Climbing gyms are quite popular these days. Not only is it fun, but it will also help you achieve that body goal you’ve always desired.
Watching someone climb may make you think it is a piece of cake. We hate to break it to you, but it is not as easy as it looks. Your first time in a climbing and fitness gym may be an intimidating and daunting experience. But trust us it will only be a matter of time before you are a professional at it. However, to ensure your transition from amateur to pro is a lot faster, you must know what to expect even before you appear in the gym.
Therefore, in this article, we will be discussing some of the important things you need to know about a climbing gym before you even enroll.
Let us get right into it.
The first thing you need to do before you even go to the gym is to ensure you have comfortable clothes for the occasion. The cloth you choose must be flexible and comfortable enough for you to be able to move and stretch your limbs. In case you have not gotten the drift yet, avoid jeans. Also, trim your fingernails. They do not have to be too short, but they should be short enough for you to comfortably keep your grip.
At the gym, you would have to rent shoes and a harness. You might need a chalk bag as well.
Putting on the harness should not be an arduous task. The harness is designed to have two leg loops, 1 waist loop, and a loop for the belay. All you must do is put your legs in the harness’ leg loops, pull the harness to your waist, and then tighten the straps. A perfect illustration of how to do this is how you put on your pants.
The belay will be attached to the loop that is in front, so ensure you wear the harness with this loop facing the front. You could watch this video if you need a visual representation of the instructions.
Wearing the harness for the first time may feel a bit weird (you may feel like you are wearing a diaper). But after walking around for a while, you may not even remember you have them on.
Wearing climbing shoes may even feel weirder than wearing the harness. The shoes may feel too small. While this may be uncomfortable, it should not be too uncomfortable that it becomes painful.
The shoes are supposed to be as snug as possible, so the climber feels the wall when they climb. This would typically help them grip the holds better.
You can put on socks with the shoes when you start climbing. But as you become better, your climbs would get more advanced, and the footholds would become thinner. In this case, the contact your foot has with the shoes becomes important. Therefore, you may need to ditch the socks.
The chalk is also especially important for first timers. It helps to keep moisture on the hand at bay and would also help you maintain a good grip on the handholds. While chalk can be underutilized, overusing it may be an issue as well.
3. The Technique
Unlike other activities or sports, you do not need to know the movement patterns before you start climbing. What you need to do would come to you intuitively as you look at the handholds. Your body would know just how to move. However, some persons often put the whole climbing in their arms while forgetting their legs. This is not right as the activity should be more on the feet.
When you climb, rather than planning your moves based on your hands, focus on your feet. Use your feet to walk your way upwards. When you do this, your leg muscles would be used, and you will not have to keep pulling up.
4. The Ropes
Now, you may choose bouldering, and you do not even need ropes for this. You would simply climb not too high and would have crash pads underneath you. However, for top rope, you need ropes, and you need to trust the ropes so you can comfortably climb. You have two options if this is what you choose. You may either have someone belay you or use an auto-belay.
When you have a person belaying you, the person will be down, and your harness rope will be clipped on the harness of the belayer. The belayer is meant to pull slacks to break the fall in case of a fall. You can visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belaying to learn more about belaying.
For the second option, the auto-belay (a device that is usually anchored on the wall) takes up slacks automatically while you climb. Once the climber wants to go down, the auto-belay catches the climber and slowly lowers them to the ground.
This option is recommended for first-time climbers. This is because the job is done automatically, so the climber can focus on climbing rather than checking to see whether the belayer is ready to break their fall or not.
Climbing gyms are popular now and a lot of people want to give them a try. While it may look easy when you look at others doing it, it might seem more complicated. In this article, we have discussed some of the basic things you need to know before you start climbing.