/ calories burnt bouldering or route climbing indoors?

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SARS on 20 Jan 2013
I've been using the myfitnessplan app to get trim for the summer. For those who don't know - it's just a calorie counter with a huge database of food and exercises behind it.

One thing it doesn't capture reliably though is calories burnt through climbing? I've look online and can't find any good stats.

Does anyone have any reliable estimates for calories burnt training indoors? To be accurate a table by grade and body weight would probably be necessary, but anything would be a start.

Btw I've found the app works nicely for me. Already the body fat has started to peel off. Am a little weaker at the moment - which is to be expected from a calorie deficient diet - but that should only be temporary whilst I'm trimming down.
SARS on 20 Jan 2013
No-one has any idea?
Margaret - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS: Best I can think of is to wear a heart rate monitor that records the number of caloties you are burning. Make sure that you have all the user details entered, gender, weight and so on for accuracy. Good Luck.
Daniel Heath - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS:

Sorry I don't have an answer, but it's an interesting idea.

I doubt the grade affects calories much. Other variables:

-Efficient climbing style
-Slower climbing
-Pressy moves (eg a corner) maybe more than a face climb
All these might make lower grades/lower grade climbers burn more calories than harder climbs/climbers.

I doubt you burn that many calories. Forearm muscle are very small, you probably burn similar calories walking up stairs the same height (covering the same distance).

After some Googling it appears that one pull up burns less than a calorie.

In this respect I don't think you need to worry about fueling your workout with enough calories. (Maybe a coffee and a small snack if you feel low on energy). Just have a healthy post workout meal and enjoy the after-burn effects of the exercise.
geordiepie - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to Daniel Heath:
> (In reply to SARS)
>
> Sorry I don't have an answer, but it's an interesting idea.
>

> I doubt you burn that many calories. Forearm muscle are very small, you probably burn similar calories walking up stairs the same height (covering the same distance).

Climbing involves a little bit more than just forearm muscles.

> After some Googling it appears that one pull up burns less than a calorie.

And it's not just a series of pull ups.

Rockovers, mantling, heel hooks etc. all use leg muscles and you'll be using muscles in your trunk to keep yourself on the wall. This is especially true for more overhanging routes, so to say easy climbs use less calories than hard climbs is probably not right.

Bouldering in particular is very gymnastic so perhaps look into how many calories gymnasts burn as a rough guide?
southern sam on 20 Jan 2013
Time to get on the 4 x 4's Simon, I would imagine that'd be the best way to combine calorie burning and climbing, though I could well be wrong. Twice a week, i'm keen!

Sam
Andypandyroo - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS:

I read somewhere that its around 100 cals for every ten minutes climbing.
I think it was on myfitnesspal...only a guide thou, best way tower a hr monitor.
SARS on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to Andypandyroo:

100 calories sounds too high to be honest. My guess would be more around the 200-500 for 1hr+ workout.

I've heard that heart rate monitors don't work for climbing - not sure why though...
SARS on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to southern sam:

Not really fussed about burning calories through climbing mate, doing plenty of cardio at the moment too. More trying to ensure I eat just enough to maintain strength but also keeping a small deficit so that the weight slowly peels off..
Adam Lincoln - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS:

Once you find out, don't forget to only count 'time on wall' which can be a little tricky to work out!

Might seem obvious, but people don't always do it like that.
SARS on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to Adam Lincoln:

Yes quite. Do you have any ideas about how much a "typical" boulder problems burn?
Skyfall - on 20 Jan 2013
SARS on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to Skyfall:

Thanks, unfortunately I don't believe any of the calorie estimates in that thread. The myfitnessplan figures for climbing are way to high. And even though the last poster suggested 1500 calories for 2-3hrs, I really think that is not correct either.

