Rocking climbing without ropes—sound intriguing? Bouldering is like climbing’s close cousin, less high-flying but equally demanding. And a heck of a lot of fun.
Your target is a short series of individual moves, laid out in a specific route. It’s physically challenging but also mentally tough; you’re always thinking a few moves ahead. Plus, you can boulder solo—no belayer needed.
Indoor bouldering gyms are a great place to start, but outdoor facilities are also popular. Still not convinced? Here are 5 great reasons to give bouldering a try.
1. It’s a freakin’ workout
If you think 5-10 climbing moves will be a breeze, think again. Bouldering is a full-body workout…arms, shoulders, back, core and legs. Everything’s working. First-time climbers often over rely on arm strength, but properly utilizing core and legs is essential so you’re not taxing individual muscles.
2. It’s as much mental as it is physical
Yes, after a few routes you’ll likely be physically taxed. But properly thinking out each route is essentially to success and stamina. Head to a bouldering gym and observe. You’ll find groups of boulderers conversing, pointing, and staring intently at the wall. This is pre-planning. Knowing where you’re next move will be is the key to completing a route without burning yourself out.
Attacking the wall straight up and down is a bad strategy. Instead, keeping your body in a sideways position will help you with fluid motions and use less precious energy. You’ll learn how to move in new ways, and create a stronger connection between your mind and your muscles.
4. It’s a Cardio Booster, Too
Believe it or not, two minutes on the wall will often max out your heart rate. That’s why bringing water along is key. Keep your fluids near—you’ll need them.
5. It Makes You want More
When you’re starting out, you may feel like you don’t have the stamina to tackle more than a few routes. And that’s OK. What can help is stepping up your strength and resistance training. Think pull-ups, push-ups, squats and planks—easy to do outside a gym and crazy effective in building a foundation for the wall.
Some additional get-started thoughts: Climbing is relatively low-tech. But grabbing a nice pair of climbing shoes is a solid investment. These will immensely help your wall positioning and movement, and keep your feet comfy enough so that you’re not worrying about foot pain or slipping. And you’ll want clothes allow for a full range of motion, and here cotton reigns supreme, holding up best against the abrasive surface of the wall.
Have you ever tried bouldering? Looking for a new workout to try? Find A New Fit now!
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.