Gyms and Fitness Clubs

Climbing Indoors and Outdoors for Fitness

Since the extreme sport days of the 1990's, climbing has become a popular recreational sport throughout the country and now has the status of being a "mainstream sport". Even the most urban areas haven't gone untouched by climbing, with the advancement of indoor climbing groups and indoor climbing gyms. Ironically, some athletes use indoor rock climbing walls in lieu of the "real thing" because it's more convenient than venturing out into nature on a work night, yet is still a lot of fun and the workout is essentially the same. And at 187 calories burned every 15 minutes for a 150lb person, the workout is considerable. Climbing doesn't solely benefit the aerobic system either; the circulatory system is strengthened, as is the respiratory system. Muscles are built up, coordination improves, and a climber's overall health is heightened.

Stretching and Warming Up is Vital to Injruy Free Climbing

Stretching and improving flexibility is something that must be worked on prior to each climb and during climbing training. Before each session, dedicate 15 minutes to stretching and warming up in order to lower the risk of injury and prepare you mentally for your climb. A pre-climb stretch should always be slow, gently applying pressure to the focal areas and never cause such discomfort that the climber feels like they need to hold their breath or tense up. Most rock climbing gyms have rowing machines, which are perfect for stretching and elongating the back, shoulders, and arms, while at the same time getting the climber's blood flowing. When used as a warm up for climbing or climbing training, however, the rowing machine should not be used with great vigor (this is a warm up; not the workout itself). When rock climbing outdoors, there is typically a walk between where the climber parks and where they will actually be climbing. This walk can serve as the warm up before climbing. Keep in mind that both the rowing machine and the walk to the climb site won't stretch out all the muscles, so a climber must still stretch specific areas manually.

Training Materials to Become a Better Climber

As with most sports, climbing training requires the athlete to objectively look at their strengths and weaknesses. However, since every athlete is different, it can be difficult devising a climbing training plan, which is why it's helpful to have a trainer. Your climbing trainer can help you isolate areas that need improvement so you can methodically work on turning them into strengths, thus making you a stronger and more efficient climber. Some experts recommend dedicating each climbing training workout to a specific area, which over time ensures each area is given equal attention. Climbing videos are also available, which demonstrate climbing training exercises, proper techniques, and give useful tips. There are quite a few climbing videos on the market, though, so reading online climbing video reviews is a good way to judge a video's quality (just make sure they're written by people who have used the product, not people who are endorsing it). Your trainer and fellow climbers will also have valuable knowledge and can direct you to the climbing video that's right for you.

Cool Down After Climbing to Decrease Soreness and Prevent Injury

Because climbing is such a strenuous sport, a cool down period is essential for muscles. While climbing, lactic acid builds up in the muscles, causing soreness in the following days. Cooling down keeps blood flowing through the muscles which flushes the acid out. There are a wide variety of ways to do a cool down and each climber can even come up with their own routine of light movements that relax them after rock climbing. Similar to the warm up, climbing cool downs can range from stretching a second time, to going for a walk, to hopping on the rowing machine or stationary bike for 15 minutes. However you decide to do yours, keep in mind a) you must keep moving to maintain blood flow, and b) your activity level should be light during this time (meaning if you're doing strenuous exercises to "cool down", it defeats the purpose).