Article By Althea Shah GM Operations and Fitness Expert – Gold’s Gym India Indoor rock climbing Indoor Rock Climbing is a fun and safe sport for all ages. Climbing facilities provide a controlled, supervised environment where novice through professional climbers can exercise in an enjoyable way. Trained staff teach the necessary safety techniques, and climbing gear is available. Indoor climbing is fun, exciting, physically beneficial, mentally challenging, and socially enjoyable or all age groups. Give indoor climbing a try and get hooked. Remember learning to climb is a process. Every time you climb make it a goal to learn something new and have fun. What does one need? Rock climbing wall: This is an artificial structure comprised of shaped climbing holds that are attached to the surface in specific routes. Safety Harnesses and ropes: Before starting, a climber is secured with a safety harness to a climbing rope. It is then held by a second person on the ground called a belayer. The belayer ensures the safety of the climber by controlling the tension, giving or taking as the climber ascends to the top. Gear: Having the proper gear is essential if you want to climb strong and safely. You’ll want to get a good pair of rock climbing shoes, a chalk bag with chalk to keep your hands dry and increase the friction between your skin and the surface of the rock and holds. The benefits from indoor climbing One of the great benefits of rock climbing is the fun and joy it brings you. Climbing is challenging and taking on the challenge can be very rewarding. Working up a good sweat, having fun with your friends, or finishing that route you’ve been working on is satisfying. Climbing exercise engages all muscle groups simultaneously, including balance, which is as important as raw strength-but it's a "thinking challenge" too. Climbers learn mental control as their skills develop. Climbers often cross train in unrelated sports to enhance balance and endurance needed for excelling in climbing. Climbing is great for kids – they can climb with other kids as well as adults in a controlled environment. They learn safety, responsibility, respect, and how to productively channel their youthful energy. You can develop… • Dynamic muscle strength • Flexibility • Balance • Coordination • Mental and physical focus What should you do? Warm up, Cool Down and Stretch: Stretching improves circulation and flexibility which translates to improved climbing technique. Prior to climbing, take a half hour to get your muscles and joints limbered, and your heart rate elevated a little. Stretching and warming up helps the joints, ligaments, muscles move and last a little longer. Working on your Balance: The starting point for developing a good rock climbing technique begins with your sense of balance, and how you control your balance on the wall. Your feet may be close together, or spread-eagle, or in an even stance. Your center of balance is always centered on your body mass. Some great methods to increasing balance are to do Yoga, work on a slackline, and practice single legged exercises. Some examples of one legged exercises are the one legged squat and the lunge. Strength of Grip: The key to the right grip is simple: Relax. Over-gripping will wear out your forearms and when that happens, you are done. Your back and shoulders must remain loose and relaxed. Eat Right: During exercise, your muscles will use up stored carbohydrates (glycogen) that need to be replenished by sugar from the blood. The liver supplies sugar by providing a store of glycogen. When the liver runs out of glycogen, you will get that heavy, no-energy feeling. You can prevent this simply by eating about 500 calories from fruits (simple carbohydrates - but avoid processed sugar as a source of simple carbs). Do this about an hour before your rock climbing exercise session. If you run out of steam during your training session, drink a sports drink or eat something with carbohydrates. Whatever you choose, it should have a high carbohydrate content. Water: Rock climbing exercises are strenuous. During exercise your body will lose water due to sweat. Replacing fluids during and after climbing exercise is absolutely essential. Lack of water in your muscles will decrease contractile strength by up to 30%. Recovery: After the rock climbing exercise session, eat complex carbs - (bread, potatoes, rice, fruits, pasta) and avoid fatty and oily foods. You need to replenish your glycogen stores. Carbohydrates will do that for you. Get rest: Along with carbohydrates and fluids, rest is essential for a speedy recovery and the rebuilding of muscle glycogen. Take time to put your feet up and relax. Stretching, sports massage, or even a soothing bath can help rebuild your muscles for the next strenuous workout. Climbing Time: Don’t train too frequently. The amount of time you spend out on the rock or in the gym should not exceed four days a week. Be Safe: Safety is so important in climbing. Be sure to double and triple check all your gear, your knots, belay setup, and anchors. Do not be careless in safety checks; carelessness is a major cause of climbing accidents. Develop the Right Muscles There is very little value in bulking up muscle groups that are not needed in climbing, or not needed for the type of climbing you do. For example, bouldering requires strength moves, but face climbing requires endurance. Sport climbing and indoor climbing combine strength and endurance. The muscles you need to develop varies widely on the type of rock climbing you do, will determine the muscles to emphasize during training. Forearms: You have probably noticed that your grip goes before anything else. Generally speaking, improving a climber's grip strength is the quickest way to improve climbing. Shoulders: Several variations on the pull-up will improve strength in your arms and shoulders. This is a key element to your climbing workout. Pull Ups: Muscles in upper body are worked and developed in a way needed by climbers. Pull ups are key to developing shoulder, back, stomach, forearms, grip all needed for climbing. The pull up or chin ups are an important exercise for your climbing workout routine. See Chin Ups. Abdominals: Work out the Obliques by doing twists and crunches. The obliques control twisting and body tension. Rock Climbing Basics When people start to climb they think rock climbing is all about upper body strength and for some reason they forget to use their legs. Your legs are much stronger than your arms so be sure to use them accordingly. When you climb you should focus twice the amount of energy on using your feet and legs than as you do on your hands and arms. Your fingers and hands should hold you close to the rock, while you use your legs to push you up the rock. You do not have to have mutant strength to climb well – it is much more important to have a solid foundation in good technique Keep Your Body Close to the Wall: Your body posture has to be erect. Understandably, sometimes leaning back away from the wall is necessary to see the route. A good indicator to be aware of is the direction your knees point. In general, in a good climbing technique the knees do not point directly in towards the wall. Develop Smooth Movement: Develop smoothness to your climbing by simply making a conscious effort to control unneeded movement. Wiggling and resituating creates “opportunity” to fall, slip off the hold or lose balance. Hold your body still, relaxed and deliberate. There are two types of climbing movement: Static and dynamic. Static Climbing Technique: Static movement is making a move where body position is controlled by muscle movement, rather than by momentum. How you shift your body weight upwards, downwards, left or right as a general rule will help you gain control. Move your body when all four points, both feet and both hands, are planted. A Good technique in climbing movement is of it in two parts:1) move your limbs, 2) shift your body weight; repeat. Avoid shifting weight and moving a limb at the same time. Use your arms for balance and your legs to hold your body weight. Developing good foot placement is essential for improving your climbing technique and balance. The Dead Point, Dynamic Climbing Technique: The dead point technique is useful in many climbing situations, helps you develop a smooth graceful characteristic. It is one of the most useful for improving dynamic climbing ability. The dead point is done by sensing the top of a parabolic arch while you quickly move weight upward dynamically. The dead point is the point your body changes directions vertically. At the dead point, your hand should be at the top of the arch and at the hold. At this point your upward direction has stopped and you to get a grip on the hold before your weight begins to settle. For dynamic climbing develop your upper body muscles, such as shoulders, arms and forearms.