Steve Tries Rock Climbing

Screen shot 2009-11-12 at 11.54.36 PM(Published November 2009)

I went rock climbing at Atlanta Rocks!, and figured today would be a great day to write about it.

Many of you guys are also readers of the Art of Manliness; what’s more epic that scaling a cliff side using nothing but your own two hands?  It’s an elite test of strength, a GREAT way to build your back, biceps, and forearms, and it works your core like crazy.

Moral of the story: seasoned climbers are absolutely ripped.

Secondly, and this is something I never realized until I actually tried climbing: it’s like puzzle solving! You need to plan your route ahead of time, think of every possible scenario, and then stick to plan A or move onto plan B when necessary.

Oh, and you have to make these decisions while hanging by your fingertips.  Doesn’t get much more Nerd Fitness than that!

My Climbing Experience

This past Friday, I went to Atlanta Rocks!, an indoor climbing gym here in Atlanta, with my friends Jordan and Chris. 

These two idiots (and I mean that in the nicest way possible) have been climbing for a few months and invited me to join them for an afternoon of awesomeness.  I had only been climbing once before on a company outing, but I hoped my general overall level of fitness and constant desire to not suck would get me through the adventure without looking like a complete ass:


Steve Tries Rock Climbing

All in all, it was a great experience. I initially spent my first 30 minutes trying to climb completely with my entire upper body and attack each route with brute force.  Climb FAIL.  After Jordan and Chris taught me to climb using my legs and my brain, I kept my body close to the wall, moving my lower body before reaching with my arms.  This allowed me to conserve energy, actually plan out my routes, and get my ass up the wall far more successfully.

For me, the most appealing aspect of climbing was the rating system. Each route has a particular rating based on how difficult it is.  Atlanta Rocks! has approximately 50 top-rope stations, averaging three climbing routes per rope with difficulty levels ranging from beginner (5.4) through advanced (5.13).  I spent most of my afternoon on 5.7 routes (and one 5.8 I think) and I left the gym both exhausted and excited.  The next day my arms, back, and forearms were extremely sore.  Some of those two-finger holds were brutal, but I was JUST close enough to know that I could pull them off with enough practice.  Damn you, ambition.

Although it’s a pipe dream, I’m still holding onto hope that one day I could make it onto Ninja Warrior (the greatest TV show you’re not watching), a competition that requires incredible hand, arm, and back strength and endurance.  I can’t think of a better way to work these muscles than to constantly climb higher and more difficult routes.

In the meantime, I might look into picking up a hanging board to get ready for Ninja Warrior’s Cliffhanger…just in case I ever make it on.

Why YOU Should Give It a Shot

Screen shot 2009-11-13 at 12.10.08 AM

Successfully completing a climb is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world, especially after failing numerous times.  Jordan and Chris told me about routes that they failed on for weeks before finally making it all the way up.  How great do you think they felt when they hit the top and could move onto the next challenge?

What if you’re a big guy/girl? Give it a shot! These climbing gyms are designed for people of all sizes and levels of fitness. Don’t underestimate yourself: even if you can’t do a single pull up, this is a great way to build up your back and arm strength until you CAN do one.  You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish when the finish line is just a few feet above you.

How to Get Started

Want to give it a shot?  For starters, search for an indoor climbing gym in your area, and give them a call to get more info.  You’ll have to go through a belay-instruction class if you’re interested in learning how to tie proper knots and belay (be the guy at the other end of the rope, pulling and supporting the climber).  If you’re completely new to climbing, I’d recommend grabbing a buddy and taking a training class together.  That way, you have somebody to belay for you and vice versa.

Overall, I found the prices to be very reasonable. My afternoon for a few hours of climbing cost me $15 for the gym time, $4 for a pair of shoes, and $3 for a harness.  Much cheaper than a night of drinking at a bar, and you wake up feeling WAY better the next day.  Plus, you’ll probably meet cuter girls at the climbing gym who already share your interests – just my opinion.

Incredible Climbing Video

Okay, so after watching my stupid video of climbing indoors, here’s a video of Chris Sharma – this guy will rock your face off:


Chris Sharma Climbing Video

What Else Should Steve Do?

During the winter months, it’s difficult to stay motivated due to the terrible weather, so I want to try some different ways to get my heart racing.  I’ve gone rock climbing, I’ve tried Crossfit, tomorrow I’m running a 5k (in my Vibram Five Fingers!).

