Students learn about the physical fitness involved in rock climbing, with an emphasis on anatomy, nutrition, and exercise.
The first climbing wall was invented in Great Britain in 1964 by Don Robinson, a physical education professor. Today, climbing walls are growing in popularity, especially in urban areas because climbing walls provide an opportunity for “rock climbing” without having access to actual outdoor rocks and mountains. Some climbers, though, prefer the steep outdoor crags and challenging overhangs of mountain rocks or boulders. Whether climbing a rock wall or the real thing, climbers use the same muscles and get the same grueling workout.
BEFORE YOU GO• Review relevant vocabulary and key terms: endurance, conditioning, flexibility, incline
• Call ahead and inquire about information that can be shared with the class about the rock wall or mountain they’ll be climbing.
WHAT TO WONDERQuestions to ask staff: What muscles are being used during different parts of the climb? What organs are being used?
Describe the mountain or wall. What do the crags and cliffs look like?
Observe your body as you climb. Pay close attention to your limbs and muscles.
Opinion: Climbers need many physical skills such as strength, balance, flexibility, endurance, etc. Which one of these do you think is the most important to a rock climber? Why?
Compare rock climbing on a mountain to rock climbing on a wall.
Challenge: Based on the skills that a climber needs, determine the best foods for climbers to eat before a climb.
Discuss how changing the variables (degree of the incline, length of the climb) involved in climbing can affect a climber’s muscles.
Project: Create a diagram of the inside of the human body and label the muscles in the body used most during rock climbing.
Research the different strategies for rock climbing and the types of conditioning exercises climbers can use.
Social Impact: Rock climbing can have a negative environmental impact on the vegetation and ecosystem of a mountain. Research what efforts are being done to eradicate these problems and prevent them from continuing to happen.