4 Reasons You Should Start Climbing Trees

4 Reasons Your Bodyweight Workouts Should Include Tree Climbing

Written by
April 7, 2015
Updated April 11, 2018

This past weekend, I had a client tell me she didn’t climb trees; “False!” I exclaimed. We then began working on the very basics of tree climbing, which is familiarizing yourself with the tree. Everyone should climb and play in trees more.

It is something as modern humans we have become so far removed from, yet it still remains in our DNA. Many of us climbed trees when we were younger and no longer entertain the notion, but I want to present you with 4 reasons why your bodyweight workouts should include tree climbing.

Tree Climbing is a Mood Elevator

In my humble opinion this is the most beneficial reason to climb trees. If you have had a shit day go climb a tree and I assure you, within minutes your mood will improve. To me, mental health and stress management is the highest investment you can make.

We live in a fast paced, high stressed world and grabbing a few minutes of sanity can do wonders to your overall wellness. There is something about being out in nature, interacting with nature is a whole other level of feeling good.

So the next time you are having a bad day; include tree climbing into your bodyweight workout. If you are having a good day; include tree climbing into your bodyweight workout!

Onnit Battle Ring Suspension TrainerTree Climbing Because You Can

Take a moment to look down at your hands. Now wiggle your fingers, move your thumbs, make a fist and open your hands again.

This is what makes you special in the animal kingdom and it is also what gives you permission to climb trees.

Your hands are designed to grab, your shoulders are made to hang and brachiate. Do not neglect this biomechanical design and advantage.

The reason most people “can’t” climb trees is because they don’t. Just a little reintroduction to the hands and shoulders and you will soon be on your way to playing like Spider-man.

You can climb and should be climbing as frequently as possible. Climbing is one of the highest expressions of human movement.

If you have ever seen a very skilled climber, it is truly a sight to behold as they appear to float towards their destination.

Tree Climbing is a Full Bodyweight Workout

When I take my students to work and play in the trees I hear them say how challenging it is. They also seem to be sore, head to toe in the days that follow. You are using your arms for pulling, the legs for pushing and the core to stabilize.

Want to take it up a notch? One of my favorite bodyweight workouts is to find two good trees about 25-40ft tall that are 30-40yds apart. Climb as fast (and safely) to the top of one, descend, then sprint to the other and repeat. Try to make 5 summits of each tree. This is a quick and powerful bodyweight workout.

This is just one of hundreds of full body activities that involve climbing a tree. Regularly climbing trees will give you a powerful, strong body that is highly functional. I would also add that there are many other things to do with a tree than just climb it.

For example, you can practice balance; you can jump over branches, onto branches, or form limb to limb. You could crawl along the limbs or a slanted of fallen trunk. You and do some low gait exploration under low-lying branches and limbs. Be creative and playful! Have fun with the tree!

Tree Climbing & Longevity

I can’t prove this, but I believe if we do activities that are inherently childlike we stay young. George Bernard Shaw once said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

Playing in trees is the quintessential childhood activity and when we do it as adults we revert back to that timeless period of our life. As we can set an example for the next generation by saying it’s ok to climb trees.

To often we deny our children and ourselves our birthright to move, explore, and play. So I encourage you to go out and climb a tree today! Also with respect to longevity =, Zombies can’t climb trees, climb a tree and survive the Zombie Apocalypse.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the owner of Asylum Fitness in beautiful Wilmington, North Carolina. He is a Movement and Strength Coach that uses unconventional tools and methods to make his students a little better with each practice. His main focus is movement, he believes, “We were born to move. Reclaim your birthright.” He encourages his students and all those he meets to just play, similarly to when you were a kid, believing that play is the foundation of movement and movement is life. “By learning to move better and improving our mobility, everything falls into place.” he says. Mark is an Outdoor Fitness Enthusiast, is well versed in corrective exercises, and currently holds a level 1 FMS (Functional Movement Screen), and is a MovNat level 2 certified trainer and is always seeking to learn from the best. He also has a background in track and field, martial arts, ballroom dance, and currently is practicing parkour.

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