Monday- Rope Climbs

Working on rope climbs? This article from  Tabata Times, Rope Climb to Infinity and Beyond by Kristy Parrish offers several tips and videos.  Below are a few helpful excerpts.

“Many folks are intimidated by the sight of the rope for a multitude of reasons, including the height, the demand on grip strength, etc. While it may take time to develop the upper body pulling strength to climb a rope without leg assistance, never fear: you can learn techniques that will still allow you to climb efficiently.

If you are not sure whether or not you are strong enough (yet) to make an attempt at a rope climb, try out this test from Carl Paoli of GymnasticsWOD: On the rope, reach your hands as high up as you can, then pull your legs up into a hanging tuck that lasts at least five seconds. If that is manageable, then try pulling up into the tuck, and try extending each leg one at a time. If you can do this, then you have enough strength to rope climb.

Climbing the rope is about being able to do some sort of knees to elbows, and standing up. If you can raise your legs more than I’d say two inches you can climb. The true key to this is all about how you wrap your leg around the rope.

The first wrap is called the S-wrap, or at least that’s what I call it.

Step 1: Determine what foot you are going to wrap. Usually you will wrap the foot that you step out front of you during the jerk. If you don’t know what foot you jerk with, do a walking lunge right now. The foot you stepped out with is probably your dominant foot.

Step 2: Take the rope and feed inside your dominant thigh. At this point the rope will just be between your legs.

Step 3: From here wrap it around your dominant leg so that is laying on the top of your dominant foot.

Step 4: Step on it. You are now locked in. As long as you keep one foot on the other you are not going anywhere.

Now the S-wrap is incredibly secure but you may not feel comfortable climbing all the way to the top right away. That’s ok. There is an easy way to practice. Start off by reaching as high, on your tip toes. Then hang and find your lock. This will enable you to feel what it is like to be off the ground without being unsafe. Once you are comfortable with that, reach high [again], but this time bring your knees to your elbows and find your lock. From there stand up. You are now officially climbing the rope. From there reach high, and this next part is very important: Let go of your lock, bring your knees to your elbows, and find your lock again.

The next version is the J-Wrap:

  • Begin by standing beside the rope
  • Reach overhead and grab the rope as high as possible, with one hand above the other
  • Tuck dominant leg up to your chest and place vertical shin up against the rope
  • Lift opposite leg off the ground and sweep it around the back of the rope, wrapping it from under and up around the tucked foot
  • By keeping both feet always flexed you will be able to sweep, hook, and wrap the rope much easier
  • With the rope wrapped around the dominant foot, you can now stand on it
  • To secure the wrap, place your wrapping foot on top of the standing foot while keeping the wrap tight between both feet. Step firmly on the wrap.
  • Extend the tucked leg and push your body up by standing tall
  • Reach over head again and grab the rope as high as possible, with one hand above the other
  • Hold on tight and release the wrapping foot to allow the standing foot to free form the wrap.
  • Tuck that standing foot up again, sweep the and hook the rope with the other foot, and rewrap
  • Repeat stand and pull

Because the feet are in a slightly less stable grip than with the S-wrap, this style requires more upper body pulling strength; however, this method is faster when performed correctly. To descend, control the downward speed by spreading the rope apart with your feet as you quickly walk your hands down.

To descend, lock your feet in as you did when going up, sit down on your heels, and walk your hands down the rope.”

Here are a few tips to perfect your rope climb:

  • Use your feet and legs as much as possible! This not only makes climbing easier and faster, but safer as well.
  • Take the extra time to get a good “lock” with your feet and legs. If the rope is slipping between your feet, you are forced to use your upper body more than necessary to keep from sliding back down the rope.
  • Get as much distance with each pull as possible. To do this, bring your feet as high as you can each pull and then stand up and reach as high as you can for your next pull. Less pulls = less work and faster rope climbs!
  • Don’t just slide down the rope after you get to the top. Minimize rope burn by descending in a hand over hand fashion, while keeping your feet and legs on the rope for safety.
  • Lastly, wear pants or tall socks! Nobody likes rope burn!
  • (From Crossfit Rockwall)