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What To Expect At A Climbing Wall

Posted by Laura

Our aim at Move is to try and remove all barriers to exercise, so to help with this, check out number 3 in a series of quick guides to some of our favourite fitness activities. We hope these will help you overcome any anxiety or unsurety you may have about heading out to your first climb (who knows, it could turn out to be your favourite workout!) 

We've teamed up with Zoe at Awesome Walls to give you the lowdown when it comes to climbing! Awesome Walls is the first National Performance Centre for Climbing in Sheffield.

The Lowdown

Once an activity reserved exclusively for the adrenaline junkie, climbing has recently broken it's way into the mainstream, with indoor climbing centres popping up across the country. Catering for all ages, abilities and levels of fitness, climbing is an exciting, challenging and fun sport, with a range of different formats from bouldering through to lead climbing. From a fitness perspective, climbing can help improve physical and core strength, flexibility, agility and confidence. 

How To Get Started

If you have never climbed before, then you will need to book a Taster Session at your local centre. This is by far the best way to start climbing as expert instructors will teach you the skills and knowledge needed to climb safely and familiarise you with what the climbing centre has to offer.

Types Of Climbing


This is climbing in its purest form, just you against the climbing problem using a mixture of brains and brawn! Indoors,  bouldering walls are no more than a few metres off the ground. Outdoors, this takes place on free standing boulders, but indoors cunning wall designers have attempted to mimic the natural world, producing a variety of angles to climb on. There are soft mats underneath bouldering walls, but it is always recommended to climb down to prevent injury. Bouldering is a great social part of climbing where you and your friends can ‘work’ problems together.


At an indoor climbing centre, a top rope is a rope, which is threaded at the top of the wall. You and your partner attach yourselves to the rope at the bottom, then one of you climbs whilst the other belays (holds the rope safely). Once you reach the top of the route, your partner lowers you down to the floor. Most climbing walls have a variety of angles for you to climb on including some natural features, such as cracks and tufas.  

Auto Belays

Don’t have a partner to climb with? Don’t worry, you can still scale the walls by using our Auto Belays! These devices allow you to climb up and with ease can lower you back down to the ground safely. The routes change every month, so there are always new challenges!

Lead Climbing

Lead climbing mimics the techniques used to climb rock faces outdoors. The lead climber climbs the wall without the rope being attached above them. They trail the rope from the ground and clip it into the in-situ quickdraws (special clips) as progress is made up the route. This is trickier, as you have to hold on to the wall for longer to clip in and a difficult move could result in a fall (don’t worry the rope will catch you)! Lead climbing is more exciting than top roping but does require a more attentive belayer!

Get Involved

For those of you in Sheffield, you can book a Taster Session at Awesome Walls where you can learn the basics. There's also family taster sessions available and a Kids Club session 4 times a week. 

For those  of you who fancy giving climbing a go but aren't in Sheffield, we have Redpoint Climbing Centre in Bristol and White Spider Climbing and Vauxwall Climbing Centre in London, City Bloc in Leeds, Rock Antics in Middlesbrough, The Showroom Climbing Centre in Lincoln and Sunderland Wall in Sunderland on board with Move - so get a free trial and start today!


You can check out our other quick guides here:

What to expect at a yoga class

What to expect at a spin class

Topics: Fitness and motivation

Written by Laura


After 3 years of excess at uni took a serious toll on my waistline and wellbeing, I found that a love for strength training, HIIT and spin classes were key to keeping me healthy and happy. I'm at the forefront of finding out and creating awesome stuff about health, fitness and happiness and when I'm not at work I love nothing more than pizza and prosecco in the sun with friends. What motivates me? Knowing that life is short...

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