5 Awesome Ways Rock Climbing Helps You Become A Better Martial Artist
While being an avid mountain climber or rock climbing enthusiast will help accomplish that objective from a literal standpoint, those activities can also help you to feel on top of the world both physically and psychologically.
So whether it is voyaging to the top of the Himalayas or ascending up the climb wall at a gym, it results in a powerful feeling looking at the world from above. And while winning a martial arts tournament or even being able to wear ONE Championship gold can help you to feel the same way, there are lots of benefits martial artists could reap from rock climbing.
Here are five of them.
#1 It Enhances Cardio While Adding Muscle
Quite arguably the best aspect to rock climbing is the fact it enhances cardiovascular fitness and develops stamina, all while adding muscle to the physique. As the upper body climbs and pulls the body up, the legs and core are constantly looking to maintain balance, while also advancing upwards. The body is being worked non-stop and remains on high alert.
A professional fighter will certainly benefit from the muscle added to every body part — from the calves, quadriceps and stomach, to the shoulders, chest and arms. But on top of all that, they will reap rewards in terms of endurance, as they are used to exerting their body for up to 25 minutes inside the cage. That can only further aid them in their fight night quests.
#2 It Burns Calories
Because the muscles are engaged the entire time, this is a complete full body workout. With the body constantly working and staying active, a ton of calories will be burned. Ok, so maybe not a ton in the literal sense, but anywhere from 500 calories up to the tune of 900 could be burned per hour.
While martial artists are particular about their dieting and exercise needs to make fight weight, this could be a fun activity for fighters to incorporate during their cut. Not only would it help distract them from the monotonous rigors, but it would serve a dual purpose as a form of leisure in their spare time.
#3 It Helps You Make Smarter Decisions
It will not give you any Jedi mind tricks (we think), but rock climbing will certainly serve the mind well. This activity requires navigating up the rocky terrain, scaling cliffs, and identifying routes along the climb. As a result, problem-solving and decision-making skills are put to the test, and being able to react quickly and intelligently will vastly improve those skills.
Problem-solving and decision-making are key components to a fighter’s success, and building upon those aspects could be critical. Martial artists always work out the body, but the mind needs exercise, too. By flexing those mental muscles, it could lead mixed martial artists to better pre-fight planning and even enable them to adjust their strategy on the fly mid-fight.
#4 It Leads To Better Balance & Coordination
With all of the terrain’s bumps and footholds, climbers will need their eyes, hands, and upper body to work in unison as they ascend to the top, as well as their legs to move and provide support. That hand-eye coordination is crucial to escalating up the rocky wall, and a strong sense of balance will be needed to maintain, and improve, one’s positioning.
Balance and coordination helps in all aspects of life, but that agility translates over beautifully to martial artists as they can be smoother in their movements and more effective when attacking their opponents. It will serve beneficial in all areas of combat, be it on the feet, in the clinch, or on the ground.
#5 It Builds Self-confidence
Trekking high up into the atmosphere, whether it is on a climb wall or a hill, is intimidating. One wrong move could lead to injury. But being able to physically push the body to new heights until reaching the summit will instill a new sense of confidence and personal achievement.
Professional fighters are always talking about climbing the metaphorical mountain and being at the top of their division. Standing tall on the top of a climb wall or a mountain will not only represent succeeding at the highest level, but also achieving a specific goal. It will boost confidence to new heights, especially since it could be overcoming a fear, and it will further provide a euphoric feeling of being on top of the world.
Images: Mark Teo
Venue: Kinetics Climbing