Rock Your Body At Summit Climbing Gym.
Welcome to Body Movin', our recurring feature where, each week, we take a closer look at wherever you'll find health-minded folks jogging, crunching, lifting or otherwise moving their bodies in the name of fitness. Because, listen, we all need to get off of our ass from time to time. Hey: No pain, no gain. Check out this feature's archives here.
This week, we started from the bottom at Summit Climbing Gym.
Fast Facts on Summit.
• Degree of Difficulty Scale For Beginners: 9 out of 10.
• Calories Burned in an Hour: 500 to 900.
• Muscle Soreness After The Fact: 8 out of 10.
• Location: 9201 Forest Lane.
• Classes Offered: Abs class, Climb Fit, Climbing 101, Contact, Crank, Kids Club, Lead Climbing 101, Opposition, Seasonal Camps, Team Texas, and Yoga.
• Introductory Offer: $15 Climbing 101 on Saturday mornings.
• Price: $14/day, $20/day with gear, $50/month or $75 for five visits.
Summit is one of the few indoor rock climbing facilities that makes working out a lifestyle as opposed to just an hour-long event in your day. Not only do they offer open-climb hours all day long with multiple different classes and group activities, but Summit also offers yoga and abs classes at its facility as well, to help maintain balance, flexibility and strength.
Believe it or not, but yoga and climbing go hand-in-hand says lead fitness instructor, Ben Jensen.
“Yoga has been a part of Summit since we opened,” Jensen says. “Climbing involves a lot of flexibility, surprisingly enough. There are a lot of instances where you have to get your feet a lot higher than you've ever gotten your feet. There's a lot of awkward positions and movements that you kind of have to force your body to do, and yoga, while it doesn't necessarily get you in those positions, gets you used to the idea of doing things with your body that you didn't think you could do before, maintaining strength while staying flexible.”
And although it doesn't necessarily take strength to rock climb long vertical pitches in a harness, it does take skill, patience, focus and determination. In this climbing style, most of the strength required comes from your fingers and toes, which is not something one can actually train for. Tendons take much longer than muscles to develop physically, and until they do, you better believe you're going to be in some serious pain your first few months.
But once you overcome the worst blisters and muscle soreness, feeling the accomplishment of making it to the top of a climb is something you've never quite experienced anyplace else.
Summit offers open-climb sessions throughout the day for anyone looking to come practice. But if you're looking for some instruction — and a major calorie-burn — their Climb Fit class is rather unique.
It's a two-hour class run by Mario Stanley, one of Summit's decade-long climbers and instructors, who is there for you every step of the way. Not only will he give you a full rundown of everything you will need to know about beginner's climbing, but he will do it all in a very quick 10-minute lesson. Then he'll get you up and climbing before you have a moment to think about it, making a very intimidating feat seem more than possible. Better yet, he encourages you along the way.
Specifically, his Climb Fit class is designed to develop returning climbers, who come back each week to get a new assignment and get his personal help in accomplishing each new goal. After a 20-minute warm up, there is an hour-and-15-minute period of climbing instruction, followed by a half-hour workout filled with cardio and strength training, all of which is scheduled out by Stanley and local trainer, Audra Sadler.
At that point, if you're still feeling up for it, you can also hop over to Jensen's 24-minute abs class, which is filled with back-to-back movements designed to strengthen your core.
Explains Jensen: “Your core connects your hands to your feet, and that's what keeps you on the wall. It helps every single movement. I wanted to build a program that will be challenging but doable for all levels. It's more about staying engaged for a length of time instead of doing a certain amount of reps.”
This very friendly, personal and encouraging team makes beginning rock climbing much easier than it could be. Granted, starting a healthy habit is never easy, but if it's something that keeps you motivated to want to return back to in order to improve your skills and make it one rock higher than you did the last, it makes it worth it.
“Climbing, once you get into it, is less of a work out or an activity; it's a lifestyle change,” Jensen says. “We don't climb to workout, we climb to climb.”
And once you master your climbing skills indoors with Mario Stanley, you can plan to attend one of his outdoor trips with his newest venture, Highpoint Expeditions. Check out their upcoming events and vacations here, starting this month.
Overall, I'll give Summit an A.
Previous Body Movin' Grades:
• CorePower Yoga: A+.
• Exhale Spa: A+.
• Flywheel: A.
• KravMaga DFW: A.
• Indo Row at Crowbar Cardio: A-.
• Beyond 500: A-.
• Pure Barre: B+.
• Title Boxing Club: B+.
• Pole Class at Vertical Fitness: B.
• Bikram Yoga Dallas: B.
• Studio 22: B.
• East Dallas CrossFit: B-.
• City Surf Fitness: B-.
• The Gym of Social Mechanics: B-.
• El Centro Tai Chi: C.
• White Rock Paddle Co.: C.