When I think of rock climbing I automatically think of a big, burly man scaling a mountain. Well, at least I used to! Did you know that rock climbing is quickly become a sport popular with women? That’s right, indoor rock climbing gyms offer women the intense calorie burning and core strengthening exercise they often crave so I made a plan to check it and get educated about this unique sport. Luckily for us, South Africa is a haven for rock climbing so there’s bound to be a gym or outdoor spot near you where you can get involved and sweat it out.

For women who want a quick get-in-and-get-out type of workout regime, climbing is a great all-body workout that doesn’t take hours to complete. Of course, the stereotypical big muscled men we see climbing mountains in the movies also isn’t accurate. Believe it or not, you don’t need superhero upper-body strength to be a climber and you won’t develop Hulk-like arms from participating in this sport. The truth is that grappling on climbing walls allows you to use every muscle in your body and can help you burn upwards of 400 calories in just an hour. Of course, keep in mind that you might not be able to keep going for an hour when you first start out as this sport is serious business ladies! You’ll also have loads of fun doing it and your chances of getting bored are slim! Each climb you do is different and a unique challenge so you’ll stay motivated to keep going even when your legs are tired.

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing definitely isn’t for sissies!

I spent 45 minutes at a climbing gym just recently and I had to stop quite often to pull myself towards myself. I could feel my legs, forearms, and even my bum losing juice with every climb, but I must say I felt like a million bucks afterwards. The next day wasn’t so great when I realised that my muscles were stiff in places I didn’t even know I had muscles! Rock climbing is great for building fitness and will do wonders for those annoying little bits of armpit fat that refuse to budge as well as your abs. When climbing you use your core and hips to drive your power and provide balance on the wall and your arms to guide you, so it’s a killer core workout. What’s more, climbing can also help to increase flexibility and improve your problem-solving abilities so you’ll be working your mind too.

So where do you start?

Rock Climbing

CityROCK climbing gym in Cape Town.

To get started in the world of climbing all you need to do is head to your nearest indoor climbing gym. CityROCK is an indoor climbing gym based in Cape Town and Johannesburg and they welcome climbers of all skills levels – from first timers and kids to experienced outdoor climbers, and everyone in between. The CityROCK gyms offer a wide range of activities including bouldering (climbing 3-4m high without a rope), automatic belay walls (Cape Town only), training areas and even a yoga studio. First timers in Cape Town can book a DIY session at CityROCK Cape Town which includes a day pass for bouldering and climbing on the automatic belay wall at a cost of R145 for kids or R195 for adults. Newbies in Joburg will have to book an introduction to climbing course at CityROCK Joburg and pass the  compulsory Top Rope Belay test before you can climb. The course will cost you R230 per person but also includes free climbing at the gym after the course.

For more information on CityROCK visit their website here.

More places to climb in Cape Town:

HangTime is another great climbing gym in Cape Town. This unique climbing gym offers gyms in both Pinelands and Belville with indoor and outdoor walls, a dedicated bouldering area, and top-end training facilities. For more information on HangTime indoor climbing gym click here to visit their website.

More places to climb in Johannesburg:

Johannesburg has a few climbing gym options for newbies to explore. Try Wonderwall in Kya Sands or the Climbing Barn in Mooiplaats.