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Rock Climbing: A Hardcore Workout You Need to Try

Woman climbing on a high rocky mountain.

There are many ways to keep yourself healthy, and one of them is regular exercise. But sometimes, working out at home or the gym can get monotonous and boring, which is why you should give rock climbing a try. It’s both mentally and physically demanding, a combination of both aerobic and anaerobic exercises, and a great way to shed some weight and improve your agility. Rock climbing boosts mental health, forces your brain to stay alert and active, reduces stress, and increases your focus. Here’s all the information you need to get started:

What is Rock Climbing?

Rock climbing is a full-body workout and a sport in which participants climb rocks in different directions, either on artificially designed rock walls or natural ones. The goal is often to reach a certain point without falling. Its origin can be dated back to ancient times when people lived in caves that could only be reached through climbing. With proper training, rock climbers learn not just how to climb properly but also the various mental practices that help them stay focused.

Young woman dressed for cold weather while rock climbing.
Rock Climbing Leads To Greater Mobility And Better Blood Circulation (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Although there are different types of rock climbing, they all offer some common benefits. The best part about rock climbing is that anyone can do it, no matter how fit they are. Continuous reaching and stretching increase your muscles’ flexibility. This leads to greater mobility and better blood circulation. It’s a fun combination of cardio and strength workouts. It puts all of your muscles to the test, including your abs, biceps, calves, and traps. The demanding nature of climbing also affects your stamina and burns calories. Depending on your climbing routine, you can burn 500 to 900 calories per hour. It also aids in maintaining aerobic and anaerobic fitness.

The advantages of rock climbing are endless. It is known to keep cardiovascular diseases at bay. Rock climbing is also a sure way to prevent the most widespread illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes. It also helps build and maintain lean muscle mass which is a storehouse of protein. Due to infection, your body’s protein demand increases to combat the invaders, and so your immune system turns to lean muscle mass to fulfill this requirement.

Intro to Rock Climbing for Beginners | How to, Terminology & Gear – Bottom Line Up Front

Here is a short seven-minute YouTube video of essential rock climbing tips that you must know as a beginner.

A Good Exercise for Your Brain

Rock climbing can make you smarter. If you want to improve your brainpower, rock climbing is a good place to start, because it’s a challenging workout that requires concentration and high perception. Besides reducing anxiety and stress, it also affects your self-confidence. By facing different fears such as the fear of heights and the fear of falling head-on, you begin to overcome them. And rock climbing gives you plenty of room to face those fears—it’s scary and requires a lot of self-control. With training and support, you can learn to tackle those fears and enjoy a boost of self-confidence.

Young man climbing natural rocky wall.
The Better You Get At Rock Climbing, The More Daring You Become (Image Source: Shutterstock)

While climbing, you learn to make choices quickly and figure out ways to climb farther without slipping. This exercise alone can make you more perceptive. You have to constantly be careful of your next move, and handle the immediate effect of every choice you make, which is a great problem-solving procedure. It can be mentally puzzling, but at the same time, it can be immensely satisfying. Every win gives a boost, every correct move helps you get closer to your goal. The concentration and effort required also increases spatial awareness, the ability to understand and interact with your environment.

The challenge of fighting internal fears, doubts, and physical fatigue adds fuel to your willpower. Rock climbing, whether it’s outdoors or a full body workout at home, reduces stress by forcing you to stay in the moment. Instead of letting your mind wander off to the remaining deadlines, rock climbing puts you in a position where you can’t think of anything besides how to move your body next. It’s no less than meditation. The better you get at rock climbing, the more daring you become. Eventually, you’ll begin testing your own limits and endurance and learn to push yourself like never before.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercises

Aerobic exercises, also known as cardio, are exercises that increase your heart rate and require oxygen to generate energy. They’re longer, steady, and relatively low in intensity. These exercises improve endurance, heart and lung health, and increase blood circulation. Running, swimming, and cycling are popular examples of aerobic exercises in full body workout plans. Your heart is a muscle. The more you train it, the stronger it’ll get. Aerobic exercises target the heart and improve your overall endurance and stamina.

Young woman practicing rock-climbing on a rock wall indoors.
Rock Climbing Improve Endurance, Heart And Lung Health (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Anaerobic exercises are high-intensity exercises in which the body does not use oxygen to produce energy; instead, it produces lactic acid in the muscles which, in turn, prevents you from exercising more. These are short, sudden bursts of activities, and cannot be endured for longer periods. Examples of anaerobic exercises are HIIT and weightlifting. People trying to lose weight often do anaerobic exercises because they help with burning fat and increasing muscle mass.

A proper bodyweight workout plan consists of both aerobic and anaerobic exercises. Rock climbing combines the benefits of both and an additional boost of mental health. Climbing for fifteen to twenty minutes straight increases blood circulation and pressure around your forearms. And bouldering is an example of anaerobic exercise. There are training options that allow you to choose either aerobic or anaerobic climbing techniques. So rock climbing gets your heart beating faster and strengthens your muscles.

If you have heart issues, you should consult a doctor before beginning any kind of aerobic exercise. Doing anaerobic exercises too frequently can lead to a buildup of lactic acid in your muscles, which is toxic. So creating a balance is necessary in your full-body workout plan. The same stands for rock climbing. How frequently you should do it depends on your medical history and current health. Over time, you’ll build endurance to both these exercises, and will be able to enjoy them more often.


Rock climbing is a high-intensity workout that involves climbing up, down, or sideways on a rock wall either indoors or outdoors. It’s a fun addition to full-body workout plans and combines the benefits of both aerobic and anaerobic exercises. Besides the physical improvements, you will also notice a positive difference in your perception, self-confidence, coordination, and concentration after practicing rock climbing for a few weeks. Since it’s a high-intensity workout, it’s best to consult your doctor beforehand if you have any underlying cardiovascular issues.