Days get shorter, nights longer, the weather turns cold and wet. It’s autumn time, and this means for many of my friends and me more time inside the bouldering and rock climbing gym. But besides training to become a better climber, indoor rock climbing is actually a good workout if done right.
Is Indoor Rock Climbing a Good Workout? Yes, it is – indoor rock climbing is a good and physically demanding workout for the complete body. Because you need to stay light and flexible to climb, it keeps you young too, while also building muscles. It’s no powerlifting or marathon, but more of an all-round workout. It helps you reduce stress and build muscular and mental stamina and also trains your mind. And indoor rock climbing is a lot safer than outdoor rock climbing for beginners.
Indoor Rock Climbing – Cardio and Strength Building In One Independent from the Weather
No matter if you go climbing indoor or outdoor, rock climbing is always a good workout. Not only will continuously climbing build muscular stamina, but it will also make you stronger. If you climb many routes fast, it’s even a good cardio workout for your heart, and inside a gym you can easily send route after route, shielded from bad weather and cold outside temperatures.
To get yourself up a route you need a lot of strength in your upper body and lower body. It’s actually surprising how much leg strength you need for some climbing routes. As a nice side effect, climbing provides a demanding workout for these muscle groups.
It gets better: Climbing in a gym is also a great way to train muscles you didn’t even know you had before. Like your core and hips and some other more obscure smaller muscles. Indoors you will find all kinds of hard routes with difficult crux sections where you need to twist and bend your body in weird positions. it’s like an extreme yoga session that’s a lot more fun. Rock climbing inside a gym is also nice for this, as it helps you try out new styles of climbing you might not find in your area otherwise. If you need a good training regime and system, read on here, I wrote an article about it.
Muscle Groups That You Train By Climbing – You Can Work Your Complete Body Indoors
There are a variety of muscles involved in climbing. If you try out all kinds of different routes like overhangs, slabs, and cracks, you will ultimately give yourself a complete workout.
- Core muscles you never knew you had
As you climb on, you will also work your hand, wrists, and forearms. And while rock climbing won’t let you look bulky like a bodybuilder, if you do it right and maybe support it with some pull-ups it definitely lets you build a good physique if you want.
Rock Climbing Improves Flexibility
I can’t stress this enough. I’ve seen 80-year-old rock climbers that were stronger and more flexible than most young people I know. Rock climbing does exactly that: It makes you strong and flexible at the same time. Something you cannot say about most gym memberships. By training in a rock climbing gym, indoors, you can also directly work on moves and routes that are hard for you. By training these weaknesses, rock climbing effectively increases your range of motion too.
The more flexible you get, the better you become at climbing too. If you need some more tips to prepare for bouldering and climbing, read more here.
An Hour Indoor Rock Climbing Works Off Stress
And compared to outdoor rock climbing, where you usually need at least 2-3 hours of time, including the approach and the drive, rock climbing indoors is a quick activity. Have an hour of time after work? Grab a buddy and hit the rock climbing gym for a fun quick hour-long session. Indoor rock climbing helps to raise norepinephrine levels like outdoor rock climbing will too, and this neurotransmitter helps you release stress.
Rock climbing consists of a unique mix of adrenaline and exhilaration that comes with the actions of climbing, leaping, hanging in the air and the feeling of being high above. This mix is powerful and almost like a natural high.
Even with Indoor Rock Climbing You Train Your Brain
Granted, indoors you need less mental skills to read a route. The colored grips are no challenge in this regard. But navigating routes is still hard sometimes, finding the right sequence of footholds and handholds, and balance. So even indoor rock climbing trains your brains problem-solving skills.
And like it’s brothers bouldering and outdoor rock climbing, indoor rock climbing gives you the same good hand-eye coordination that you need for hard sections.
Rock Climbing In The Gym Lets You Conquer Fear In a Safe Environment
Many of us are limited by our fears. Fear is the biggest challenge that stands between the dreams of most people I know. If you can conquer the fear, you can experience success and live your life fully.
While rock climbing doesn’t directly help you with those, it helps you tackle the fear of falling and the fear of heights. When I started rock climbing, I’d get sweaty palms as soon as I was higher than 9 feet above the ground. Continuously learning and climbing new routes helped me work on this fear, and while I still get sweaty palms from time to time, it definitely got better.
When you go indoor rock climbing, you can work on these fears in a safe way. Climbing gyms are inherently safer than outdoor rock routes, as safety bolts are more frequent and you can climb most routes top route too if you want. That way it helps you build confidence and self-esteem before you try out harder routes outside. Indoor rock climbing is really safe that way and climbing walls are also all kinds of safety tested, read more about them here!
Rock Climbing Fights Chronic diseases like High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease
Most people today know about these diseases. Many diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are inherently connected to a sedentary lifestyle and overweight.
Indoor rock climbing is a great way to enjoy rock climbing even in wintertime when most other people sit lazily in front of their TVs or computers. And as rock climbing has the same physical benefits as other sports, it helps you build endurance and strength and those two fight of illnesses as well
Every Rock Climbing Session Burns Off Calories – No Matter if Indoor or Outdoor
Most people don’t know about it, but if you keep resting times to a minimum rock climbing burns off lots of calories too. Depending on how much time you rest between routes, you burn off between 400 and 900 calories in an hour.
I would say, rock climbing indoors can actually burn off calories easier than outdoors, as you can pick and climb many easier routes fast in a rock climbing gym. That way you can work on endurance and strength while also burning lots of calories if you minimize pause time between routes.
Indoor Rock Climbing is A Ton Of Fun and Keeps you Motivated
Rock climbing indoors might not give you the same view and feel of being outdoors. But it’s still a great feeling to be on top of things, up in the air.
When you reach the top of a route, you still have a birds-eye view of things and that still feels great. You also get the same adrenaline rush when you take a fall or lower or lower really fast and when sending hard routes.
And the pure joy of moving fluidly through a route is the same when climbing indoors. If you know every handhold and every twist of your body, you feel a natural flow. This feeling is powerful and fun to experience. By connecting these good feelings with a sport you can enjoy indoors you create almost like an addiction – to a positive thing of course, which is a great way of keeping at it.
Indoor Rock Climbing Gives you the Same Sense of Accomplishment
Tackle a hard route outside your comfort zone and you test your skill and fears. Accomplish it, and you shifted your physical and mental limitations by a degree. This is the same no matter if you climb indoors or outdoors. A hard route is a hard route, and yes indoors you can climb a bit harder than outdoors as you have better safety and don’t need so much route reading.
But successfully climbing a route is still a win-win and indoors you can do it no matter which weather. That way you keep training the whole year. And when summertime comes you are fit and prepared to climb outdoors! By the way, if you need some good climbing shoes or climbing pants read my other articles: Climbing shoes review for 2020, climbing pants review for 2020.
How many calories do you burn by rock climbing or bouldering?
Can you lose weight indoor rock climbing?
Is indoor rock climbing dangerous?
Not really. Indoor rock climbing is among the safest forms of rock climbing if you begin with top rope indoor rock climbing. The worst thing that can happen when you go indoor top-rope climbing is that you take a fall of a few inches.