Rock climbing is known to help carve killer legs and abs and enhance flexibility. 

Indoor rock climbing

The G.O.

What started as a form of training for outdoor climbing in the mid-’80s has evolved into a full-body cardio workout. A 1997 report in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that heart rate and energy expenditure levels while climbing on an indoor wall were similar to running at a moderate pace. In addition, a 2007 study in the Journal of Undergraduate Kinesiology Research from the University of Wisconsin found that rock climbing met guidelines for heart rate and energy expenditure expected for exercise to be considered effective, with impressive muscle-toning perks.  

Health benefits of rock climbing:

According to Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) spokesperson Zac Jefcoate, “Rock climbing places a lot of emphasis on full body, and in particular, lower body and core, and uses all the major muscles – back, legs, chest and arms.

It has a strong emphasis on engaging and using multiple muscles at once.” He says this recruitment of both small and large muscles makes rock climbing a challenging and tough workout. It is a full body exercise against gravity and requires all four limbs to work at once with control. 

“Choosing a sport such as rock climbing provides a different challenge than conventional weight lifting at the gym. What occurs is that there are a larger number of smaller stabilising muscles that need to work to support your body in movement. Most gym-based exercises are either in one- or two-dimension, hence not a direct relation to outside functional movement.” On top of rock climbing, you still need to continue to work on balance, cardio, flexibility and core stability, he says, so don’t quit the gym yet. 

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