Am I too Heavy for Rock Climbing? Do I Weigh Too Much?

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Everyone knows – you don’t do any sport for a while and the pounds multiply by themselves. But you can still go climbing! You don’t have to be super fit and well trained to climb. As long as you get up a ladder, you can climb!

During training in the climbing gym, I regularly see chubby people working on their climbing skills. And by the way, climbing is a lot of fun for them, because every time they climb a climbing route they get a feeling of success.

Sure, climbing is basically about defeating gravity. But a little more ballast doesn’t ruin the fun of climbing.

Read on to get some tips for climbing with extra kilos.

Just Get Started!

There are many excuses not to start with something and with sports, the list of excuses is particularly long. To convince yourself that you are not suitable, or in this case too heavy, is at least among the Top 10.

Before you think long and hard about it, just give it a try! You better think about how best to start. In a climbing gym? Right on the rock face? Bouldering or with a rope? How to get started is described in detail in this article:

How To Get Into Rock Climbing? Getting Started – FAQ

Climbing Burns Calories

Since climbing works the whole body, you burn quite a few calories. On average, however, at 400-500 kcal/h it is not quite as much as when jogging for example (approx. 600-800 kcal/h).

Check out this article to see the number of calories burned:

How many Calories does Rock Climbing Burn? Numbers & Tips

When climbing in the great outdoors, however, the path to the climbing route and back again would then be added. And hiking also burns a lot of calories. So solve the problem directly and start climbing. You’ll notice the pounds you’re losing very quickly. You’re not only getting stronger with time, you’re getting lighter. This gives beginners with extra pounds a kickstart and they will see results twice as fast!

Avoid this Beginner’s Mistake: Use your Legs

A very common beginner’s mistake when climbing is the focus on the upper body. Many people think at the beginning that climbing is all about pulling up. That’s really wrong. Actually, the arms are mainly there so you don’t fall down the mountain. You should hold on with your arms and hands and press up with your legs.

Of course, this only works up to a certain point, since you will also climb on overhangs at some point and especially there strong arms and fingers are actually required. But not at the beginning – many are surprised at the beginning that after the first times climbing they have sore legs.

It is even more important to use your legs if you bring more weight with you. Your legs are used to holding you and pushing you up, your arms and your back not.

Don’t hurt yourself!

The more weight you bring with you, the more strain is placed on your body when climbing. And at first, your muscles, joints and tendons aren’t used to holding you.

Start slowly and choose easy routes, even if you think you could climb more difficult ones. First, you have to practice the basic movements and program them into your muscle memory.

As soon as you feel pain in joints or tendons, let yourself down or climb back down slowly. If possible, remember which movement led to it and avoid it in the future. If the pain is caused by normal movements, you should slow down a bit because you have overloaded yourself.

You can avoid injuries while climbing very well with stretching and general by increasing your flexibility. You can do everything from simple stretching exercises to yoga.

Take a Course

It is always advisable to attend a professional climbing course at the beginning of your climbing career. There you will learn the basics and how to belay.

Many beginners are put off just by the fact that you should do a climbing course and think that climbing is super complicated and dangerous. But it’s not. There are courses only because there are some very few but all the more important things to know before climbing up a mountain or climbing wall with a climbing rope.

Weight Difference to Climbing Partner

Special device for big weight differences: Edelrid Ohm*

Heavy people often ask themselves the following question before climbing: Am I too heavy for my climbing partner? –> Climbing Weight Difference: How to Belay a Heavier Climber

With toprope climbing, the climbing rope goes up from the climber, is deflected via a pulley and then goes back down to the climbing partner who secures the climber with it. This arrangement functions as a pulley. That means you can hold more than your own weight. In many climbing gyms, there are also systems in which the climbing rope is guided over several rolls, which makes the effect even greater and makes it really no longer a problem to have a heavier climbing partner.

However, if it is only a simple pulley, the lighter belayer will take off when the climber falls with a large weight difference. After some practice, however, this is no longer a problem. To be sure, in some climbing gyms you can also fix yourself to the ground or wear weight vests to make up for the difference. In modern climbing gyms, there are even systems that function like a safety belt in a car. They automatically slow down the climbing rope when you fall.

It is also a good idea to practice a fall beforehand. If you have never belayed a heavy climber and then take off when catching the fall, you must not panic and let up the climbing rope.

Practice a fall with your climbing partner from a height of about 5 m (lower and you could hit the ground, higher and a mistake could have serious consequences) until you both feel safe.

Especially with toprope climbing, it is no problem at all to have a weight difference. It only becomes interesting during lead climbing. But even there I have seen petite women catch their heavy men without difficulty.


Climbing seems to be obsessed with saving weight everywhere. You only ever see the pros on posters or in videos, climbing the most insane slopes with apparently 0% fat on their bodies and as little clothing as possible.

It is not necessary to pay so much attention to your weight. Of course, if you are serious about climbing and want to be among the best, it makes sense to save weight.

But if you’re just starting out, you don’t have to worry so much about your weight. Just start, practice your technique and the rest will come of its own accord!

Attention: You have to take care of your safety when climbing! The information on only helps you to learn. Before you climb, you should make sure that you have been properly instructed by an expert and that you follow all safety precautions.

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