Ask Men’s Fitness: Is Indoor Rock Climbing a Good Workout?


“Indoor climbing is a great full-body workout for both strength and cardio,” says 5.14 (extreme-grade) climber Seth Lytton of

“You’ll work your shoulders—especially your delts—and build your bi’s and tri’s; plus, complex climbing movements use both the arms and legs, and that triggers your core.”

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Hitting an indoor wall is also the best way to get ready to climb outdoors, Lytton says. If that’s your goal, he suggests following these three steps.


1) Build a climber’s body

Hit the wall at least two or three days a week, Lytton advises, and have a goal each time, like climbing more routes or tougher grades—the cardio will pay off outside.

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2. Find a mentor

“Don’t just let your buddy who’s been climbing for a year take you out and show you the ropes,” says Lytton (pun intended). “Climb with someone who’s been doing it for a long time, so you learn good habits.”

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3. Learn the tech

Practice essential climbing skills, like belaying (securing a rope), tying into a rope, and checking your partner’s knot. Most gyms offer classes for learners. When spring comes, you’ll be ready to get the f*&k out and climb some big damn rocks.

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