Weight is the most important body factor in terms of being a good climber, it’s even more important than your height. Being tall is something that you can’t achieve by doing some special type of training, the genetics is crucial here, and you can’t do much about it, even you can’t wear higher shoes like we can when going to a party, because that’s not how climbing shoes work, but fortunately for us the weight is way more important than your height, and we are going to prove it to you in this article, and also answer the frequent question which is “How much weight should I lose to be a better climber?”
In terms of climbing the strength to weight ratio is so underrated, for example, little kids can do much harder boulders than you as an adult one foot taller than them, and also a lot stronger than them, but why? That is because they have a better strength to weight ratio than you do. The lighter you are the greater benefits will give you a loss of one pound, because you have to think about it from the percentage perspective.
For example, a person who weighs 200 pounds won’t get as good results by losing 20 pounds as a person that weighs 140 pounds. Because the first person will lose 10% of his total weight, and the same 20 pounds for the second person will be around 15% of his total weight. That is simply the math, and if you don’t believe it then let’s take a look at our surroundings in nature.
A small ant can lift about 10 to 50 times their own body weight, but on the other hand, we have an elephant who can’t even lift with its trunk about 10% of its own total mass. That’s how the world’s physics works, and that’s why kids are great climbers in general.
How much weight should I lose to be a better climber?
Every 5% loss of your total body weight should give you a huge boost to your climbing skills, so if you weigh around 150 pounds then you should lose around and. An important fact about losing weight is that you won’t lose only body fat but also you can lose muscle mass if you don’t supply your body with enough proteins. If you do lose some muscle mass then you won’t get as much from losing body weight, but kids don’t even have much muscle mass and they are great climbers, so even if you do lose some muscles then don’t worry too much, you will improve anyway.
If you want to get the best out of your diet, then try to focus on sustaining your muscle mass by eating enough proteins. Most climbers see results after a 5% loss of body mass, but that isn’t exactly right. The truth is that every single pound lost of your body mass will improve your climbing skills, so don’t give yourself some unreasonable goals to reach.
Best climbers’ body weight
Many veteran coaches, after years of teaching climbers, said that the reasonable body fat percentage for great climbers is 6% to 12% of body fat for men and 10% to 18% of body fat for women. Note that the world’s best climbers are near that low end of these ranges.
For example, Adam Ondra who has won 2019 “Lead climbing” on a world championship, he’s 6ft 1in tall, but he weighs about 150 pounds, and that’s really low for his height.
Another example, this time for women will be Janja Garnebret who has won 2019 “Lead climbing”, “Bouldering” and “Combined” on a world championship, she’s 5ft 5in, but she weighs about 104 pounds.
As we can see the top climbers are those with the lowest body fat percentage, but if you take a look at them they have a lot of muscle mass, but their weight is very low, due to the low body fat. But should we be guided by those cases? Unfortunately, not many climbers will become professionals, because they can’t afford to train enough or simply because the diet is too hard to maintain for a longer period of time.
Bad habit of being weight obsessed
If you have been in the climbing community for about a few months then I bet you have heard many conversations about losing weight and taking it to the extremes. Like many skinny climbers talking about losing more weight even if it will very unhealthy for their bodies. Remember that the BMI chart should show you how far you can go with your diet.
For example, a man who is 5ft 8in tall shouldn’t go under 120 pounds, unless he wants to be a pro climber which many of us don’t. About 80% of climbers are doing this as a normal hobby, and are not interested in doing this competitively. So you should also ask yourself if you want to be a pro climber which will be very hard, but if you don’t then avoid being underweight because that is simply unhealthy for your body overall.
It’s a common controversial topic in the world of climbing, but in general, you should listen to your body and if you feel bad on a diet or with a small percentage of body fat then stop it.
In general – How much weight should I lose to be a better climber?
It’s all based on the strength to weight ratio, and also don’t aim for an exact bodyweight because every single pound will give you a small amount of strength to improve your climbing skills. Height is the secondary problem and the more important factor is weight, but avoid weight obsessions, which is a common problem in the climbing community.
A well-balanced diet with a lot of proteins should give you the results you want, so consult your case with a professional dietician who will create a special diet for a climber like you! If you are doing climbing as a hobby then try to convince your friends or partner to try climbing with you, so check out our new article “How can I get my partner into climbing?“.