It’s a well known fact that if you always train the same way, your body gets used to it and your results will plateau. This is why I’m always on the lookout for different ways to mix up my training.
In addition to Muay Thai and boxing, I’ve recently been trying new things to increase my strength and shock my body. I tried Jiu-Jitsu a few weeks back, and yesterday I went indoor rock climbing.
As I am in Perth at the moment, I went to The Hangout in Bayswater. It didn’t take long for me to realise that rock climbing is an incredibly challenging sport. Whether you’re doing it for real on a mountain outdoors or at an indoor rock climbing gym, you will get a full body workout.
It’s also mentally challenging. Apart from the fear of falling, there is also a problem solving element. You have to decide where to place your hands and feet every step of the way. If you fail to take a strategic approach, you will most likely find yourself stuck with nothing to grab onto and nowhere to go.
Climbing, strength and conditioning
As you climb, your muscles are pretty much tensed at all times to hold yourself up against the rock or wall surface. However, you also need to remain relaxed so that you can think clearly and manoeuvre yourself with ease. It can be hard to find this balance. This is similar to fighting where you need to be able to remain strong in your stance, yet relaxed to allow for fluidity of movement. In both sports, you will tire very quickly if you’re too stiff.
After climbing for about an hour, it was clear that the activity will help you develop the following:
- Forearm, grip and wrist strength. My wrists and fingers were the first thing to tire from hanging off the holds to support the majority of my weight.
- Neck strength. This will develop as you’re constantly looking around to determine your next move. A strong neck is essential when clinching in Muay Thai.
- General upper body strength. As you would imagine, your upper body has to remain engaged at all times.
- Core and leg strength. These muscles are still working to maintain your balance and to keep you close to the wall.
Looking at the strength and mental benefits of rock climbing, I think it’s a useful cross-training activity for Muay Thai. If you want to try it out, an indoor rock climbing centre is a good place to start.