September 16, 2021

How Many Calories Do You Burn Rock Climbing and Bouldering

by Kevin

Rock climbing is one of the exciting and fun alternatives to visiting a gym. It gives you a great chance to socialize with a lot of people in that sports industry. Though it’s a hard skill to master, it’s very interesting and rewarding. 

Whether it is indoor or on real outdoor rock climbing, you will work muscles that you never imagined you had. It comes as a surprise how fast you break a sweat despite making slow moves. 

Most people ask how many calories do you burn rock climbing and bouldering, you have to keep reading, and you will get to know how bouldering is the solution to your weight loss journey. Nothing beats the ability to boulder or scale a cliff face. 

Table of Contents

Does Rock Climbing Burn Calories?

Yes, it does and rock climbing is good for weight loss in general. Some data claim that bouldering and rock climbing are the most effective sports that one could use to burn calories and stay fit. When it comes to the number of calories you can burn while climbing, people give different answers. 

The consensus is that a climber will burn anywhere between 500 to 900 calories per hour, but they ensure to keep rest at a minimum between routes. 

According to research, rock climbing builds power, and strength, and brings anaerobic and aerobic fitness levels to new heights. So, it’s not only a good exercise but one of the best. For starters, while climbing, you should stay in constant motion. 

It’s a dynamic sport that needs one to shift position and work for various muscle groups routinely. Its results are so because there are no crags that are equal. It’s the reason climbing burns some severe calories.

Counting Calories

To calculate the number of calories you burn while rock climbing, you need to have a formula. An equation says how many calories you can burn in a certain number of hours at a given caloric burn rate.

So, first, understand how many calories a climbing trip burns in an hour. The data on this varies, and it’s like there is no given answer for the question. 

Here is the amount of calories an average person burns in an hour for a moderately difficult climbing session. It’s per the MET value.

Calories You Burn Bouldering
  • A 100lbs individual burns about 340 calories every hour
  • A 150lbs boulderer burns around 510 calories every hour
  • A 200lbs climber burns about 680 calories each hour

However, the numbers fluctuate depending on your climbing intensity during the session, gender, heart rate, age, and V02Max. 

Factors that Determine the Number of Calories You Burn while Rock Climbing


People who have put on a lot of weight will use up many calories and energy to get over a hard section while climbing. On the other side, climbers with little weight will have an easy time ascending the rock. 

According to research, weight is a critical factor since you will need a lot of energy if you have extra weight, and you might encounter dramatic caloric burn during climbing trips. 

For this reason, people usually lose weight while putting effort into making the sessions easier and taking maximum breaks to rest. 

Factors that Determine the Number of Calories You Burn while Bouldering


Boulderers or climbers who climb wearing heavier or more gear might as well burn a huge number of calories. 

The extra weight will call for more effort that, in turn, burns down extra calories. 


The difficulty level of the route also plays a major role in burning calories. The hard route forces one to use more effort and strength while you make every pull-up move. 

Here, you get to burn a bigger number of calories than the easy climb. Keep in mind that effort equals calorie expenditure.

Experts familiar with specific routes will find that they expend little energy since they already know the holds. Their bodies have the natural ability to ascend due to the experience they have. 

On the other hand, beginners on a new router will need to put in more effort for every pull-up, burning more calories in each climb. 

Calories You Burn Rock Climbing


The type of rock you climb or boulder matters a lot. A very steep rock will need you to maximize the strength of your upper body. 

It’s a great way to help build the lean muscle mass in your shoulders and arms, which assists in weight loss! 

Route length

The length of the routes is another factor to consider. A person who does shorter routes while climbing in succession without even resting will burn fewer calories. 

But if a boulder is climbing longer, routes will burn many calories since much energy and effort are involved in completing the trips. 

So, you will be better off taking longer routes which makes you take a long break between the climbs to make sure you cut an equal amount of calories after a long, difficult route.

How Many Calories Do You Burn Bouldering

Number of times you climb 

If you are looking to increase your calorie expenditure, you could take more frequent breaks and climb for a longer time. 

Those who climb for a few days in a row or several times a week have a great chance of building more lean muscle mass and burning down stored fats. 

With the above factors to consider, keep in mind that the number of calories you lose while bouldering or rock climbing is hugely an estimate unless you can access the lab data. For this reason, always leave room for error while doing the math to help you satisfy your fitness goal. 

Every person looks forward to losing calories. Fortunately, rock climbing offers the best chance to burn calories like you never expected! It’s an intensive sport that activates a few muscle groups all over the body and offers one with an overall body workout for bouldering.

If you are a beginner or an experienced boulderer seeking to track down your weight in a fun and exciting way to cut down calories, rock climbing is for you. 

The activity provides you with the potential to leverage caloric burn and begin to slash off those pounds. So, if you prefer exercise combined with adrenaline and adventure, then get ready for rock climbing. It’s a workout with a full package.

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About the author 


Kevin loves bouldering. Mainly because he can practice it alone without considering other people. Although he rediscovered this hobby in the last three years, the boulders turned out to be his most visited landmarks.

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