest (5 minutes)
Advanced: 30 seconds of each, 2 sets, 2 minutes rest between sets
Intermediate: 20 seconds of each, 2 sets, 2 minutes rest between sets
Beginner: 10 seconds of each, 2 sets, 2 minutes rest between sets
- Double leg crunch
- Knee to elbow/Mountain Climbers
- Double leg Oblique crunch
Lockoff Training: Static move where you pull down until one arm is bent, then hold that position to grab the next hold with the other arm. Better lock off strength translates to more reach.
Warm up for 10-15 minutes
Find a boulder problem a few grades below your max level. Lock off every move as you climb and hold the reaching hand just below the next hold for 3 seconds, forcing you to maintain a near perfect body position to execute efficiently. Downclimb as well, if possible.
Do 5 different problems and rest for 2-3 minutes between each problem.
Roped Climbing Workout
Endurance: Up, Down, Ups
Warm up on 2-3 routes
Pick a climbing grade one number below your onsight grade. Climb up this route, touch the top and climb back down. Once you are down, do not let your feet hit the ground and climb back up once more. If you are new to down climbing and are finding it difficult, switch to a lower graded route for the downclimb. If you fall off the wall, hop right back on and keep going. You should really feel the burn on the second lap up! Take turns with your partner and try to complete 5 of these during your session.