The gym can be an interesting place. It can be filled with people and can often be overwhelming, but it sometimes feels like the only way to get a good workout. What if we told you that rock climbing was a great alternative to the gym? Now we’re sure you’ve seen plenty of gym workout routines for rock climbing, but we’re talking about rock climbing itself.
Rock climbing is a sport that has evolved over the years from simply a way to help get mountaineers up mountains to one of the fastest-growing sports in the US. It recently made its Olympic debut and has skyrocketed in popularity, with rock climbing gyms popping up all across the country. Here are some of our favorite reasons why rock climbing is an excellent replacement for the gym.
Is Rock Climbing Considered a Workout?
Rock climbing is a fantastic full-body workout! Not only can rock climbing help you build up your strength, but it can also help with your endurance, something that is often harder to train simultaneously with strength at the gym.
One of the most significant benefits of rock climbing as a workout is that it will work on all your stabilizing muscles. These include the outer ligaments in your ankles, the smaller muscles in your core, and many others. Working out these stabilizing muscles is a great way to tone your body, improve your body awareness and control, and help prevent injuries.
If you wonder, “Does rock climbing get you in shape?” you may need to clarify what you mean by shape and tailor your climbing practice to match that goal. Going climbing for an hour every weekend as a social activity will not get you in shape since it is such a small non-targeted outing. If you want rock climbing to be your workout, you will need to tailor your climbing sessions to help you reach your goals.
As we mentioned earlier, rock climbing is a great way to help build endurance in your muscles, but this won’t happen overnight. If you want to build endurance and have that be one of your goals, you should think about how to structure your climbs to help improve your endurance. For example, you could do a bouldering circuit where you stay on the wall and continually traverse side to side for 10 minutes. That is a great way to start building endurance through rock climbing.
How Does Rock Climbing Benefit You?
Rock climbing benefits you in many ways. Although indoor and outdoor rock climbing each come with their own benefits, there are some common benefits that anyone who climbs can feel and understand.
1. Rock climbing is a physical workout.
People often wonder, “does rock climbing build muscle?” and the answer is yes! Rock climbing is a great way to build muscle by using your own body as resistance weight. Rock climbing won’t make you look like a bodybuilder, but rock climbing is a great way to build lean muscle.
2. Rock climbing is a mental workout.
Rock climbing is incredible at keeping your mind sharp. Often compared to practices like yoga or meditation, many people reach a calm space in their mind during rock climbing.
Another way to look at the mental aspect of rock climbing is like a puzzle. Every climb you attempt will give you something else to think about and work through, which is amazing for your brain.
3. Rock climbing keeps your hard-to-workout muscles in shape.
One of the biggest benefits of using rock climbing as a form of exercise is that it will work out a lot of the smaller muscles in your body that are hard to target in a traditional gym workout. These little stabilizing muscles are what help minimize your risk of injury later on, but keeping them strong can be challenging. Rock climbing is a great way to do this!
Can Rock Climbing Replace Gym Exercise?
Can rock climbing replace the gym? A tried and true gym lover might argue that it can’t, and if you’re looking for something like a bodybuilder’s muscles, they might be right. If you are someone who utilizes the gym to help maintain your body, keep it toned, and help minimize your risk of future injuries, then rock climbing is an awesome gym replacement.
Unlike at the gym, where you use weights or machines to create the resistance for your body to pull against, in rock climbing, the resistance comes from your own body weight. You are holding up and supporting your body, and that only gets more challenging for your muscles as you get more bulky muscles. That is why most professional rock climbers look incredibly toned and lean but don’t tend to be as bulky as many people who love the gym.
Using rock climbing instead of the gym is a great way to mix things up. Many people find going to the gym to be a chore they feel they need to do, but many of these people may find that rock climbing is a much more enjoyable alternative. Whether indoor or outdoor rock climbing, rock climbing is an excellent alternative to the traditional gym and its workouts.
How Good is Rock Climbing as Exercise?
Rock climbing is a great way to fit exercise into your daily routine. Now, if you only go climbing for a short amount of time every now and then, rock climbing is not going to be a great source of exercise for you. For rock climbing or any source of exercise to be effective, you will need to practice it regularly so your muscles can start developing.
Since most exercises require some form of resistance for your muscles to push against in order to grow larger, rock climbing is a great option. Rock climbing utilizes your body weight as the resistance you will be pulling and pushing up a wall. This means that you can work your muscles using a weight appropriate for your body without having to pick what that weight is.
Why is Climbing Better than Going to a Gym?
Although some people may argue that in the rock climbing vs. gym debate, the gym wins, we are here to explain to you why for the average person, rock climbing is a better way to maintain your fitness, have fun, and not have to stress so much about your workouts.
One of the significant challenges with the gym is that in order to have a balanced workout and not just work out some muscles and neglect others, you need to put in a lot of thought and planning. In rock climbing, the activity itself is already a balanced workout!
For the average person with no prior knowledge of either workout style, walking into a traditional gym can be quite overwhelming. Gyms are filled to the brim with fancy machines and moving parts. In order to create a workout routine that will fulfill all of your individual needs, you will need a lot of knowledge. Even if your goal is to simply get in shape or stay in shape, you will need some knowledge on how to do it right.
On the other hand, if you walk into a climbing gym and are able to abide by the rules, mostly aimed around safety, that the gym has in place, you will get a fantastic workout without all the fuss of planning the workout. If you are someone who has specific workout goals, you can gain the knowledge to tailor your climbing practice to meet these goals, but if overall fitness is your goal, climbing is hard to beat.
Wrapping Things Up: Can Rock Climbing Replace the Gym?
Rock climbing is an amazing sport that has grown to fill a lot of niches in sports. Not only is it thrilling to watch, but it can also be a fantastic exercise that takes minimal planning on your part to achieve great results. Rock climbing will work out every part of your body, from the biggest muscles in your legs to the smallest muscles in your pinky finger, making it a great full-body replacement for the gym.
If you want to include rock climbing in your workout routine, the easiest thing to do is to join a local climbing gym. These gyms are a great place to start climbing and build your confidence and strength. With so many rock climbing gyms opening up all over the US, you are likely living a lot closer to one than you might think.