Indoor climbing offers many benefits

Whether you’re a seasoned climber who’s hit a plateau at 5.11 or fairly new to the game and hoping to get strong enough to head outside, Longmont Climbing Collective offers indoor climbing that is focused on helping climbers reach their goals and get to new levels of the sport.

While the state of Colorado has literally thousands of routes and everything from alpine and ice climbing to trad, sport and bouldering, sometimes the best way to get stronger and increase your climbing skill level is to head to the gym. Plus you don’t even need to leave Longmont.

Climbing Gym Benefits

“It will get you stronger for outdoor climbing and that’s basically a proven fact, but one of the best parts of it is how efficient it is,” said Chrissy Vadovszki, a head coach at LCC. “We all live these really busy lives so you can get a good workout really quickly.”

Vadovszki says skipping the long drive to a wall can be game changing. Instead of only being able to make it outside on the weekends, the convenience of climbing gyms makes a huge difference for anyone looking to focus on specific skill sets when you may only have an hour or two after a long work day.

She says another benefit is that the controlled environment can be safer whether that’s a guaranteed floor mat below, or a little more efficient if your goal is to improve something like finger strength.

Patrick Bodnar, another coach at the Longmont climbing gym, agrees with how the controlled indoor climbing environment can be beneficial for those looking to improve the mental aspect of their climbing.

“I think climbing indoors is a great way to get in your headspace and get comfortable trying hard, you know obviously to get your sea legs,” said Bodnar. “And then obviously it’s a great way to build a little bit of strength and endurance in a controlled environment.”

Getting Stronger

Step one for any climber looking to improve is to figure out what they need to work on.

“Knowing what to work on requires a lot of self reflection or potentially even coaching,” said Vadovszki. “But if you can work on your weaknesses inside whatever it might be it’s really time efficient.”

Anyone who feels stuck can look at LCC’s climbing courses for adults. From there, you can then use the different types of climbing in the gym, whether that’s slab or finger pockets, to help build on your climbing foundation. Vadvoszki says knowing the kind of climbing you want to work on can be key, and as Bodnar mentions, unlike the outside, gyms are able to provide multiple different styles of routes.

“I think we’re super lucky climbing in the gym because you have a million different styles you might not encounter all the time outside,” said Bodnar. “But it’s really cool to check out them all in the gym.”

From there, climbers can efficiently use even small amounts of time to focus on things like building up core strength on overhangs, better footwork on slab, using a hangboard to build finger strength or running laps on a route to increase endurance.

“For example if you aren’t very good at climbing on overhangs, there’s plenty of boulders at the gym plus you can use our boards and crank them back,” said Vodvoszki. “You can really work with your weaknesses and isolate them. That’s kind of hard to do outside.”

Another proven way to get stronger with indoor climbing is to actually get off the wall and vary your exercise routine. Simple changes to your workout can help you get over the spot where you feel like you have plateaued, plus it avoids overuse of the same muscles which can lead to injuries. Changing up your routine is also mentally good for you with learning new skills and avoiding burnout.

To do this, climbers can focus on building muscle in fitness classes, whether that’s by lifting weights or expanding their cardio. You can also increase your mental game with both focus and balance by checking out a yoga class.

Translating Indoor Skills to Climbing Outside

The best part of the skills learned at the indoor climbing gym is being able to take them back outside. Whether you’re a long time climber, or you’re making your first jump to bouldering outside.

“I definitely think getting comfortable falling and learning how to fall consistently and not hurt yourself is a great practice in the gym before you head outside,” said Bodnar.

Both Bodnar and Vodvoszki say the social aspect of the gym can also help climbers find friends and mentors to climb with both inside and outside, which can help climbers learn proper techniques and new ways to look at problems by working on routes with different partners. Plus veteran climbers often have the safety skills needed to head outside.

“Don’t start alone,” said Bodnar. “Make sure you have someone with you who’s making sure you’re climbing safe and obviously climbing with friends and mentors is more fun anyway.”

Meet the Ladies Behind LCC

March is Women's History Month and we’d like to introduce you to some of the #LadiesBehindLCC that have devoted themselves to bettering our community.

Shauna Hylenski

Q: What's your role at LCC?

A: Founder, Program Director, Yoga Instructor, Mom (unofficially)

Q: How have you helped the LCC community?

