Get Fit With A Home Climbing Wall

When you can’t get to the gym, and it’s too cold to go outside, there’s nothing more awesome than some at home climbing and bouldering.

I’ll be honest, when my friends at Modernizer first reached out to do a guest post for Flow Athletics, I didn’t see a good fit. After all, what does home decor have to do with living life in the flow state? But, when Jane proposed a post on building an indoor climbing wall, my interest was piqued. After all, what better way to pursue the flow state, than by bringing your favorite activity to your home? This article is a small introduction to building an at home climbing wall. Hopefully it’ll get some gears turning on how you can bring your favorite workouts into your home.

Post written by Jane Blanchard of Modernize.com


Many people are familiar with climbing walls, but not everybody knows that they can install one in their own home.

If you don’t know anything about building climbing walls, keeps reading to discover everything you need to know about putting a climbing wall into your home.

What’s A Climbing Wall?

For the uninitiated, a climbing wall is exactly what it sounds like. Think of it as an artificial rock face made to simulate rock climbing, but far safer. It can consist of materials such as plywood or fiberglass, and harder materials like steel and aluminum. There are even inflatable climbing walls and walls made of any number of other materials.

The wall typically consists of holes, which you can use to place holds securely. The wall itself usually has an uneven texture to simulate a rock wall. But that’s not always the case. This is all to simulate and encourage the sport of climbing.

Why Climb? Are There Benefits?

There are tremendous amounts of benefits to climbing. Not only is it an actual sport, it can also work as a leisurely exercise or a competitive one. In addition, it’s plain fun for all ages, which sounds like a cliché, but is absolutely true when it comes to climbing.

As an exercise, it can work wonders. It’s a cardiovascular exercise (cardio, aerobic), so it helps with many of the same things that a daily walk, jog, or swim help with. These include:

  • Lowering blood pressure and improving circulation
  • Strengthening the heart
  • Improving your respiratory functions
  • Promoting fat loss
  • Increased endurance
  • Improving metabolism
  • Reducing stress
  • Improving your mental state and mental capabilities

And that’s not even all the benefits that wall climbing offers. There’s also the increase in strength and muscle, especially core muscles. Really, you can get a full body workout just by climbing a wall.

Benefits for Kids

All the benefits that come with wall climbing for you are also relevant for children. Kids love to climb, so why not provide them a safe means to do it? Wall climbing builds confidence, mental dexterity, and strength in children.

For short walls, there’s no real worry about safety, just add some padding to the base on the floor, sometimes called a crash-pad. The climbing wall can even form a feature of a child’s room. For larger walls, you will need a belayer. This goes for both you and a child.

Kids Climbing Wall
Via Houzz

Why Put a Climbing Wall in Your Home?

There are many gyms and other places devoted to wall climbing. You can always go out, join a club or get a membership, and climb to your heart’s content. But many people like to bring these benefits home.

It’s no different from wanting an exercise bike or a treadmill in the basement. You may still go out to the gym, but you like having the gym at home when possible. Some people just don’t have access to a wall climbing gym or an outdoor wall climbing facility.

Since a climbing wall is literally just that, a wall, it won’t take up a lot of space or intrude in your day-to-day life. It’s an enhancement, not a hassle.

Climbing-Walls-Moon-Design
Via weburbanist.com

Climbing Wall Options

There are many options for adding a climbing wall to your home. There are do-it-yourself tutorials all over the Internet. But you may want to either purchase a preconstructed wall, or have a contractor do it for you if you’re not handy with a few tools.

First you need a space, practically anywhere will do. Many people like to use the basement or a garage for their indoor climbing wall. It’s possible to construct a freestanding outdoor climbing wall as well, but that defeats the purpose of having it indoors.

The DIY option usually involves using plywood. This is the most basic type of climbing wall. It’s sometimes referred to as a “woody.”

  • You start by framing a load-bearing wall
  • You take plywood, drill holes into it and place t-nuts
  • You mount the plywood, place bolts through the holes, and then you add holds
  • You can purchase holds, or you can drill a hole into just about anything sturdy

Building a climbing wall
Via instructables.com

These are, of course, oversimplified instructions. Also, they’re for the most basic of straight climbing walls.

A DIY project can go far beyond this if you have the time, tools, and inclination. It’s the cheapest option since all you need is some 2x4s for framing and plywood for the wall itself. The nuts and bolts don’t cost much and neither does a drill if you don’t already have one. It can be a fun weekend project with friends, or you can do it alone.

