Introduction To Rock Climbing

 By: Jack Smith
If you have ever been rock climbing before then you will know that it is not a very easy sport, in fact you probably felt quite defeated when you first tried to do any serious climbing. Indoor and outdoor rock climbing are both extremely demanding and require practice, like anything else, to get good at. Depending on what type of climbing you have tried you most likely noticed that you got an incredible workout in a very short period of time. What most people don't know is that the sport of rock climbing is one of the most physically and mentally demanding sports there is.

There are 3 basic types of rock climbing. Top roping is probably one of the most common types and is basically climbing with a partner. The partner belays you on the ground and a rope runs from his harness up to the top of the wall then around a pulley and back down and attaches to the climbers harness. The second type, which is very similar to top roping is called lead climbing. The buddy system works the same way, one man on the ground belaying and the other climbing, but this time instead of the rope being at the top of the wall it has to be hooked into clasps as the climber ascends up the wall. In both of these types of rock climbing the climber has the luxury to sit off the wall and rest on the rope, however, lead climbing requires the climber to hang from the wall from one hand, grab the rope, and pull it up to clip it into the clasps, this can be very hard depending on many different things.

The third type of rock climbing is called bouldering. Bouldering is a type of free climbing without any ropes or harnesses. The climber tends to stay much closer to the ground and climbs around the wall more so then up the wall. This is the most demanding of all climbing. The climber must be able to complete the route without taking a rest on the rope. Often, during a bouldering route the climber is required to do a maneuver called a dyno. Dynos are basically launching yourself off the wall, and then grabbing onto a hold further away from you. This type of maneuver is where mental training plays a major role in climbing.

Believe it or not, climbing is said to be about 75% legs and only 25% arms. To climb efficiently and successfully one must use wonderful technique. One of the major rules of rock climbing is to always have 3 points touching the wall.... weather it is both feet and one hand, or one foot and both hands, it is much easier to have your weight distributed on 3 points than it is 2. Another important concept to grasp is that your arms in most cases will not do the climbing; they only hold you into the wall so that your legs are actually pushing you upward. The closer you are to the wall, the easier it is to climb.

Rock climbing may sound like a bit too extreme for the every day person but it really is an amazing work out. Once you get into the sport, and start to learn how to position your body and distribute your weight you can begin to tackle some difficult problems. The great thing about rock climb is that it is mentally challenging as well, those who like games like chess or like to problem solve would love rock climbing. You are constantly analyzing the way your body moves and how to do certain moves on the wall. For anyone who wants to get into shape, rock climbing is a fun and effective way to tone muscles and to work on your cardiovascular system. Anyone who is physically active, enjoys a challenge, and loves the outdoors should consider looking into rock climbing as a new past time.
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