I used to rock climb on a weekly basis and recently, I’ve been missing it. I may go over the next few weeks when I’m not so busy with coaching, workshops and publicising The Surf and Turf Diet.
I started to conquer a fear of heights but it broadened into so many other benefits.
Mastering Your Own Body Weight
It’s great being able to Bench anywhere over 100kg. However, I’ve meet people who can Bench 150kg but struggle to do a single Pull Up. What’s up with that? Mastering your bodyweight is a crucial aspect of everyday health and the comfort you have as you go about day to day life.
Just 40 minutes of rock climbing will have you experiment with an incredibly generous variation of Pull Ups and it pretty much happens on accident. The angles or your arms, your body positioning and your base of support changes consistently.
Building the Ultimate Grip
Being able to support your body weight with your small fingers is impressive. During rock climbing, your grip is challenged in various ways. Your hand position changes to suit larger and smaller boulders, flatter and rounder boulders and different angles.
This directly impacts your lifting potential. After all, you need a great grip to handle that heavy barbell whilst dead lifting.
Breaking Movement Patterns
When we enter the gym, we often think of exercise as a heavily compartmented practice. We squat, hinge, push, pull, carry and run but do we ever mix these movements together? If so, why not?
Rock climbing is a fantastic way of moulding each movement pattern together by forcing us to mould into stranger, unconventional shapes.
This is important for improving mobility which is the ability to exert strength within our end ranges. This is also important for adding fluency to our motion, much like we do during sport. Could we just practice our sport to add fluency to our movement? After all, that would be very specific. The benefits of rock climbing come from the force exerted on your body from gravity. This is a force that you are not used to experiencing whilst practicing set movement patterns.
Hanging has its benefits. It’s commonly known that the average human can lose a centre metre over the span of 24 hours. This isn’t because we are shrinking. This is down to the disks in our spine being compressed. The synovial fluid content is drained out. This can result in injury and discomfort.
Hanging decompresses the spine. Rock climbing further aids with postural development as it develops the musculature of the posterior chain.
The Mental Game
Have you ever worked through a Sudoku puzzle between sets of Deadlifts? No? I didn’t think so. Rock climbing challenges your mental arithmetic. By practicing rock climbing on a weekly basis, you will positively influence your problem solving skills, special awareness and your sense of achievement.