This website puts vigorous weightlifting at 490 calories per hour for a 180 pound person and light weightlifting at around 245 calories. I'm around 175 pounds - and I think climbing is like light weightlifting. So 250 per hour seems reasonable.

http://www.nutristrategy.com/caloriesburned.htm
Skyfall - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS:

I'm a bit lost as to what you think might be right. Low, high, what?

I don't think that thread came to any conclusion; I merely linked it as the very same subject was discussed a week or so ago.

As I said on that thread, I think the sort of calories quoted might be about right if you literally tot up the minutes spent actually on routes (not the time spent standing around). In a two hour wall session you might only spend 20 mins on routes and that would equate to a few hundred calories, which to me seems possible.

snoop6060 - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS:
> (In reply to Skyfall)
>
> Thanks, unfortunately I don't believe any of the calorie estimates in that thread. The myfitnessplan figures for climbing are way to high. And even though the last poster suggested 1500 calories for 2-3hrs, I really think that is not correct either.
>


Yes, but thats like 2-3hrs of actual climbing. Who does this in a session indoors?

I reckon if you lapped a wall for 3hrs solid (no rests), you would burn 1500 calories.
Rekotin on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS: Well, I'm sure it varies a bit - latest from me with a monitor on is a 6 hour session in Reading with a friend, taking turns leading 6a's which for me is well within comfort zone. Stopped to have a 45 min lunch break in the middle and after that session I had burned about 1350 kcals.

An hour of bouldering for me takes about 350 kcal if I remember correctly.
SARS on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to Skyfall:

Well I'm trying to get a meaningful understanding. For example, this evening I spent 1.5 hours bouldering - almost continuously with only small breaks.

First 20min was warming up in the V1-V4 range. Next 1 hour was spent trying a number of problems in V5-7 range. Some success, some not. Last 10 minutes was warming down on V1-V2/3 range.

However, I'm sure that I didn't burn 1500 calories. It's anecdotal, but I've been climbing a while and I know that if I ate an additional 1500 calories over my usual daily intake after all my climbing workouts similar to above then I would become a fat bastard.

So just trying to get something realistic and I think heart monitors don't work for climbing - there was a thread on UKB which mentioned something like this.
Skyfall - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS:

> Well I'm trying to get a meaningful understanding. For example, this evening I spent 1.5 hours bouldering - almost continuously with only small breaks.

I really find it hard to believe you were bouldering virtually non stop for 1.5 hours. If you did, then you should have the most impressive stamina. If you actually think about what you were doing, even if you stood for a couple of mins in between problems deciding what to do next, you probably only spent 50% of your time actually climbing.

> I know that if I ate an additional 1500 calories over my usual daily intake after all my climbing workouts similar to above then I would become a fat bastard.

I sort of agree with that partly, as I say, because I just don't believe you spent 1.5 hours physically climbing non-stop.
SARS on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to Skyfall:

Ok, let's say 1hr was spent climbing and 30 min was resting. So 500 calories? Maybe that's right but it still feels on the high side.
SARS on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS:

To put it into context. My regular 35 minute outside run that I do a couple of times each week burns around 500 calories and I am properly knackered after doing it.

1.5 of bouldering leaves my forearms pumped and shoulders/leg muscles tired but my heart is nowhere near pumping after my run.
ads.ukclimbing.com
ice.solo - on 20 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS:
> (In reply to Skyfall)
>
> Ok, let's say 1hr was spent climbing and 30 min was resting. So 500 calories? Maybe that's right but it still feels on the high side.

winter climbing with a 15kg pack at -20/+3000m 2 days ago, my friends monitor (garmin) recorded 400kcals an hour without factoring the cold.

indoor climbing? id reckon half that.
David Coley - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS:
The two references I'm aware of are:

Bertuzzi RC, et al. Energy system contributions in indoor rock climbing. Eur J Appl Physiol (2007) 101:293-300.

and

Watts PB and Drobish KM. Physiological responses to simulated rock climbing at different angles. Med Sci Sports Exerc (1998) 30(7):1118-22.

