The New Sport - Climbing
Climbing as a sport really gives your body an incredible workout. Find out how you can get started in this exciting and challenging activity
The different types of climbing
Indoor climbing walls have spread throughout the country as all-weather centres that are great to start training, and many people use them as a starting point when learning. You can try lead climbing, where you clip in your protection as you ascend; or bouldering, which is a low-level approach to different ‘problems’, usually short but intense routes across a face.
The benefits of climbing for your body
Climbing helps develop cardiovascular fitness, and it’s also an intense workout for the entire body, combining different muscle groups in each move. It’s an excellent aerobic routine that gets you strong, too. You learn basic grip positions and body movements to increase your efficiency on the rock face, so your training will lead to rapid improvements in the benefits of the workout. Climbers can hit the same maximal VO2 and heart rates as cyclists and track runners when they get it right. Because the effort is spread throughout the body, with each part getting short breaks as you climb, it’s a very even workout that pushes the brain as much as the body.
How to get started in climbing
You don’t need to spend a fortune to get started. Most climbing walls will have a pay-and-play entrance fee, and you can often hire climbing shoes once you are there. Alternatively, you can buy the basics: a pair of good lace-up, velcro or slip-on climbing shoes and a chalk bag to give your fingers extra grip is all you need to begin with. If you’re having lessons, your instructor will help with rope and gear, and most climbing clubs will have their own equipment for outdoor visits.
Find a climbing centre or club near you at www.ukclimbing.com