Explore: Reach for a New Workout WINTER/SPRING 2020

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Indoor rock climbing provides fun, full body fitness

You won’t hear anyone walking into Rise Up Climbing on Church Street complaining about how it’s “leg day” or instantly popping in their AirPods to tune out the rest of the world. That’s because rock climbing doesn’t feel like a workout, or a visit to a typical gym, at all. “[Rock climbing] tricks you into working out because you are trying to solve this problem, this [climbing]route and that’s what you are focused on,” explains General Manager Steven Baker.

Baker himself turned to rock climbing as a way to stay fit because he hated the gym atmosphere. At Rise Up, he has found a passion for this challenging activity—as well as plenty of friends along the way. “The climbing community is awesome because we are very social. Someone is always cheering you on,” he explains.
If you’ve always wanted to try rock climbing, what are you waiting for? With cooler temperatures putting a damper on many outdoor activities, now is the perfect time to explore Rise Up’s incredible indoor facility.

Getting Started

Rise Up offers day passes for anyone who is interested in giving rock climbing a try. (There are memberships for those who want to make it a part of their consistent workout routine.)

Don’t be intimidated once you walk in. You will be ready to climb in under 30 minutes, which includes a short orientation that tells you everything you need to know. Your pass includes a harness; climbing shoe rentals are available as well and you can purchase chalk for your hands.

According to Baker, beginners are not only welcome at Rise Up, there are routes created specifically for these new climbers. “We cater to first timers so we have routes that are similar to climbing up a ladder,” he says. “On beginner routes, every hold is enormous and is easy to hold on to.”

The Workout

Once you begin your climb, you’ll start feeling the burn—and not just in your arms, which is what many people assume. “It’s largely your legs that do the work, your core, your back. The way that we design the routes, we’re almost like a choreographer is with dance. We are trying to force you into different movements so you are working different parts of the body,” says Baker.

Generally, Baker says a climbing session lasts between 1.5 and 3 hours. You won’t be moving the entire time. “There is a decent amount of resting involved in rock climbing. You will really push yourself and then you give your body a good five or 10 minutes of rest,” he says.

Once you finish climbing, you will be “wiped,” according to Baker. And also expect some soreness the next day. “Generally, people will use muscles they never would otherwise,” he explains. “Even some small muscles in the feet!”

Become a Regular

With 60 different 40-foot rope climbs and up to 100 different boulder problems, you will not get bored on a return visit to Rise Up Climbing. Proof of that—roughly 60 percent of Rise Up’s revenue comes from memberships.

Baker says about half of their climbers use it as their sole form of exercise. Others like to climb as a form of cross training. “We have CrossFit people who do it. Runners who do it. It’s good for those people because you can determine how intense you want your workout to be. If you need it to be an easy day, for example,” he says.

Another group that can benefit from rock climbing are those who are getting their strength back after an injury. Rock climbing is low impact. “You are only pulling up your own body weight and it’s assisted by your legs,” Baker says.

A Step Further

Rise Up offers plenty of classes for all ages and skill levels that will help you improve your technique and, ultimately, your workout.

And for those wanting to take their rock climbing skills from Rise Up to the real thing, the gym is now partnering with Blue Ridge Mountain Guides to offer classes for people who want to transition to outdoor rock climbing.

Learn more about Rise Up Climbing, memberships, classes and more at www.riseupclimbing.com.

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