What else do you want me to try out? I don’t care what it is, just try to find stuff that’s cheaper than 20 bucks.  Oh, and it can’t kill me either.  I’ll pick each activity, film my experiences while I’m there, and then write about it.

Get creative!

-Steve

###

picture from Ground.Zero, Les Sales

Get The Rebel Starter Kit

Enter your email and we’ll send it right over.

  • The 15 mistakes you don’t want to make.
  • The most effective diet and why it works.
  • Complete your first workout today, no gym required.
  • These are the tools you need to start your quest.
Woman
Man
  • I have a friend who started rock climbing a few years ago. He went from scrawny to being absolutely ripped. Guy looks like Spiderman. Now he works in a rock climbing gym store and gets paid to climb new places on weekends, doing independent photo shoots.

  • JFreedom

    You should go to a local gymnist center and take a few lessons. All great ninja warriors can perform backflips — you should learn how to do a standing flip this year 🙂

    Parkour!

  • NerdFitness

    hey Greg,

    My friends are already in much better shape now compared to a few months back. I love it because they're getting in shape to climb better, and as a side effect they're losing weight and building muscle. Not a bad side effect.

    -Steve

  • NerdFitness

    Ha, I need to find a Ninja training center. I imagine there are quite a few of them in the greater Atlanta area.

    -NF Steve

  • courtneylima

    Steve…you're a legend. I have been following this website for the past few weeks and finally figure out today how to post something. Anyways, I'm going to make Em come rocking climbing with me !! This website is unreal.

    P.S thinking about running the Boston Marathon this April, any suggestions.

    Lima!!

  • JFreedom

    I found the last attempt at climbing by an out-of-shape person 🙂

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIwTYL1fwJk

  • Anne

    Atlanta Parkour:
    http://www.americanparkour.com/smf/index.php?bo
    http://overflux.com/news.php
    Hope it helps. I'm a traceuse from Tx, thinking about getting into rock climbing, too!

  • NerdFitness

    Definitely gonna look into that, thanks Anne!

    -NF Steve

  • You should check to see if there is an ultimate frisbee winter league in your area. I dont know your personal feelings about ultimate frisbee, Lots of people josh it for being a hippie-college type game but it has really blossomed into a legitimate sport in some places. Might be worth checking out, might not.

  • nina

    I want to try that next! I've always wanted to take use of my gigantic kickboxing apparatus at my house, but i get bored fast. any moves you have to offer? It's not a sport to try, but what about those new Reebok shoes that say they will tone your legs and butt while wearing them? Any opinion on it?

  • bossymommy

    Rock climbing…even the indoor walls…scares the ever loving crap out of me. That's all I have to say about that. I'm a sissy.

  • JFreedom

    I play club ultimate (played in Nationals a few weeks ago) and in some of the intramural leagues here in Atlanta.. but I can't stand it in the winter 😛 My hands get way too cold!

  • NerdFitness

    Hey Suzie, good call. I actually lived with a bunch of Ultimate players in college, and I never once went out to practice. Something about the concept of throwing a frisbee and making in competitive didn't sit right with me. Of course, now that I'm out of college and I have no other competitive outlet, frisbee might be just the thing.

    I'm trying to convince my friends (Joe included) to start a full team here in ATL and I'd join them. Won't be until the spring though.

    -Steve

  • May

    Kettlebells Steve. Do it. And there is a class really close to the office where you can actually learn how to do it with proper form (unlike Crossfit) I'm not even a huge fan of swinging around heavy objects but this makes you feel like a total badass and will work muscles you didn't even know you had.

  • NerdFitness

    Hey Suzie, good call. I actually lived with a bunch of Ultimate players in college, and I never once went out to practice. Something about the concept of throwing a frisbee and making in competitive didn't sit right with me. Of course, now that I'm out of college and I have no other competitive outlet, frisbee might be just the thing.

    I'm trying to convince my friends (Joe included) to start a full team here in ATL and I'd join them. Won't be until the spring though.

    -Steve

  • May

    Kettlebells Steve. Do it. And there is a class really close to the office where you can actually learn how to do it with proper form (unlike Crossfit) I'm not even a huge fan of swinging around heavy objects but this makes you feel like a total badass and will work muscles you didn't even know you had.

