July 19, 2016
Rock climbing continues to increase in popularity in the United States. Climbing Business Journal reported that the number of indoor climbing gyms increased by 10 percent in 2015. And though many people get started climbing indoors, it doesn’t take long for the pull of the outdoors to take hold.
But before you don your harness and shoes, there are a few things you should know and practice when it comes to safe rock climbing.
While climbing may seem as if it is a very intuitive sport, consider signing up for a class or private lessons from an instructor. There are obvious risks in climbing, so your safety and the safety of everyone around you needs to be a top consideration. Instructors can supply you with the know-how to tackle this sport safely and with confidence. Plus, technique tips from an instructor will greatly speed up your enjoyment of the sport.
Beginners may want to rent equipment until they become more familiar with the new gear and learn what works best for them. Rock climbing requires specialty shoes that provide grip on the rock face and strength in footholds. The safety harness is a vital piece of climbing gear that should fit securely and allow a full range of movement. Helmets protect your head in falls or from debris. Carabiners are a quick connection to the rope, while belay devices provide a sort of braking system along the rope. Other accessories include chalk and chalk bags.
Go to an indoor gym where you can use the gear, learn the language and watch experienced climbers. Consider signing up for a class, you may be more comfortable learning among other newbies. Learn the basic climbing knots.
Climbing taxes more than the hands, arms and legs. Do core strengthening exercises such as planks and crunches to aid your overall strength and balance.
Try bouldering first. If heights intimidate you, fear not. Try bouldering, which is more like moving side to side across a wall instead of only going up and down. It’s a great way to get used to feeling your way on the wall, practicing basic moves and learning your body’s limitations.
Practice, Practice, Practice. Once you hit the wall, you might find it hard to stop. Some simple body tips include keeping your hips close to the wall, keeping your arms straight, and engaging your core. It’s really a total body workout, so don’t push yourself too hard the first day.
Getting comfortable on the rock face takes time and practice, though the payoff in fitness and awesome views is worth the effort. So don’t put off your training any longer – hit the gym today.