I love rope climbing because it picks up on one of the cool “new” concepts in fitness: PLAY! Going back to playing may not be exactly high tech, but it’s pretty awesome that some of the things that we enjoyed doing when we were younger, that helped us develop our coordination, stability and baseline strength, can still be very beneficial in our training. And enjoying our workouts and actually having fun is not such a bad thing. Think back to all those fun things that we did in P.E. class like sprint drills, balance games, peg boards and the topic of this tutorial: the rope climb!
Mud, Obstacles, and Ropes
In the past year we’ve seen phenomenal growth in the popularity of races that challenge you way behind just running for 5k or 10k. Tough Mudders, Warrior Dashes, Tarzan Cups – people all over the world are signing up to crawl through mud, dash over walls, swing through monkey bars, and shimmy up ropes. Whether you are planning to give an obstacle race a try; are contemplating trying out for American Ninja Warrior; or just want to develop killer grip strength and super hero lats and biceps, the climbing ropes should be in everybody’s training tool box.
I constantly emphasize that simplicity can be one of the most effective ways to train, and that you don’t need any fancy gadgets to get a ripped body. If you’re really into bodyweight training or calisthenics, an actual playground can be a worthy adversary when developing a perfectly functional and symmetrical physique. One of the reasons I like the climbing rope so much is that it fits in here so perfectly – a rope is an easy tool to carry with you and throw over a tree limb on a beautiful day at the park.
Climbing Progressions and the S-HookSince climbing is considered a vertical pulling pattern, it’s a great alternative to your basic Pull-Up or Chin-Ups. And, with its different progressions, it offers new challenges all of its own. With rope climbing we want to eventually get to the point to where you can climb the rope using only your arms. Once you can do that, we want to further progress to where the lower body is in a straddle L position with the knees totally extended at hip height and the toes pointed. Until you get to this progression, there are many ways to use the legs to assist in your climb.
The technique we are using in this video is the S Hook. It’s an easy way to get started and proves to be a total body exercise. We will cover other hook techniques in future videos. The key with the S Hook is that by looping the rope around one foot (in the form of an S) and standing on that with the other foot, we create a strong, stable base from which to climb. The legs are able to assume much of your bodyweight, allowing you to build upper body strength while practicing your climbing.
GBT Ropes and the Eye Loop
Some of you may know that we have been offering Fitness Ropes through our GBT site for quite some time now. We’re really excited to be able to start offering the same quality in climbing ropes, and are officially launching the new product with to coincide with this post and video. (See the new Rope Climbing page here).One of the features that sets our ropes apart from many others is that they all come with a soft “Eye Loop,” where the attachment end is braided back into itself to form a 6” loop, via a splicing technique. This makes any rigging equipment completely unnecessary. The eye loop is designed to allow you to just drape the rope over any sturdy object and thread the opposite end of the rope through the loop and pull it through until it’s snug. Now you’ve got a completely portable climbing rope that you can bring with you anywhere that you decide to get your BW training on. You can see more pictures of what we mean on the Climbing Ropes page.
Stay tuned for more climbing rope tutorials that will help you progress all the way to that arms-only climb. And, be sure to pick up one of your own if you don’t have one already!
Want to check out another option for training with ropes? See our article and video about using fitness/exercise ropes as undulating or power ropes: Fitness Ropes for Serious Warrior Conditioning