Experts say one of the best ways to build muscle is to incorporate strength training into your workout.

Strength training involves weights such as dumbbells, resistance bands, and machines. But you can use your body weight too.

woman climber on a climbing wall

Consider rock climbing strength training if you’re looking for a fun way to incorporate body weight into your workout. Climbing gyms offer an excellent way to build muscle. 

Read on to learn more about building muscle with a rock climbing workout!

Can Rock Climbing Build Muscle?

Climbing requires using your entire body, which means you use a lot of muscles in the sport. In your upper body, the muscles you use the most include:

  • Forearm flexors
  • Lats (latissimus dorsi)
  • Rhomboids 
  • Anterior deltoid 

You use your forearm flexors to open and close your hands around objects like rock climbing holds. The lats, rhomboids, and deltoids work to pull your body up toward your hands as you scale the course. 

You’ll also need to use your biceps, triceps, and pecs (pectoralis major/minor) to pull yourself up.

Your abdominal muscles, or core, stabilize you as you climb. A tight core helps alleviate fatigue in your upper body muscles during a climb. Without a strong core, climbing is nearly impossible.

can rock climbing build muscle

Even though the upper body needs strength to pull upward, your lower body is just as important in climbing. The quadriceps help push your body upward from a bent leg to a straight leg.

Your glutes help you get your hips closer to the wall, and your calf muscles enable you to raise your heels and stay steady when on a thin ledge. 

Creating a Workout Routine With Rock Climbing

While climbing strength training is an excellent way to build muscle, it shouldn’t necessarily be your only workout activity. It all comes down to what your fitness goals are.

In general, climbing is an excellent replacement for cardio. If you hate running or going on the elliptical, climbing can be a unique alternative for you to try.

Beginner climbers will see an increase in muscle mass. But, at some point, climbers’ muscles plateau. Climbers don’t usually continue to build large muscles. If you look at famous climbers, they are lean, cut, and toned.

If you want to bulk up, you must incorporate different types of training into your workout routine. For example, if you climb three times a week, you may want to do targeted weight training twice weekly. 

Adding in heavier weights will help you build bigger muscles if that is your goal. 

can rock climbing build muscle

Climbing can also cause a muscle imbalance since various climbing problems require the use of different muscles. For example, many climbers need additional training to strengthen their back shoulder muscles since climbing uses the front shoulder muscle more often.

You can also think about working with a personal trainer who will help you create an individual workout routine to meet your specific fitness goals. 

Climbing Gyms Near You

If you want to get into rock climbing, searching for climbing gyms in your area is best. Many gyms offer climbing classes and other types of training to meet the fitness goals of everyone. 

To learn more about our climbing gyms, contact us at inSPIRE Rock. We’d love to tell you more about our membership and fitness programs.