For some, rope climbing may look easy, but rest assured that they didn't just climb the rope when they first got started. Rope climbing is an intense workout that requires a specific technique (and lots of practice) to master.
But what about those kids in high school gym class who made rope climbing look like a walk in the park? Chances are these kids spent a lot of time in an environment where rope climbing was practiced. Ditto for regular CrossFit participants and elite athletes alike—lots of practice, so don't worry if you think it's too hard for you.
"Rope climbing isn't just for military personnel or elite athletes," said Joshua Fitchitt, senior director of fitness services at the PRO Club in Bellevue, WA. It is aimed at anyone who is looking for a fun exercise and wants to add variety to their exercise routine.
Here Fitchitt provides step-by-step guides that show you how to successfully climb a rope, one technique at a time!
Benefits of rope climbing
If you've ever tried climbing a rope, you know that it takes more than just grip strength to make your way up; It's more of a full body workout. “Efficient rope climbing engages the muscles in your lower body (quadriceps, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius),” says Fitchitt. And it doesn't stop there.
When climbing, the grip muscles and arm muscles are also used. t to mention the back and core.
"Rope climbing can significantly improve your overall fitness and physical ability," says Fitchitt, and can be incorporated into any exercise routine for an additional layer of full-body conditioning.
“It's a fun and challenging exercise that develops strength, improves grip and promotes coordination; When you can climb a rope, you feel empowered,” he adds.
So the next time you try to climb the rope, stick to these two techniques that will help you get to the top. Let's climb!
Before you begin, stock up on these rope climbing essentials
- gymnastics chalk: Made from the same magnesium carbonate formula climbers trust when their lives depend on a firm footing. This chalk quickly absorbs moisture from your hands, keeping you safe while climbing.
buy it: Rogue Gym Chalk – Magnesium Carbonate | Villain Fitness
- Liquid grip: If you don't want to constantly chalk, Liquid Grip is a one-off application while providing a moisture-free hold.
buy it: Liquid Grip – Weightlifting Accessories | Villain Fitness
- Climbing ropes*: If your gym doesn't provide rope, this selection will keep you safe on your ascent by providing the same dependable support and durability that has made classic Manila rope a staple of military bases and shipyards for decades have made.
buy it: Rogue Manila Climbing Ropes - Braided Eyelet - American Made | Villain Fitness
*Security note: Be sure to have a professional show you how to safely and properly secure your rope to prevent falls.
- climbing shoes: A reliable pair of training shoes like the Reebok Nano Classic will ensure your feet stay comfortable and light while you climb. This shoe features Floatride Energy foam for lightweight and responsive cushioning.
Buy it: Nano Classic Shoes Black | Reebok
The 6 best tips for faster and easier rope climbing
- First, sit on a box and practice the standing J-hook or standing Spanish wrap.
- It's important to be able to maintain pressure on the rope before standing up.
- One trick to make rope climbing easier is to start with a jump off the ground. This puts you higher up the rope and allows you to climb the rope faster. It also helps to wear long socks, a shin guard, or a knee sleeve on your shin to avoid rope friction burns.
- A good pair of cross trainers makes good footwear. Running shoes can often be shredded when learning to rope climb for the first time.
- When coming off the rope, use your feet to slow the descent.
- Do not hold the rope like a fire bar and do not slide down (this will cause rope burns on your hands).
With a little practice and the right techniques, you can make it from the bottom to the top rope in no time!
Step-by-step rope climbing techniques
Fitchitt explains that there are two techniques that people commonly use when learning to climb a rope for the first time: the J-hook technique and the Spanish warp technique.