Have you ever wondered when you could put into practice all those chin ups you do in the gym? well I have the answer.....rock climbing!  I recently gave indoor rock climbing a go and what a challenging workout, both physically and mentally, it was too.

Physically rock climbing burns fat while strengthening muscles if you're doing it at a reasonable pace. Have you seen a fat rock climber??!!  The ones who do this as their main sport are lean mean muscle machines.
Mentally, rock climbing presents people with the opportunity to exercise their ability to focus on a single task ie to reach the top. Climbers also get to confront their fears - the fear of heights, the fear of falling, the fear of failure.

Ultimately rock climbing can be a metaphor for life and our struggle to reach the top (is that too deep and meaningful?!) but its also great fun and you get a self confidence boost along the way.

I hadn't rock climbed before so I was little nervous but excited about challenging myself in a different area of sport and fitness. I wasn't sure what to expect of 'the wall' at Akl Uni and how high it was going to be but when I saw it was 'only' 10metres high I thought it was doable and I wasn't going to get too freaked out when I get up to the top.

  But getting up to the top was easier said than done.  When you look at the wall with all its foot and hand holds, it looks easy enough.  You mentally map out the path you're going to take and the best way to get up there and looking up, it doesn't look that high or hard.

However once you take a couple of climbs, or 2metres, upwards things become more difficult that you think and the path you thought was easy gets narrower.  Considering you only have a few millimetres to place your foot on and a handhold just big enough for 3 fingers, you really have to use your whole body to stay on the wall.
This is when rock climbing becomes a mental and physical challenge.  The basic goal of rock climbing is to reach the top and you have to use all your will to get there. And I was going to get there!

It took me a couple of goes before I went above 5 metres and the confidence to get into the groove of climbing but by my 4th or 5th climb up, I reached the top. Yay!  Rock climbing was perfect mental activity for me right now as it really exercised my will to reach the top which can correlate with my will to overcome my challenges in the gym.


I didn't think rock climbing would be such a taxing activity but it offers both an anaerobic and aerobic workout.  Rock climbing exercises almost every muscle as you hang on for dear life.  Not only are you  using your legs and toes to balance on the footholds but you also have to be quite flexible to manouever your leg up to a higher foothold.  All the while your hands and fingers are in static contracting holding onto the small bit of rock jutting out from the wall.  You also have to be strong enough to hold your bodyweight with your fingers, hence your chin up experience!

I was there with a group of friends and although we were there for only an hour, and we each had probably around 8 climbs each, all of us were pretty tired at the end.  Ofcourse not only are the ones climbing getting a workout. The spotter at the bottom is also working out, consistantly keeping the rope nice and tort as the climber goes upwards.

Through some research I found out that climbing a natural or artificial rock wall burns up to 700 calories an hour if you weigh 63kgs or up to 974 calories an hour if you weigh 86kgs.  Although we didn't go too hard out, I'm sure we burnt at least that much!  I was sure tired at night and had a great sleep!


Rock Climbing Rocks! Variety is the spice of life and I really enjoyed the cross training of rock climbing.  It gave me the chance to actually use my muscles in another arena other than doing presses or pulldowns, rock climbing really makes practical use of your muscles.

It's a great way to 'hang out' (ha ha) with your friends and also enhances the trust in them as you're relying on them as your lifeline.  And its great fun!

I'd recommend you give rock climbing a go for something different that not only tests you physically but mentally too. You never know, you might just be able to push an extra few reps out at the gym from your increased mental focus from climbing....I'm hoping to!

Lisa, Go Figure
25 November 08

Go on facebook!

Follow us on facebook
and keep up to date
with latest news
and activities

You are now being logged in using your Facebook credentials