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Why Choose a Climbing Gym Over a Regular Gym?

Updated: Apr 28

Why choose a climbing gym over a regular gym

So, you’re looking for a new workout spot and considering a climbing gym, but you’re not yet convinced. Sure, traditional gyms might offer all you need to build that muscle and flex your new gains around fellow gym rats, but a climbing gym offers so much more than just strength building–showing off is still optional.

No matter what, you will continue to gain strength as you rock climb more frequently, but that’s not all climbing gyms have to offer. Joining a climbing gym means you’ll make those gains while learning beneficial skills, training your brain with thrilling and challenging puzzles, and gaining a whole new community of fellow climbers!

Have Fun and Get Fit While Rock Climbing

First and foremost, why would you not want to work out by having a blast? One of the most significant differences between what you’ll get at a climbing gym versus a traditional gym is fun! While you might get those big endorphin rushes after several sets at your typical gym, let’s be honest; lifting heavy things repetitively can get old fast.

In climbing, not only can you try a new, different workout every session (try a new route every time, if that’s your style!) but you can even switch up the type of climbing you’re doing all together! Depending on your climbing gym, you’ll have the opportunity to try out different forms of climbing, like top rope, bouldering, and sport climbing. All these areas offer opportunities to discover new knowledge about climbing and learn new skills useful in and out of the gym.

Train that Brain!

If you’re trying to beat the gym-bro stereotype and balance out the body-to-brain workout ratio, climbing is a great two-in-one opportunity. Alongside challenging your body, climbing will challenge that noggin like you wouldn’t believe! You’re not just getting a physical workout but pushing your focus, problem-solving, and mental endurance skills. Every time you glance at a new move, you have to decide the best path of least resistance, all under crunch time, because you’re the only thing keeping you on that wall, and you can only hang on for so long.

The act of climbing is a vigorous workout as well– it builds trust in yourself, your body, and your physical and skill-specific capabilities. For many folks, climbing can be an outlet to tackle emotional experiences like trust, achieving a goal, tackling a fear, or pushing a mental or physical endurance block. Climbing is widely renowned for its incredible overall benefits, far outside the physical workout!

Skill Development

Part of what makes climbing such an interesting and exciting workout are the skills you learn while climbing. It doesn’t always take a class or much intention to learn new skills when you’re hitting the gym– you’re likely to encounter knots, belay systems, and specialized equipment the more you spend climbing. Even if you’re not climbing with ropes when bouldering, you’ll learn techniques around body movement, balance, falling, spotting, and how to conquer any fear as you launch through the air, not attached to anything!

When it comes to rope climbing, you’ll have ample opportunity to learn many valuable knots, rope system setups, checks, and skills like belaying and rappelling. If you continue to dive deeper into the sport, you’re likely to encounter more and more skill sets (everything from anchor building to reaching a stuck climber on the wall) and build an increasing interest in the vast world of climbing!

Besides hands-on skills, you’ll be exposed to interpersonal and team-building skills like communication, risk management, and trust building. These skills extend far past the gym's usefulness and impact, often fostering a unique sense of connection and community among climbers.

Climbing Gym Community

Joining a climbing gym has many built-in opportunities to cultivate friendships and community while getting your workout in. The sport doesn’t have to require significant interaction with others if that’s not your gym style, but climbing gyms are, surprise, full of other folks who like to climb! Whether taking turns with another climber on the same project and sharing tips, getting help from a gym staff member when you’re struggling on a route, or meeting other climbers looking for a gym buddy, you might stumble into new connections whether you intend to or not!

For those intentionally seeking that community aspect, climbing gyms offer teams, classes, and even group climbing times for those looking for others to climb with. These programs are great for improving your climbing and meeting folks who will help teach, learn with, and challenge you as you enter your exciting new climbing journey!

So, is it still really a question? Could a regular ol’ gym compete with all climbing has to offer? Check out your local climbing gyms to learn more about all you’re missing, and let us know what you think when you get on the wall!


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