A: I think I help bring a balanced perspective to our programs and business. I have an education background as well as being a dance and yoga teacher for the last 10 years. I love how our business blends climbing, yoga and fitness and how they all support each other - just like our community. I'm really proud that at LCC we have created a culture of mutual respect and support between employees, teachers, coaches and leaders which feels pretty amazing all around.

Q: Any big goals for 2021? Personal or related to the gym.

A: One of my goals is to continue to learn and practice the harmonium and kirtan singing. I started this during the pandemic and have totally fallen in love. I'm thankful to my Tuesday Night yoga students for being my "sivasana audience" (no one has gotten up to leave - yet). I am also really excited to start teaching Advanced Teacher Training again. We lead our first round at Shri Studios in 2019/2020 and are getting ready to launch another training in September of 2021.

Q: Are there any women who inspire you, in or out of LCC, that you'd like to give a shout-out to?

A: My daughter Hana constantly inspires me with her caring and authentic nature. I very much admire Janet Stone who is a beloved teacher and powerful force in the yoga world. I also need to show some love to our amazing yoga teachers. Gina Matranga, Amanda Rabatin, Kylie O'Connor, Heather Hottovy, Lyndsi Fajkus and Kevin Flynn. These teachers created some serious, steady ground for our community during the pandemic closer and beyond. I am so incredibly grateful for them and their love and dedication to Shri and LCC.

Kylie O’Connor

Q: What's your role at LCC?

A: Yoga Instructor and Trainer

Q: How have you helped the LCC community?

A: I believe that I bring a unique approach to my teaching and training that not only promotes body awareness but that encourages that often lost sense of “play” and exploration.

The supportive, encouraging and authentic nature of this community are what make this not only possible- but FUN.

Q: Any big goals for 2021? Personal or related to the gym.

A: My goal for 2021 is to keep with the ability to evolve and adapt that we all began to master in 2020. I strive to continue to learn, grow and improve in my ability to provide the best training and teaching experience possible for my students/clients. I hope to find even more ways to share the movement and mobility styles that I am so passionate about. A personal goal is to continue to grow my small wood working business and do more wood burning projects!

Q: Are there any women who inspire you, in or out of LCC, that you'd like to give a shout-out to?

A: I honestly couldn’t name just a couple if I tried. All of the women of LCC deserve a shout out. It is a constant source of motivation to see so many strong and dedicated women within one community. I'm inspired daily by my fellow team members here and grateful for the powerful energy they project!

Meagan Campbell

Q: What's your role at LCC?

A: Director of Customer Service & Retail Operations

Q: How have you helped the LCC community?

A: I've done pretty much every job at LCC - taught yoga, taught fitness classes, painted walls, coached kids, vacuumed mats… But now I mostly help to bridge the gap between our members and the rest of the management team, to advocate for the needs and wishes of our community. I love that a huge part of my job is hanging out and getting to know our people! I ensure that our team is prepared to give everyone that walks in the door the best experience possible. But most importantly - I'm responsible for providing the sweet, sweet brews upstairs!

Q: Any big goals for 2021? Personal or related to the gym.

A: I always have climbing and fitness goals - besides my ever-growing list of routes to do this year I'd also love to see how many lines I can lead on only tricams, just for the tomfoolery of it all. Professionally I'm excited to work on our social mission with Shauna, creating more avenues for people to enjoy our gym. 2020 was about survival for LCC, and I look forward to 2021 being about thriving and growing.

Q: Are there any women who inspire you, in or out of LCC, that you'd like to give a shout-out to?

A: The list is so long - all the badass female climbers that are kicking butt and taking names in a sport that's still male-dominated, all the moms of the world (the hardest and most important job!), but most of all I'm grateful for my friends that continually help me find my own voice and way in the world by being loud and proud in their own voices.

Christine Vadovszki

Q: What's your role at LCC?

Head Climbing Coach of Youth Team, Performance Climbing Coach for classes/private clients

Q: How have you helped the LCC community?

A: I've been a part of LCC's coaching team since the very beginning and have coached everything from Kinder Club to our competitive team to advanced adult classes.

Q: Any big goals for 2021? Personal or related to the gym.

A: I am always working to grow as a climber, coach and person. I have some outdoor sport climbing projects I hope to put down this year.

Q: Are there any women who inspire you, in or out of LCC, that you'd like to give a shout-out to?

A: All of my female friends inspire me.