If someone who was an expert in this stuff could read these papers and give a view it would be great, however I think they point to around 2kcal per metre of climbing on top of base met. rate.

This gives the rule of 1500kcal for a 500m route as a min. as on such route you might well have a sack, be pulling a rack up, have friction through the runners, doing stuff with the rope and general faff.
staceyjg - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS:

I worked out that from a 3.5 hour session, climbing with 1 other person, occasional drink rest, approximately 35-40 minutes was the maximum amount of time I actually spend climbing. I did this by using a stop watch on several occasions and it worked out about the same most times. Calories per hour burnt I believe is about 800-1200 per hour depending on your weight and the exertion level of your climbing.

I would most definitely advise climbing with a heart rate monitor which will give you a more accurate estimation!
Andypandyroo - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS:

A HR monitor should work, if not you can get a conducting gel that goes on the strap. The strap normally needs to be wet (from water or sweat to conduct)

As for the 10 minutes/100 cals (only a guide) but if it takes you 2 minutes to lead a route - 4/5 routes you could easily burn 100 cals.

The ten minutes was actually on rock, not standing round etc.

:)
webbo - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS:
a heart rate monitor works out calories used by your weight,age,sex and max heart rate. so it basing calories used on elevated heart rates, so if you do a climb your h/r goes up and it will still be elevated while you are stood around for a period.
The problem with using one for climbing and also weight traing your h/r doesn't go that high compared to things like running or cycling.
michaelc - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Andypandyroo:
> (In reply to SARS)
>
> A HR monitor should work, if not you can get a conducting gel that goes on the strap. The strap normally needs to be wet (from water or sweat to conduct)
KY should do the trick, shouldn't it? Could add some extra salt if not conductive enough.
Mr. K - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS: I've got a Suunto Ambit but I don't normally log indoor climbing. Here's a log of a short indoor bouldering session though where I burnt 397 calories in 1hr 14min: http://www.movescount.com/moves/move7704911

Winter climbing on Saturday I burnt 4141 calories in 8hrs 24min!
LennyJ1 on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS: I use that same app and if I go down the wall for 2 hours I just put in 20 mins climbing, seems to work out fine
Quiddity - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS:

When I have tried to track this in the past, I kept a rough estimate of number of moves completed in each session in a training diary, worked out on the basis that a boulder problem averages 6 moves and a route averages 25 moves. I ignored intensity to keep things simple although obviously in reality it will have a massive effect on the number of calories you are burning.

Then I assumed an average of 6 seconds per move based on some back of the envelope sums I won't bore you with.

Overall a 3-4 hour volume oriented bouldering session came out as somewhere between 200 - 300 moves, ie. 20 - 30 minutes of actual climbing time. (A threshold bouldering session would be much less and if you were doing laps on routes it would be much more.)

Based on the approx 650 calories per hour of climbing that myfitnesspal reckons, I made that between 216 and 325 calories in a session, which seems about in the right sort of ball park.
SteveRi - on 21 Jan 2013
I think you'd be woefully disappointed in how much time you spend actually on the rock in even an 'intense' session. How out of breath do you get climbing? Probably not very, and if you do you're probably doing it wrong :)
SARS on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Quiddity:

Blimey, pretty close to my guess of about 250 :) Guess I will stick with that as my default estimate unless I can find a reason to change it.
Quiddity - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to SARS:

yes, that would be the short answer :-)

in my defence, the exercise wasn't totally pointless as you do get motivated to work quite a lot harder when you force yourself to write down and quantify how much you do in your average session and realise how much of your time is spent chatting, sitting on the sofa, brushing holds, drinking tea, etc.
SARS on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Quiddity:

I'm sure not pointless at all. Since I began using myfitnessplan and logging all my food I've lost about 1 kg and I can feel the difference already in my climbing. Crushed a load of problems I couldn't get close to before yesterday. 2 more kg off and I'll be done I reckon. Already can see the belly I've built up since returning to the UK disappearing.

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