  • Pingback: 5 Life Lessons Learned From The Karate Kid | Nerd Fitness()

  • Pingback: Win a Free Copy of The Rebel Fitness Guide! | Nerd Fitness()

  • Pingback: Train Like A Secret Agent: Becoming Bond and Bourne | Nerd Fitness()

  • Have you ever heard of British climber John ‘weighs nearly a tonne’ Dunne? He’s not quite deserving of that nickname any more, but he basically used to be a 250lb (and it wasn’t all muscle) climber who did all kinds of routes, dude’s a legend!

  • Pingback: How to Meet People Through Fitness | Nerd Fitness()

  • Brittany

    Three years later, but whatever! I am a chick climber, and one of my favorite activities is crushing the souls of the meatheads who come in with their big arms and try to pull themselves up everything. (I am really not terrible – if their souls are crushed by younger, smaller, scrawnier, girlier folks, then climbing is not for them. You forgot to mention the best part of climbing – everyone supports each other!) I had a really bad day climbing outside in beautiful RedRock, and hit the gym to get in a good session. This super buff guy was falling off of a wall with three 45* roof sections (where the wall juts out at a 45* angle and you have to pull yourself out and over it). My partner goes over to see if we can jump on it while he’s resting (my partner’s exact words were “she wants to try it – you inspired her”) which caused the guy to, no joke, flex his monstrous arms at me and tell me to go for it. I proceeded to do the route beautifully – BEAUTIFULLY – my feet falling off the wall and out into space on one of the roof sections, only to use my abs to pull them back up and onto the wall. Buffdude’s partner was like “see, see how she’s using her legs? That is where you fell.” For the record, I cannot do a single pull up, but my booty can do a lot!

  • Rob Hodge

    If you are going to do Muay Thai in Atlanta, look for Francis Fong or Eddie Camden’s Tiger Academy. Also, there’s a guy named Sule Welch that I believe does Capoeira… DOIT!

  • Christian

    I’ve been climbing for 14 years and I weigh just over 320 pounds. It can be done. For those of you aware of ratings I’m a solid 5.10+ climber, I occasionally hit the 11’s

  • liz

    I have never been climbing. I’m morbidly obese female (5’2, 207lbs, with large very muscular legs, all my extra weight is above) in fair shape (I currently do 10-20 mile bike rides in 1-3hrs on large hills with a gearless bike in 95* 85% humidity weather, and can definitely go at least if not faster and for longer than the “in shape,” normal weight folks here). Biking is getting a bit mundane and also only builds my leg strength, which is really good already. I am interested in climbing and have no access to a training gym (am in Central America). Do you think its worth it to try on real rocks as a first thing? Being that I have no arm strength, is it fruitless (and no gym here to increase that), or does climbing help build arm strength even if you are coming from having none? Meaning, will I even be able to climb or am I just going to feel like a miserable failure when I cant pull myself up even a few feet? Thanks for the input!

  • jim

    Just give it a shot!!!

  • ClimberManda

    I was actually pretty insulted by the title of your piece since I consider myself a pretty decent climber and, amazingly enough, I also just so happen to be overweight (about 40lbs or so). I commend you for your fitness but feel you fail to see rock climbing as inclusive of those who are not in perfect shape as a means to obtain their fitness goals. I am however fit and train pretty hard both at the climbing gym and climbing outdoors, but I am still overweight by quite a bit. Not everyone is born perfect and I was born with a broken stomach. I was morbidly obese and once my stomach was repaired I began exercising and eating healthier and lost 130lbs, I’m still 40lbs overweight, but I guarantee I am healthier and more fit than 90% of my friends, who are average size. I feel your comments about all climbers being in perfect shape is a false observation based on a lone experience by a person who is obviously very inexperienced as a rock climber. Climbers come in different shapes and sizes and aren’t always what you imagine and I’m sure if you spend enough time at your local climbing gym, as I do, you will come to realize just how wrong and offensive your article is to those of us who truly love the sport. Maybe rethink this article and do a little more real research before you write something like this next time, or rethink your title to not be so ignorant sounding.

  • Pingback: roofing contractor()

  • Pingback: gvk biosciences()

  • Pingback: In vitro pharmacology()

  • Pingback: visit the website()

  • Pingback: Corporate Event Managers in Hyderabad()

  • Pingback: agen poker terpercaya()

  • Pingback: from this source()

  • Pingback: DMPK Labs()

  • Pingback: cpns 2018()