Exercise! - Plus size rock climbing?

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08-15-2011, 10:51 AM
So there is a groupon right now at a local indoor rock climbing facility for a beginner class. I've wanted to try rock climbing for a really long time but I'm a bit nervous about my size.

Has anyone done this while plus size?

I'm sure my weight will be okay, because a tall, muscular dude could weigh 235. But will they have harnesses big enough for a plus-size 16/18?

08-15-2011, 10:59 AM
I feel sure they will. Many harnesses are adjustable, and I have one that adjusts big enough to fit me. Most likely a place like that will use adjustable harnesses.

ETA: I didn't see your first question. Most of my rock climbing experience was when I was young and not especially overweight. I got the adjustable harness when I was getting fatter, but nowhere near the size I am now. I realized it still fit for some tree climbing I was doing. The only indoor rock climbing I've done was at a wall at an outdoor store. Most of my experience was with the real thing. In that narrow range of comparison, I'll say the indoor is tough on the arms. A lot of what I'd done was non-vertical. The holds were less obvious and maybe harder than what you'll find on an indoor wall, but there's more opportunity to use your legs, even if they're only perched on a 1/2" lip. When it's vertical, there's only so close you can get to the wall, especially if you're overweight, so you end up having to use your arms a lot more.

08-15-2011, 01:08 PM
Thanks. I posted the deal on facebook to see if any of my friends will join me. If no one bites, maybe I can rope my family into going with me for my birthday. The place has multiple levels, so I'm hoping theres an area that's not 100% vertical. Outdoor rock climbing is so impressive to me. I had some roommates in Australia who were avid rock climbers and I went to watch a few times. I have no idea how they manage with those tiny holds.

08-15-2011, 01:36 PM
Can you call them and ask? I'd think the biggest issue would be your lower body strength. Do you think your legs are strong enough to carry you up and down a wall?

I'm dying to take up rock climbing. The college where I work has an amazing wall but I've been too fat and out of shape to use it since it was first built. Developing the lower body strength to start climbing has been one of my motivations at the gym. :) I think it's probably about time to set up a lesson!

08-15-2011, 02:11 PM
I'm much more concerned about upper body. My legs are very strong, my arms are pathetic.

We had a rock climbing wall at the rec center at my University as well, but I was always too afraid to use it. It wasn't very popular, so when someone was on it, lots of people stopped to watch.

08-15-2011, 02:28 PM
It depends on the kind of harness, when we did rock climbing at school, the 'harness' was just one long piece of cord that was tied around our waist and around each leg in a special way, which allows for any size of person to use it. If they have harnesses that are of a fixed 'size' you might want to call ahead.

Other than that, if they have people belaying you (standing on the ground holding the other end of the rope you're attached to in order to give or cut slack) they might just need to plan to have a bigger person or more than one person on belay so that they can lower you down when you've gotten to the top!

08-17-2011, 03:45 AM
I'd think the biggest issue would be your lower body strength. Do you think your legs are strong enough to carry you up and down a wall?... Developing the lower body strength to start climbing has been one of my motivations at the gym.

If you have enough lower body strength to stand, you have enough lower body strength to climb up a wall :) :). Rock climbing is way more about upper body strength. (Think about climbing stairs versus doing a pull-up. Most of us are way more equipped for the former rather than the latter!)

The only issue would be, as someone earlier mentioned, the belayer. The harness should be big enough, but you do want to make sure they have a belayer heavier than you who can belay you down. Lighter belayers can belay heavier belayers, but the problem happens when a heavier climber falls of suddenly, putting a lot of weight on the belayer. This can cause the belayer to be temporarily lifted off the ground and puts unnecessary stress on the rope.

So I would just ask the gym the weight limits. You should be fine, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

I used to be a competitive climber so feel free to ask any questions if you have them :). Have a GREAT time!!!