Why Do Climbers Climb Shirtless? – (Is It Normal?)

We all know or at least have seen some climbers who prefer to climb shirtless. There is not a lot of them at the climbing gyms, but you should spot at least one per few sessions, most of the time they are guys with athletic postures, but we will talk about their appearance later because right now we want to focus on the reasons why they do this. Maybe you didn’t have a chance to ask them about it or you just are afraid of doing it, that’s why we have done it for you.

Since the January of 2022, we have occasionally asked many casual climbers for their opinion about this behavior, and climbers who were climbing shirtless for the reasons why they do that. After a few months, we are ready to show you the results and give proper answers.

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Most of the climbers who were climbing without shirts told us that they are doing it while they feel like they need to put some serious effort into their problem and stay focused on it more. That’s what they say, which can be a mental thing. that helps them, but what is the logic behind it? And what do other people say about climbers without shirts? Let’s find out!

What are the benefits of climbing shirtless?

“Climb shirtless” is a trend almost 100% practiced by men, unless we add girls wearing only sports bras to that statistic. There are some benefits of climbing without a shirt but they are often very minor:

  • Cooling down body temperature – Often after a few attempts our bodies start to increase their temperature, and when we start to feel hot, that’s why removing clothes can be a good idea to cool down a bit.
  • Mental help – In our opinion this is the greatest benefit. Many climbers do need something to trigger them to do their best, and removing a shirt can be one of those triggers, but we will talk about it later down in the article.
  • Lowering climber’s total weight – Some climbers have a tendency to constantly think about lowering their body weight, by dieting, fasting, or by exercising over limits, but there is also another way of doing that, and it is by removing some of the unnecessary clothing. You can be surprised but the shirt can weigh about 0.4 pounds so that will slightly make you lighter which can be good for your climbing skill.
  • Removing shirt limits – Some shirts are made of materials that are not very flexible, that’s why they can limit your movements a bit, especially if your upper body is more muscular. Also while climbing overhangs shirts can often cause some problems due to gravity.
  • Possibility to show off – This is the one benefit that is likely to irritate other people according to the answers from climbers who wanted to share with us their opinion, but more on that later.

As you can see there are some real benefits that stand on the side of climbers without shirts, but most of those benefits are rather small so there won’t be a lot of advantages from taking off your shirt.

Taking off a shirt can trigger your mind to do your best, it’s almost like a button that makes you stronger instantly. That also means that while in a shirt you are not serious about climbing, and only after removing it your body starts to give 100%. After a few months of doing that it becomes a habit. Remember that your mental state is very important in climbing, and it can make miracles, just simply by believing that it really helps you become a better climber.

What do people think about climbers without shirts?

According to the climbers who wanted to share their opinion about it, unfortunately, we have to say that this behavior is often irritating to other climbers. In addition to that, they told us that people who are climbing shirtless in their opinion just showing off, to make others look at them.

It is true that some climbers are seeking attention, with provocative clothes or being loud while climbing, but that is not relevant to all who climb shirtless. About 60% of climbers told us that climbers who are climbing without shirts are doing it to show off, but the other 40% said that they don’t care about it, or never thought about it.

Do climbing gyms prohibit climbing shirtless?

There are some climbing gyms that have tons of weird rules, and sometimes among those rules, we can find things similar to a “dress code” for their climbing gym. That rule is often related to wearing only a sports bra or not wearing a shirt at all, but they can also include things like wearing too-short shorts.

Why do climbers climb shirtless?
Why do climbers climb shirtless?

Climbing gyms want to prevent provocative clothing, by creating those types of rules. Climbers often don’t care too much about them, and climbing gym staff often wants to prioritize customer service rather than checking everyone’s clothes.

You have to know that only a small percentage of climbing gyms have those types of rules. If you want to know more about the rules of climbing gyms then check out this article “Unwritten Rules Of Indoor Climbing – (10 Tips For Beginners)“.

In Summary – Why do climbers climb shirtless?

As we stated above, there are some minor benefits of climbing without a shirt, but most people are doing it to trigger themselves to workout harder, and slowly after time it becomes a habit.

Remember that you should follow climbing gyms’ rules code and showing off is considered bad in our society, so think twice before you take off your shirt in public. If you want to know more about weird climbers’ behaviors then make sure to check out this article “Do People Listen To Music While Climbing? – (For Beginners)“.