With rock climbing growing in popularity and gyms popping up all over the country, it is no wonder that bouldering is being added to more and more people’s workout routines and daily routines. Bouldering, or climbing low challenges called problems with no ropes and only a pad or mat on the ground for protection, is a great first step into the wide world of rock climbing.
Bouldering is a great place to start as it has minimal barriers to entry, is becoming more and more accessible as more climbing gyms start popping up, and is a great way to help take care of both your physical and mental health. It’s no wonder why so many people are joining the sport! We’re here to help you figure out how often you should go bouldering and how long you should be spending bouldering during each session, so you don’t have to stress.
How Do You Start Bouldering
Starting out rock climbing can seem intimidating because of the sheer amount of technical knowledge required and the gear necessary to do the sport. Luckily for you, bouldering is an excellent option for those just starting to climb due to its minimal gear and knowledge requirements that often pose a barrier to roped rock climbing.
The easiest way to start bouldering is to go to a gym. Although gym climbing is not everyone’s cup of tea, it is a great place to start. Not only will the workers at the gym be able to help you get started and give you some pointers, but you can also rent the gear that you do need. This allows you to try out climbing shoes before deciding if you want to invest in your own pair.
Outdoor bouldering tends to be a social activity where individuals hang out with friends, work through boulder problems, and enjoy the outdoors together. The challenge with outdoor bouldering is that you need to have your own shoes and mat. You also need to know where the local boulders in your area are. Most areas have pretty good bouldering guidebooks, but it can still be challenging.
How long does it take to get good at bouldering? Well, that all depends on your definition of good and how often you go bouldering. If you want bouldering to be a social activity that is pretty casual and relaxed, you should start to feel pretty comfortable bouldering after only a few sessions. If your goal is to compete or climb at a high level, getting really good at bouldering can take years, but it all depends on what you want.
Factors that Affect Bouldering Duration
How long should you spend bouldering? What factors should you use to figure out how often to go bouldering? You can only answer these questions, but the answers will help determine how long your bouldering sessions should be.
The main factor you should consider when trying to figure out how long to spend bouldering is the outcome you are going for. For example, if your goal is to increase your endurance, you should climb for a few hours at a time. On the other hand, if you are using bouldering as a high-intensity workout to help improve your strength, you should probably limit your bouldering sessions to an hour and a half tops.
It’s important to understand that the length of time that you actually spend bouldering during your session will depend entirely on how much you climb versus how much you rest or chat. Bouldering casually can be incredibly social and only a minimal workout. On the other hand, if you use bouldering as your workout, you may want to push yourself to be actively climbing most of the time.
How Many Times a Week Should You Boulder?
Figuring out how often to go bouldering will also depend on the outcomes that you want to see from your bouldering practice. Like with any other workout, you don’t want to overdo it and hurt your body, so you should ensure you always have at least one rest day each week. Try incorporating bouldering into your existing workout routine two or three times a week to add something new to your weekly routine.
If going to the bouldering gym is your daily stress relief after work and not an integral part of some more extensive workout routine, bouldering almost every day is totally fine. Still, it is vital to allow your body time to recover, so we recommend always having one day be a rest day. This will allow your muscles to rest and recover and help prevent overuse injuries from occurring.
Bouldering is an excellent addition to any workout routine, so adding it in even once a week can be tremendous. Ultimately, how many times a week you go bouldering is totally up to you. Just make sure that you are listening to your body. If your body is getting too worn down, you are more prone to injuries, so don’t overdo it, especially when you are just starting to introduce bouldering to your routine.
Recommended Bouldering Duration
How long you should spend bouldering depends on what you want to get out of bouldering. In general, there are a few different categories of ways that you could think about how bouldering fits into your life.
Bouldering could be your higher-intensity workout, in which case you should think about spending an hour to an hour and a half bouldering each session. These sessions are strategically planned workouts and tend to be pretty intense.
Bouldering can be how you build endurance in your muscles; each session should be three or more hours. Using bouldering as an endurance training tool means that each session is longer and more sustained but often less intense climbing than a higher-intensity workout.
Bouldering can also be a fun, social activity that also happens to be a great full-body workout. If this is the case, your bouldering session might be only 30 minutes one day but last for hours on another day. Using bouldering as an almost meditative type activity that allows you to take space from the stressors in your life is a great way to fit bouldering into any life.
What Happens if You Overdo Bouldering?
Although it might seem like you can’t overdo something that doesn’t always feel as intense as weight lifting, it is possible to overdo bouldering. As we discussed earlier, ensuring you always have at least one rest day per week will allow your body to recover from your bouldering sessions and help prevent overuse injuries.
Figuring out how long to rest between bouldering sessions can seem challenging, but it ultimately depends on what you want to get out of your bouldering practice. Like with any workout, it is crucial to listen to your body and not overdo it. If your body is bouncing back and recovering from the soreness associated with bouldering quickly, you are doing good.
If, however, your body is taking longer and longer to recover from each bouldering session, you might be overdoing it. Being able to read what your body is telling you is a skill that takes time to develop, but it is essential to keeping you safe.
Musculoskeletal injuries, such as sprains and fractures, are also common in bouldering. These tend to occur when you fall too hard on the mat, so making sure that you fall safely and keep the muscles in your joints strong will help mitigate these risks. Because your joint muscles take time to develop, it is essential to start out slow with bouldering and practice more as your body gets used to the motions.
Climbing different styles of boulder problems can also help mitigate injuries while bouldering. If you only climb the same style of problem all the time, you may find yourself with repetitive motion injuries occurring in your arms or on a particular side of your body. Make sure you work out your whole body and make motions on both sides to help minimize this risk.
Wrapping Things Up: How Long Should You Spend Bouldering?
Regardless of if you are spending an hour a day bouldering or doing a five-hour session on the weekend, bouldering is an excellent addition to any workout routine. Make sure you listen to your body and find a good balance of frequency and length that works for you! Understanding what you want out of your bouldering practice will help you start to figure out how often you should go bouldering and how long each session should last.
We love bouldering, and we know that you will too. It’s a great full-body workout that can be used as a social outlet or as a high-intensity workout. Figuring out how bouldering can fit into your life might take some time, but it is totally worth it!