I love climbing, be it high wall or bouldering.

Here's what I plan to do:

  • 2 hours bouldering 3 times a week

  • 1 hour calisthenics 1-2 times a week

I weigh 62kg and I'm 6' tall - and will aim to eat ~3,000kcal a day.

Will this workout scheme build muscle? Most climbers I've seen are incredibly, incredibly strong but are thin, and I don't exactly want to be like that.

  • 2
    I am not really qualified to answer this so I'll make a comment instead. In my understanding, in order to gain serious muscle bulk it is necessary to lift heavy weight with low rep. If you are strong enough to easily lift your own weight then boldering for two hours is almost akin to a cardiovascular excercise. I have peers who boulder and they are almost always lean. You need to do strength training to gain muscle.
    – user5376
    Nov 3, 2015 at 19:14

3 Answers 3


"Building muscle" is a very broad term. Will your program allow you to build muscle? Yes. Will you look like a bodybuilder? Probably not. Calisthenics 1-2 times a week, assuming properly executed, has the ability to give you good results. Bouldering - that depends... From what I know (and guess), probably won't build big muscles, but will give you a very good grip.

Diet wise - that is totally depended on your own body, there is no one rule fits all. Start with 3000 calories. Check your weight at least weekly. See how you progress, then adjust accordingly. If you feel like you are gaining fat - cut 500 cals. If you are constantly hungry and don't have enough energy to perform your routine ( or don't gain any muscle) - add more calories (preferably in protein form). Each body is unique and must be handled uniquely.

Try your program for 6 weeks and see how you progress. If you love climbing, then at the very least you will have a lot of fun and make progress. Best case - you will have fun AND build the body of your dreams.


Yes, but not as much as you'd get from standard weightlifting.

How much all depends on how much muscle you have currently, and what your genetics (e.g. testosterone levels) are.

If you DO pursue bouldering, be sure to spend some time doing 'pushing' exercises (push-ups, overhead-pressing, etc) to keep your shoulders balanced. Otherwise you might be at risk for an injury.


The answer to your question depends on what do you consider as building muscles. If you want to build "spindle-shaped" muscles, that look more natural, then climbing is a good option. However, if you want to build your muscles to look more like body builders, then climbing isn't gonna help you that much. In that case, you should do some heavy lifting. 3000 calories are ok at this point, but make sure you're eating well every day.

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