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Reaching New Heights: Rock Climbing and its Benefits


We all have lives outside of the gym, even if the gym is a major part of who we are. There are many people like myself, who sometimes find it hard to go to the gym everyday or change their fitness routine when the sun starts shining outside at the end of winter. I always like to challenge my body and try new things, which is why I tried out rock climbing. Rock climbing is a super fun sport that I got involved with a little over a year ago. I thought that I was not going to enjoy it, now I own my own climbing shoes and chalk bag. There are many reasons why I enjoy the sport including an increase of strength and mobility. Specifically, the reason I love it so much is because of the community, something that we value here at Heron Creek. All rock climbers who regularly boulder are super encouraging and always nice to chat with.

Types of Rock Climbing

Top Rope: Indoor climbing where the climber wears a harness and is attached to the wall with a rope. This rope ensures the safety of the climber as this type of climbing is often higher than the average bouldering height. Some of these walls can span over 100 feet.

Bouldering: Indoor free climbing without ropes or harnesses. Walls are normally not as tall, but are still equally challenging.

Outdoor: Both Bouldering and Top Rope can be done in an outdoor setting. It is recommended that climbers have a crash pad, first aid supplies, and have emergency plans as outdoor climbing can be dangerous if not done properly. There are many places in Ontario that rock climbers go to regularly.

Benefits of Climbing

There are a lot of benefits to rock climbing that can improve your fitness journey. Not only is it a fun activity to do with your friends that burns calories, but it is challenging and pushes your body. Some of the benefits are an increase of mobility and strength, especially within the upper body. I always struggled to do pull-ups until I started rock climbing regularly. It also helps with balance as many moves in this sport require you to create bodily tension, in order to move from foot to foot, complete dynamic jumps, and other careful moves.

Another improvement is within your grip strength. Rock climbing requires a lot of wrist strength that can translate to other exercises in the gym such as; dead-lifting, pull-ups, rows, and other heavy lifting exercises. It is fundamental that you warm up your fingers and wrists before jumping up on a rock wall!

This sport isn’t just physical, it’s also mental. Rock climbing incorporates a lot of problem solving. You have to look at the wall and execute a game plan for how you are going to reach the top, and if something doesn’t work you have to modify it. I would always recommend attending rock climbing with a seasoned climber, they will always have the best advice! This is why the community of rock climbing is so amazing and a great place for you to make friends. Everyone is always willing to give advice or encourage you to try again.

Try it today at some of the gyms near Ancaster and let me know that you think in the comments below!

Climbing Gyms Close to Ancaster

Gravity in Hamilton

The Core Climbing in Cambridge

Grand River Rocks (GRR) in Waterloo and in Kitchener

The Grotto in Guelph

Common Rock Climbing Lingo

Campus: Process of climbing only using your upper body.

Slab: A type of climbing where the face of the wall is less than 90 degrees, and has small or no holds

Sloper: A smooth hold with no edges or pockets. Usually round shapes that slope away from the wall

Jug: A type of hold that is shaped in a cup-like fashion or has a pocket. Very easy to grip/cup with your hand.

Crimp: (My least favourite) A type of hold that is usually small and flat. Crimping is the process of only using the tips of your fingers.

Bat Hang: Hanging upside down on a hold by your feet

Toe Hook: gripping onto a hold with the toe of your foot for stability

Heel Hook: Gripping onto a hold with the heel of your foot for stability

Matching: Moving both hands to the same hold

Bump: Process of moving the same hand from one hold to the next simultaneously.

Dyno: A move that requires dynamic movement like a swing or a jump.

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