Benefits of Bouldering

As I started to lose more and more weight, I found myself becoming more active outside of the gym.

Lifting weights is fun, but it can only take you so far. Sometimes you want to see what else your body is capable of doing. This is why I started indoor bouldering.

Bouldering is essentially climbing along boulders at a small distance off the ground. Typically you don’t need safety ropes as you’re not up that high, and it’s great fun.

It’s become one of the more popular sports over the recent years and a lot more indoor bouldering gyms are opening. I find bouldering to be a pretty accessible sport, if you’re able bodied it’s definitely worth having a go.

There are many reasons why I started bouldering, other than curiosity. Here are my top reasons of why you should try it:

It’s a full body workout

This is one of the most important reasons of why I love bouldering. With this sport you’re climbing a lot and pulling yourself up across and around several walls.

In doing so, you’re pulling and pushing yourself towards and away from different parts of the wall. This works all the muscles in your body.

Contrary to what most people think, when you’re climbing it’s more about your legs than your arms. Your arms hold you in place while you push yourself further up the wall with your legs, kind of like a complicated ladder.

When you’re pulling yourself towards a wall, you’ll be using your arms and back. And when you’re pushing away to another area, you’ll be using your chest, legs and shoulders.

To keep on the wall, you need to have grip strength, this works your forearms. All of your body gets some benefit from a good climb.

Bouldering keeps your brain active

Although it may be easy to think of bouldering as just climbing up a wall, it’s much more than that.

When you’re climbing, you’ll usually be going up a specific route or ‘problem’ as boulderers call them. These aren’t always easy to navigate, and usually require you using some kind of logic to get yourself up there. You can’t always rely on your strength to pull you through, some times you need to apply a bit of forethought and technique

This makes bouldering all the more challenging and even more satisfying when you finally solve a problem that you’ve been working on.

Which brings me to my next point…

It’s easy to measure your success

Much like powerlifting, you know how well you’re doing by the result. You can either lift the heavy weigh, or you can’t. Bouldering is the same, you can either climb a certain problem, or you need to work at it.

This allows you to monitor how well you’re doing when it comes to both your technique and strength. You can measure yourself by what level of difficulty you are on.

You’re coordination will improve

Much like with the compound lifts that I’ve mentioned in a previous article, bouldering can help improve your coordination.

It does this by making your body actively contract different muscle groups in time with one another to help you climb up routes on the wall. Again, this trains your body to work closer together with itself which can help improve your balance, spacial awareness and general reaction times.

It’s good for both your brain and your body.

It can help you face your fears

Scared of heights? You won’t be after falling eight feet off a wall. One of the main benefits of bouldering is that no matter who you are, you will fall. A foot will slip or your grip will give and you’ll land on a padded mat.

It isn’t the end of the world, while you’re there you’ll learn how to land correctly so you won’t come to any harm.

Falling can be scary at first, but after you’ve done it a few times you lose that fear of it happening. You adjust, and it’s a very teachable lesson for other things in life that you may fear.

It’s really fun

This is definitely one of the best reasons I love to go bouldering. It is FUN. There’s something so freeing about throwing yourself up a wall with nothing but you’re own will power and deciding how exactly you’ll do it.

That’s something that you can’t do in a gym. You either pick it up or you don’t. With bouldering, two people can start in the exact same position on a wall and climb to the goal via entirely different methods. It all depends on your creativity, strength and skill.

A lot of it is improvisation, especially when you first start – and I highly advise this kind of experimentation when you’re first getting to grips with it.

In Summary

If you’re sick of the gym, and you’ve had enough of the cardio, I recommend you try bouldering. Most places will have great instructors to show you around and how to get started, they’ll  also have the shoes you need to climb with there for you to rent.

It’s a great full body exercise and is part of a strong, friendly and helpful community to keep you coming back.

Happy climbing!

JD