Indoor Climbing: The Benefits and How to Get Started
Mind and body. That’s what climbing is all about and it’s why I started falling in love with it. Over this past summer, I’ve delved into the world of climbing. Learning all of its ins and outs has drawn me back to the bouldering gym every week.
I chalk up my hands in my chalk bag, look up at the 15 foot walls with different color routes, lock in on the problem I want to tackle, and grab onto the first hold – my legs and arms carry me up. Climbing can be very addicting.
The different types of climbing, the community, and the benefits it offers our bodies make it a very attractive sport. Let’s dive into some of the benefits of bouldering, how to get started and ways to get involved in the city of Austin, TX.
The Benefits of Bouldering and Climbing
Bouldering brings all of the benefits. One of the first things people say before attempting climbing is, “I don’t have the strength to do it.” The beauty of indoor climbing is that it’s a low-impact, fun exercise. Once you get into a routine, it feels more like an engaging activity and less like a workout.
Targeting your major muscles – back, shoulders, arms, and core – you’ll start to feel stronger after several climbing sessions in the gym. You’ll learn how to use more than one move to grab holds, control your body, and begin to visualize a plan of action for every problem you take on. It won’t always be easy and that’s the fun of it. You may fall off the wall a few times or have trouble figuring out which hold to grab next. Not giving up and trusting yourself is where the mind and body begin to work together.
“You have to go through a certain amount of suffering for anything to be worth it.”
- Mario Stanley, Climbing Coach
Not only do you strengthen your body, but your mind is a part of the dance as well. As you begin to climb, you’ll notice how much focus and concentration are needed to move your hands and feet from hold to hold. Arm stays straight, left foot up, knee drop, right arm up.
You may initially doubt yourself and feel a little discouraged, but over time you’ll start to realize something. The confidence in yourself slowly starts to build as you make your way up wall after wall.
How to Get Started with Indoor Climbing
There are so many routes you can take to start your climbing journey. From going with a friend to joining a beginner class, the only hard part is motivating yourself to get out there!
A lot of gyms will have beginner lessons or an orientation that they offer to get you familiar with everything you need to know. This includes:
How to safely fall off the wall
Climbing gym etiquette and best practices
The way the circuit system works
How to start and finish climbs
Aside from classes, you could also:
Join a climbing group (check Meetup or Facebook groups)
Ask people like staff or other climbers for help in the gym (everyone is friendly!)
With a quick Google search, you can find a climbing gym near you and purchase a day pass, rent shoes, and a chalk bag. Have a friend who boulders? They may be able to get you in free with a guest pass.
Getting Involved in Climbing in Austin, TX
In Austin, TX, specifically, you can choose several gyms to start indoor climbing.
Weekly Color Circuit Meetups (Monday & Wednesday @ Westgate location)
Essential Equipment to Get Started with Climbing
Before buying your gear, rent equipment from your gym to see how you like it! You’ll need:
Climbing Chalk Brush
Indoor climbing, and the community surrounding it, are filled with the most welcoming individuals. So many people have developed stronger friendships through climbing. And one thing to keep in mind is the best climbers ask other people who are good how to improve their technique. There is no reason to struggle alone. Asking for help is what helps you to keep improving your skills!
Now that you know how to get started, it’s time to send it. Get out there and start climbing.
This blog post is dedicated to the person who taught me everything I know about climbing.