Do you get bored with the same old workout? Every week you are doing the same routine; legs on Monday, chest on Tuesday, back on Wednesday, or bodypump on Tuesday/Thursday, spin on Monday/Wednesday and perhaps yoga on Sunday. Speaking from experience, an avid free weight, machine, and cables user, it was last winter that I decided to put a serious mix into my workouts and have a lot more fun getting in shape with rock climbing.
Albert Einstein defined insanity as “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” As much of a cliché that quote might be, it is surprising how many people practice “insanity” in their regular workout schedule. The National Academy of Sports Medicine said, “By changing up your workout and or intensity you gain results in a shorter amount of time.” Simply explained; working out is about putting the nervous system, skeleton, and muscles in addition to the respiratory system under short periods of strain for increased strength, bone density, alignment, muscle development, oxygen, and so on.
The perception of getting the most out of a workout becomes confusing when comparing minor changes to radical changes that could be made. All movement uses energy and therefore burns calories. When you can do an exercise without strain, your going through a motion, using less energy and burning fewer calories. The body is an amazing machine that adapts quickly. This is the reason so many individuals add weight or increase the repetitions. Unfortunately, something is missing from this style of change in an individual’s workouts. If the nervous system is not challenged, new connections between neurons are not being made, and alternative muscles are not being stimulated. Additionally, there is small stabilization, secondary muscle fibers that never get used while doing the same exercises. In turn, this style of training results in overuse of muscles and joints, creating a weak point prone for injury.
Change is good. Life is good. So change up your workouts, try something new and be adventurous. As I mentioned earlier, I made some changes in my workouts last winter, I started rock climbing at an indoor climbing gym. Besides having fun, I used muscles I never knew I had.
You may think climbing primarily uses upper body strength. The reality of climbing is it requires a great deal of leg and footwork; hence the reason women excel so quickly in rock climbing. Climbing is truly all-around training, even building up your cardio. As I increased my endurance and climbing strength, I started working laps on the climbing wall, which is similar to sets related to strength training. This type of climbing prepares you for harder climbs and outdoor climbing. Rock climbing is challenging, contouring your body in different positions, and putting those balancing and stabilization muscles to the test. To help with flexibility and balance, many rock climbers have adapted the benefits of yoga to cross train, helping to enhance their climbing and maintain proper body alignment.
There are a few different climbing styles; free climbing, which should not to be mistaken for solo climbing. Solo climbing has no safety gear placed during the climb, which is not recommended. Free climbing uses basic equipment; such as a harness, shoes, rope, and belay device. The gear required depends on the style of climbing. There is sport climbing where quick draws are used to clip into hangers pre-drilled into the rock. Traditional climbing requires an arsenal of gear, passive and active is placed into cracks as you climb up the rock. In traditional climbing the climbing partner who follows the climb from behind removes the gear. Climbers use the term “cleaning”. As you climb with a variety of climbers you quickly start picking up the lingo.
Another style that I won’t go much into is aide climbing, or big wall climbing. These types of climbing use more complex styles of gear and some of the climbing routes can sometimes take up to several days to climb. Last but not least, bouldering is a style of climbing that has been growing exponentially. The growing popularity is most likely due to the minimum amount of gear needed and easy approaches. Bouldering climbing uses large boulders or short climbing routes where no fixed gear is needed. Compared to free climbing, bouldering is power with explosive moves similar to power lifting. Bouldering has its own rating system starting at V0 and upwards of V15. Many of us normal humans are happy if we reach a V6 or V7 in our lifetime.
Whatever style of climbing you choose, you will have a great time getting in shape. Salt Lake City offers a variety of indoor facilities for first timers and climbing gurus. Try something new this fall semester and stay active.
Local climbing facilities:
Momentum Indoor Climbing Gym – momentumclimbing.com
Top rope, lead climb, cracks, boldering, yoga, training, instructions, and rentals.
Climb for $10 by showing your OneCard and “friending” Momentum on Facebook
The Front Indoor Climbing Club – frontslc.com
Boldering, yoga, pilates, Instructions, and rentals.
$30 for one-month membership for all SLCC students. Must show OneCard. Offer good through end of Sept.
Rockreation Indoor Climbing Gym – rockreation.com
Top rope, lead climbing, boldering, instructions, and rentals.