Mention rock climbing and most people will automatically think of big, burly men scaling a mountain. But, did you know that rock climbing is quickly becoming a sport popular with women? Yes indeed, 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 out 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 (cardio queens you have met your match!). 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.
Thanks to my incredibly diverse FitKey membership, I get to try all kinds of different workouts every week, climbing included, so I decided to spend 45 minutes at a climbing gym and see how I fared. I’m not going to lie, 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 movement, 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 (we all have them) as well as your abs. But that’s not all – when climbing you use your core and hips to drive your power and provide balance on the wall, all while also using your arms to guide you. In short, it’s a killer core and full body 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?
If you’re a beginner, then I would recommend starting out with bouldering. Most climbing gyms also offer top rope climbing but you have to do a belay course before you’re allowed to climb with a partner. Bouldering allows you to climb without the need for ropes so you can hit the gym on your own whenever you want rather than having to rope in a friend.
Bloc 11 is an indoor climbing gym based in Cape Town and they’re especially welcoming to beginners. Catering to climbers of all levels Bloc 11 is the biggest bouldering gym in Cape Town and is a beginners dream come true. The facilities at this spot in Montague Gardens include a world-class bouldering gym, dedicated yoga classes for climbers, an onsight physiotherapist, and a coffee bar. The gym offers free beginners bouldering classes every Saturday at 10:00. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll pay R90 for a day pass to climb for as long as you want or R360 for a monthly pass to the gym.
Budget conscious fitness fundis interested in getting into climbing will love FitKey. Instead of paying separately for each studio you train at, your one FitKey membership fee gives you access to over 160 gym locations (including Bloc 11) and more than 6000 classes per month! With FitKey there are no joining fees and no contracts or obligations. You simply pay the monthly fee of R995 for the unlimited plan when you want to use the membership and you’ll have access from the day you pay to that same date a month later. There is also a range of other membership plans available starting from R295 for Fitkey 3 (3 classes a month) to R695 for FitKey 10 (10 classes a month). Momentum Multiply members get up to 10% off their monthly FitKey membership.
Read our full review of FitKey here.
**BONUS: use this WomenStuff referral link to get an additional R50.00 off of your first month!**
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After years of working as an Editor and writer for popular websites like Joburg’s Darling, Cape Town’s Darling and Joburg.co.za, Crystal left her sanity and an established career in lifestyle journalism behind to follow her dream of creating a website for the intellectual and discerning woman. Today she spends her time chasing the thrill of being the first to know about ‘the next big thing’. She’ll try anything once and has been known to put her body, hair and health on the line – all in the name of research.