Rock climbing actually became a competitive sport in the late 1940s, but the first climbing gym in this country was built in Seattle but not until 1987. For the next decade rock climbing was popular usually outdoors until the off-season. In the late ‘90s there was a rise in rock climbing indoor facilities’ that jump started this sport into the mainstream. In the past twenty years 900 climbing gyms have opened up in the United States and Canada alone.
Like a dancer or gymnast, the best climber aims for a high strength-to-body weight ratio. Rock climbing blends strength training and cardio, keeping your heart racing while engaging more muscle than just about any other workout; from enabling all muscles from your glutes to your triceps, to your tiny stabilizers. The constant climbing, pulling, twisting, and pushing helps improve mobility and increase functional fitness, it even boosts grip strength. Not to mention what your mind goes through- I feel like I’m doing calculus up there just making sure I pick the right rock to grab or step up. Rock climbing involves constant problem solving and mental dexterity. Oh, and before I forget it’s also one of the most effective and efficient ways to strengthen your core.
5 Moves To Get A “Rock” Hard Body
Single Leg Squat:
Stand on a box or bench that’s about knee height. Hang your left foot off the box putting all your weight in your right heel and lower your left foot until the left heel touches the floor. Pause then push through your right heel and return to standing. If you feel like you can’t get very low, just hold for 30 seconds at the lowest you can go. With practice I promise your left heel with touch the floor in no time. For Beginners: Sit down on a box or bench knee height and lift your left leg up until it’s parallel with your right leg, and push through your right heel. Pause, then come back down slowly until your butt hits the bench, keeping your left leg up whole time. Repeat 12x on each leg.
Hanging Straight Leg Raise:
Hang from a pull-up bar with your hands shoulder-width apart with your palms facing away from you. Keeping your legs and back straight, raise your legs together until they’re parallel to the floor. Pause, then slowly lower your legs back to hanging position. Aim for 20 leg raises without swinging those hips, really tighten and squeeze your core for stabilization. For Beginners: Simply just hang. See if you can hang for 30 seconds, then to 1 minute, then start raising your legs and slowly lowering them.
Start in a pushup position, reach your left hand forward and your right foot to the side, trying to touch your knee to your elbow. Think slow and low like a bear would be on all fours. If you have room crawl for 25 meters.
Grab the bar with an overhand grip (again palms facing away from you) about a little wider than shoulder width apart. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and raise your body until your chin and head are over the bar. Pause, then return to start with your arms fully extended then come back up. For Beginners: You can either grab a resistance band for assisted pull-ups or again just simply hang there. It might not seem like much when you’re hanging, but you’re building upper body strength, stamina, and endurance to mobilize those muscles needed to master that pulling motion.
Table Top With L-Sit:
Come into a bridge position with your knees bent and hands behind your hips like a table top. Have your chest, core, and knees all upright in a nice straight line, then lower your hips to the floor always keeping your hands and heels put. Pause then move back up into bridge position, you’ll feel a burn in your triceps and hips if done properly.
Rock Climbing Gyms Near You:
Rock Health & Fitness Club
22-15 31st Street
Astoria, NY 11105
575 Degraw Street
New York, NY 11217
Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex
62 Chelsea Piers
New York, NY 10011
Women's Health Magazine. The Fast Route To A Rock-Hard Body. By: Aleisha Fetters. September 2014.