Rock climbing sounds hardcore and, in many instances, is a challenging and rigorous sport fraught with danger. However, with a surge in popularity by 2020, more than 10 million Americans have taken up the sport, fueling an ever-increasing number of indoor facilities.
Climbing is an ever-changing sport. No route or surface is the same; you use your muscles differently each time you work out. Training involves the whole body, and studies show that although it requires strong upper body muscles, it also requires the abdominal, glutes, thighs, and more.
A study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine “found that climbers use a significant portion of their aerobic capacity. The heart rate response was higher than predicted.”
The cardio impact is relative to the degree of difficulty in the climb.
The benefits go beyond the physical. Studies have further shown a direct link to improvement in memory function and relief from some symptoms of depression.
- Bouldering: This style of climbing is done without a rope or harness and is limited to short climbs at low heights using a crash pad to prevent serious injury if a fall happens.
- Top Roping: Climbing uses a rope for safety connected by a harness to an anchor system allowing the climber to attempt more challenging routes, the method most commonly found at indoor climbing facilities. Top Roping is also widely used when teaching beginner climbers.
- Lead Climbing: This type of climbing requires more endurance than top rope climbing and has more inherent risks. As climbers progress, they drag the rope with them and periodically clip it in for protection—such as a bolt or a nut as the climber moves uphill. However, for every foot you climb above that clip, the distance of a potential free fall increases.
Although climbing can be dangerous, with the proper training and safety gear, it is a rewarding and physically beneficial sport. Indoor Rock Climbing facilities can be found across the region with clubs in Akron, Cleveland, and beyond. For a list of clubs near you, visit 99 Boulders.