Ok, disclaimer: I’m a little biased here because I LOVE climbing. I’ve been tree climbing since before I can remember and rock climbing for the last seven years. I do try and remain objective, however. All movements are important and variety is key. But that said…
Climbing is possibly the best full-body workout you’ll ever do.
Shoulder stability, hip mobility, core strength — it’s all there. It might seem like it’s all upper body, but climbing with good technique is all about using the core and legs.
A balanced natural movement training program has the following climbing elements:
- Climbing in a variety of different contexts (indoor walls, man-made structures, and natural environments.
- Training climbing-related movement skills such as hanging, swinging and mounting (i.e. getting on top of things).
- Working on natural movements that compliment climbing, for example crawling, squatting, lifting and balancing.
So, where can you climb?
Rock Climbing Outdoors
Climbing outdoors, on real rock is the ultimate environment to hone your climbing skills. The best way to get into climbing outside is through hiring an instructor, taking part in a training course or going with more experienced friends.
Indoor climbing gyms are a fantastic and widely available resource. Even though you are “pulling on plastic”, there is still infinite variety in holds and routes – you’ll never make the same move twice! They also tend to have training spaces which are great for doing ground movements and hanging exercises.
Nowhere to climb?
Climbing training can be done pretty much anywhere that you can hang from something. This website is full of resources for getting climbing strong at home, at the park or out in nature. Start by reading this article:
Although there are a lot of philosophical differences between climbing as a natural movement discipline and rock climbing as a sport, there is a lot the two can learn from each other. The sport of climbing has a lot to offer in terms of training tools and methods. And the climbing lifestyle — where value is placed on time spent moving outdoors with friends — is something that I think we could all use more of in our lives.