More advanced walls do require help and the expense will grow as you will need to use more specialized equipment, more tools, and different types of materials. This is if you want textured and irregular walls.

Involving a professional can help you do a lot more with your indoor climbing wall. This is especially true if you’re willing to go a custom route rather than using a wall you have available. There’s literally an unlimited amount of configurations, options, designs, and ways to implement a climbing wall in your home.

Things to Remember

There are techniques, styles, and even climbing equipment that you can utilize as you practice and become more advanced. But it’s important to remember that indoor climbing is not the same as outdoor climbing. And neither is the same as natural rock climbing. So show care and learn the ropes before you try to transition from indoor to anything else.

Give a Climbing Wall a Try

A climbing wall can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. The only real constraints are your available space and your budget. But as stated, even a very basic plywood climbing wall can fit virtually anybody’s budget. So if you want to add one, then there’s nothing stopping you.

A climbing wall represents a fun activity with benefits that can help you stay in shape and give your children something beneficial to do. If you don’t know where to start, you can always contact a professional. There are many tutorials, contractors, and climbing wall specific contractors that can point you in the right direction.

To learn more, please visit Modernize.com.


Did you find this post from Jane helpful? Would you like to see more guest posts? Let me know in the comments.

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5 Responses to Get Fit With A Home Climbing Wall

  1. Markos J.K. March 23, 2015 at 4:14 pm #

    Gene,

    Wow, thank you for such an inspiring read on making climbing a more accessible endeavor for people.

    I was first introduced to rock climbing through childhood parties and whatnot, but I didn’t get my first taste of the genuine activity until last year. My cousin had taken me and some other cousins to go to a rock climbing gym she had joined and truly loved being a part of.

    Since I had been immersing myself into calisthenic training for some time prior to this experience, I thought this would be a rather easy challenge. Boy, was I wrong!

    From hurting hands to dead-weight forearms, climbing tested me physically in a way that I had never experienced before. More importantly to me, it tested me my creativity and how in sync my creativity was with my body.

    After having pursued multiple movement disciplines within that past year (from calisthenics, to gymnastics, to dance, to parkour) I remembered my experience with climbing (bouldering to be exact) and decided to see if there were any nearby gyms to join.

    About a year later, the same gym had opened a new facility far closer to me that the one my cousin joined, and so I decided to see if this facility would give me the same challenges I experienced that very first time.

    To conclude, I joined the gym (Gravity Vault, really friendly, clean, and challenging) about 2 months ago and have been climbing at least 2 times a week ever since. It’s such an addicting way to move, because it challenged both your creativity and physical capability to their extremes to solve problems.

    I relate to a standard open-ended problem on a test. The route that is set is the question, the answer is located at the end of the route, your creativity is how you work out the solution, and your body is the tool you use to write down your answer.

    Don’t get me wrong, rock climbing is far more useful, challenging, and rewarding than standardized testing, I can guarantee that!

    I didn’t realize in-home walls even existed until this article, so you can be sure that my future home will be including one of these babies!

    Thank again for that fantastic article, and I look forward to reading more.

    Infinite gratitude,
    Markos J.K.
    Warrior-in-chief of http://foryourliberation.com

    • Gene Kobilansky March 24, 2015 at 3:01 pm #

      Hey Markos,

      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences! Glad you like the post. I felt the same way as you about climbing – it’s going to be easy. Boy was I wrong.

      I agree with you 100%, climbings just one more fantastic way to get moving! For more on movement and bodyweight fitness, check out this article – https://flowathletics.com/try-bodyweight-fitness/

      – Gene

  2. Jeff March 26, 2015 at 12:56 am #

    I’m one of those people who never thought that I can install a climbing wall on my own home. And when I read this article, it got me really interested to have mine too! I love climbing and I have heard about the benefits of Flow State too so combining two of my interest plus doing it on my own home will be sure fun!

    • Gene Kobilansky March 27, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

      I know Jeff, I never thought about it either until I started training for American Ninja Warrior and saw how many DIY projects the competitors put together to replicate some of the obstacles at home.

      I live in a tiny studio, but once I have more space, I definitely plan on installing a bunch of stuff to climb and play on. Never grow up!

  3. thor August 28, 2015 at 2:52 am #

    seriously? okay get rich and build your own climbing wall in your own mansion. yes, thank you, ill do that

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