The toughest climbs often burn the most calories, since muscles demand more energy.
John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Practicing the basics of rock climbing can be part of a workout that goes beyond simple strength training. Rock climbers use their technique to find paths up the steepest rock faces, often developing their skill in dedicated "rock gyms" to prepare for their next excursion. Rock climbing incorporates balance, technique and stamina in unique ways that will burn a lot of calories. According to FitDay, one-hour of rock climbing will burn approximately 400 to 500 calories.
Rocking the Gym1.
Get familiar with your local rock gym. Before you start top-roping, you'll need some basic instruction from the professionals at the rock gym. They'll go over most of the basic skills and some essential safety information with you before you get on the wall. If you're a true beginner, it will likely be easier to begin with bouldering so you can practice falling and reinforce essential climbing skills.2.
Practice using a sloper or open hold. This rock climbing hold will be smooth and round, and requires you to palm the hold and press downward with the pads of your fingers. You'll need to develop some finger strength before these holds are easy to use.3.
Practice using a pinch hold. Place your thumb on one side of the hold, and curl your fingers around the opposite side so you're pressing with the tips of your fingers. Try to consciously press your index and little finger together to tighten your grip on the hold and involve more fingers into your grip.4.
Practice using a crimp hold. Place your fingers along the edge of the crimp and press down with the tips of your fingers, allowing your thumb to rest against the wall. As you progress in ability, you can also involve your thumb in the edge of the crimp. Crimp holds are very common on natural outdoor rock climbing walls, making this hold a strong one to develop.
Practice safely falling backward once you're on the bouldering wall. Since a fall is going to be unexpected, you want to practice falling until your muscles instinctively fall into place when you fall. Hang on the wall a few feet off the ground, and then allow yourself to let go and fall backward. Your knees should be bent, and you should land feet first. Once you land on your feet, allow your knees to bend and roll backward onto your back, gently rocking. As your knees bend, the shock of the fall is absorbed without jarring you or causing damage to your legs or back.2.
Practice rock climbing technique. Keep most of your weight on your feet, and drop your heels lower than your toes on the hold to keep your weight steady. Move fluidly, and keep your hips rotated against the wall, rather than perpendicular to the wall. Use your hands for balance, and try to lift to a higher hold using your legs more than your arms.3.
Push for more difficult routes to burn more calories. Routes that have inverted holds, widely spaced holds, and fewer rest points burn the most calories, since you'll be involving more muscle groups to accomplish certain reaches.4.
Use dynamic moves to burn calories faster. A dynamic move, often called a dyno, is when you use your arms and legs to throw your body closer to a hold that cannot otherwise be reached. It's easiest to practice a dyno close to the mat on a bouldering wall; swing your weight up and down a few times to get a feel for how far you're propelling yourself, then pull upward sharply toward the hold. At the peak of your dyno, grab the hold and stop yourself before falling downward again.
- Chalk bag with climbing chalk
- Rock climbing shoes
- Follow the rules of your local rock gym and seek out professional instruction whenever possible. The experts are there to inform and instruct you, and they'll be able to accelerate your training so you can climb more difficult routes.
- Burn the most calories during your rock climb by varying your course difficulty throughout the session. Bouldering burns more calories than top roping, since you can't rest against the rope and you don't spend any time belaying other climbers.
- Professional instruction is essential for a beginner, especially for outdoor rock climbing. Stop by your local climbing gym to make rock climbing a part of your daily exercise, and practice essential skills to accelerate your climbing to advanced levels.
- Climbing is inherently dangerous, and requires strict adherence to safety protocol. Always check your equipment before a climb. Understand each piece of your equipment thoroughly, and never use equipment that is damaged or expired. Make sure you trust your climbing partner or belayer, and go over the safety protocols with them before beginning a climb.