Climbing is a specific form of physical activity, where your size really matters. There have been many rumors that women are better than men at climbing, due to the size factor, but is that really true? And if it is true then “Why women are better than men at climbing?”, let’s find out!
We can see a lot of advantages of being a women climber, but let’s talk about it a little bit later and for now focus on the disadvantages of being a climber woman:
- Men are taller on average than women
- Men’s reach is longer than average for women
- Men’s muscle structure is better suited for sports than women
- Parents more often force boys to do sports at a young age rather than girls
Those can be hard to overcome, but fortunately, women have the greatest advantage over men, which is their size. Women tend to be smaller and weigh less than men, and climbing is a key to becoming a great climber.
Why being smaller is good for climbers?
Weight is one of the biggest issues for top climbers. That’s why they are paying a lot for those fancy diets, just to maintain low body fat. If you take a look at top climbers you can notice that they are all slim.
If your strength to weight ratio is good then you will improve in climbing. Let’s take, for example, little kids. They obviously don’t have much muscle mass, but they also weigh even less than half of your body weight. If you had an opportunity to see a kid practicing bouldering or climbing then you know how easy it is for them.
Kids can do V4 with ease, but you had to train for it for many months or even years. Even without any climbing skills, their strength-to-weight ratio will let them climb almost anything. As they grow older their weight increases faster than their strength so they will eventually lose that attribute, but as we said, women tend to be smaller than men and that can give them a boost to their skillset.
Being smaller isn’t always good, the main issue with being small is shorter reach. So women often have to support themselves with wall structures like volumes or edges. That means it’s harder for women to grab the next handhold, that’s why we can see women that are doing a lot of stretching activities while warming up at the bouldering gym because stretching can replace reach differentials.
Also when you are small then your stamina is higher, so while climbing longer routes, women on average should have more stamina at the end than men, That means when you are almost at the finish then even when you are pumped the men should be more pumped than you are at this stage.
Women have a higher pain threshold
The pain while climbing will occur when your stamina is low and you must endure the pain to complete the route. Studies from the US national library of medicine say that women have a higher pain tolerance limit than men on average.
It doesn’t mean that you should have more pain tolerance than the men in your climbing gym, because that’s just the average value so it doesn’t apply to every man out there.
In conclusion – Are Women Better Than Men At Climbing?
It depends on the many factors, but we can’t say that women are overall better climbers than men, because every side has different strengths and weaknesses. The attributes that state that women are better than men in climbing are:
- Having more stamina on average
- Better strength to weight ratio
- Being more flexible
- Greater pain tolerance
Those things described above will be on your side competing against men, but there are some disadvantages of being a woman at climbing like:
- Shorter reach
- Girls tend to later begin climbing than boys
- Weaker muscle structure for sports
If you will be able to overcome those disadvantages then you can easily say that you are good at climbing. Use our guide from above if you want to overcome those and for more information about improving at climbing check out our new article “Does bouldering improve climbing?“, but if you struggle to improve then check out “Why am I not improving at climbing?“