With the addition of rock climbing in the Olympics and new climbing gyms popping up all over the country, rock climbing has been skyrocketing in popularity in recent years. What used to be a more fringe sport is now becoming mainstream. With more and more people getting into climbing, it can be a little overwhelming to figure everything out at first.
That’s where we come in. We are here to answer all your burning rock climbing questions. From discussing how often you should climb as a beginner to giving you our best tips to send you on your way to being an amazing rock climber, this article is packed with tips for new climbers.
Overview of Rock Climbing for Beginners
Rock climbing can be a hard sport to get into given how much technical stuff there is to learn, how much jargon the sport has, and the number of safety concerns that are present in every aspect of rock climbing. Luckily for you, new gyms and guide companies are popping up everywhere across the US, making climbing more and more approachable.
Typically when people think of rock climbing, they think of people climbing up massive outdoor cliffs without falling off, but, in reality, most climbers don’t spend their time doing this. Most climbers start off climbing indoors in a gym, and getting started involves a lot of trial and error, that is to say, falling. Indoor climbing for beginners is much more approachable since there are so many people around to help you.
For an experienced outdoors person, learning to rock climb outdoors might be more enjoyable than learning to rock climb indoors, but this is not the case for everyone. Outdoor rock climbing for beginners can be a little more daunting. Figuring out where to go, what to bring, and how to manage the hazards of the natural world can make learning to climb a lot harder.
Should Beginners Climb Every Day?
How often should you climb as a beginner? Should you climb every day? These questions can be complicated to answer, but it all comes down to listening to your body. The short answer is no, you shouldn’t be climbing every day since your body needs time to recover between climbing sessions.
The long answer is that if climbing is your workout activity, you should be putting a lot of thought into how often you climb and for how long. If climbing is going to be your replacement for the gym and you are going to be using it to work towards a physical fitness goal, feel free to check out our other articles that are focused on the athletic pursuits of climbing.
People who use climbing as a social activity tend not to break a sweat every time they climb. They tend to spend time standing around chatting with friends or working through a problem or route together. If, however, rock climbing is a social activity that you use to connect with friends and hang out, you could find yourself climbing every day without causing harm to your body. In this case, climbing is a lot less intensive physically and can be done every day or almost every day.
The main thing you want to be careful of when climbing frequently is that you give your body enough time to recover. If you are feeling sore, you should give yourself a day off. If your body is trying to tell you that it is tired, you should let it rest. Pushing your body when it does not want to be pushed is a great way to get hurt or create an overuse injury.
How Much Should Beginners Climb?
Climbing for beginners can be a little overwhelming. There is a lot to think about between figuring out how to climb and deciding what gear you need. Another aspect of all of that is how much you should climb. Should you climb for 30 minutes or three hours?
Similarly to figuring out how often you should climb, figuring out how long to climb is something that only you can answer. You’ll need to listen to your body. If your arms are so tired that your hands can’t grip the rock or the holds anymore, you have overdone it.
Try starting out with shorter climbing sessions until you build up your endurance and learn how to listen to your body better. Ultimately, you are the only one who can figure out how much you should be climbing when you first start out but just make sure you don’t get obsessed and overdo it too fast. This can lead to some major injuries that will keep you off the wall for quite some time.
How to Manage Your Climbing Frequency as a Beginner
Managing your climbing frequency as a beginner might seem simple at first glance. Just climb when you want to and when your body feels good. Easy, right? Not quite. Many people start climbing and get hooked. They want to climb every day. They start to make new friends and want to climb with them every day.
Figuring out how to manage the desire to climb and the need for rest days can be challenging for a lot of climbs. One thing you can do is try to make a schedule and stick to it. This way, you will know when you’ll be going climbing, and it will give you something to look forward to. You can also create rest days in your schedule to help prevent you from overdoing it and getting hurt early on in your climbing career.
5 Tips for Beginner Climbers
Here is a selection of our favorite climbing tips for beginners:
1. Ask for help
Asking for help is one of the best things you can do as a new climber. Regardless of if you are talking to an experienced climber, a climbing gym worker, or a professional guide, people who have been climbing longer than you will have some fantastic tips and tricks to help you out. These people are also great resources to help you train, figure out challenging routes, and stay safe while climbing.
2. Invest in comfortable gear, not aggressive gear
Rock climbing gear, like shoes and harnesses, can be expensive. Many people want to buy what they consider the best: aggressive, downturned shoes and a fancy harness with lots of extra features. However, when you are just starting out, this isn’t what you need.
In terms of shoes, you’ll want a pair that fits your feet well. Rock climbing shoes should fit like socks with little to no empty space around your foot. Try renting shoes the first few times you climb to get a feel for them before you go out and buy your first pair.
With harnesses, you might expect there to be less variation, but there are a lot of features that can fit onto a harness. When you are starting out, you probably want a safe and comfortable harness. Given that you are just learning, you will most likely spend a good amount of time falling off the wall and hanging in your harness, so getting a comfortable harness that fits well is the most important.
3. Listen to your body
Figuring out how to listen to your body can be hard, but you should stop and assess if a move feels odd or if your body is getting sore. Sometimes a certain move can be done in a different way without putting so much strain on your joints. Overusing your muscles, ligaments, and tendons is a surefire way to end up with an overuse injury and have to take more time off, so just be mindful and listen to what your body is trying to tell you. Sometimes you just need a day off.
4. Learn how to fall
Falling is an integral part of climbing. Whether you are bouldering or roped climbing, learning how to fall safely should be one of the first things you do. Ask a more experienced climber to teach you how to fall safely and help you find a safe place to practice in. This will help give you more confidence on the wall when you feel yourself slipping off.
5. Have fun
Don’t forget to have fun! So many people get caught up with the competitive side of climbing or the training aspects and get burnt out. They forget why they fell in love with the sport, to begin with. Make sure you have fun; otherwise, you aren’t doing it right. If climbing becomes a chore, take a break. Sometimes giving yourself a break will let you realize why you started climbing in the first place.
Wrapping Things Up: How Often Should You Go Climbing as a Beginner?
With so much to learn when you start climbing, figuring out how often you should go climbing can often fall by the wayside. Between finding the best gear to invest in and learning to listen to your body, paying attention to some of the simpler questions can be hard. Make sure you remember to give yourself some rest days and take care of your body. Getting caught up in the amazing sport of climbing is fun, but you don’t want to get hurt!
Climbing can be an amazing way to make new friends, stay in shape, and even travel the world, but sometimes the most challenging thing can just be getting started. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. One of the benefits of climbing becoming so popular is the rapidly increasing number of people out there to help you. Get out there, make new climbing friends, and have fun!!
Looking for more guides? Check out more of our climbing tips here.
Here are a few to help you out: