How To Rope Climb | The Complete Guide
The Rope Climb is one of the most common obstacles in an obstacle race. It may seem intimidating at first, but with the right technique, you can conquer this obstacle without breaking a sweat.
I recommend everyone to learn the rope climb technique even if you can climb the rope with just your arms. In most obstacle races, the rope will probably be wet and muddy, your arms maybe unless in those conditions. You will be glad that you learned the rope climb technique.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
How to rope climb
Table of Content
- Type of shoes
- Rope Climb Progression
- Strength Training For Rope Climb
- Bonus Tips
- Trail shoes
- Long socks to protect those shins
- A climbing rope
- Bench, chair or a box
Type of shoes
During practice, it is best to mimic the same condition you will face during the race. This includes being able to climb the rope in a fatigued state and the type of shoes you will be wearing.
Avoid wearing foam base shoes as you might damage them when climbing up the rope. The best type of shoes to wear is trail running shoes, ideally, the same pair that you will be wearing for your race.
The J-hook technique is the most common technique used to climb the rope. It is fast and easy to secure. However, there is a slightly higher learning curve when compared to the S-hook.
The S-hook is easier to learn when compared to the J-hook. However, it is slower and it has a higher risk of abrasion, especially at the back of your thigh. I do not recommend this technique, but if you are interested to learn, here’s how you do it.
Rope Climb Technique Progression
I have broken the entire process into 3 simple steps. I highly recommend you to master each step before moving onto the next step. Take time to learn and try not to rush the process.
Step 1 – J-Hook mastery
Start by practicing the leg lock technique on a bench/box. The purpose of this drill is for you to learn how to set up the leg lock without having to dead hang on the rope. This will allow you to keep practicing without wearing out your hands.
Apply some weight onto the rope after every J-hook attempt to ensure that it is properly locked. Once you can secure the rope, try repeating the leg lock 3 consecutive times without looking at it.
Step 2 – Bench to Stand
Now that you have learned how to perform the leg-lock, it is time to test whether the rope is secured or not.
When you stand on the rope, try not to rely too much on your arms. If the leg-lock is secure, you should be able to stand on the rope without sliding down. However, if you slide down, repeat step 1 until you can perform a perfect lock.
Step 3 – Hands up, Knees up & Stand up
Alright, this is the last step.
There are 3 things you need to remember when climbing the rope – Hands-up, Knees-up & Stand-up.
For beginners, I recommend getting comfortable with climbing halfway up first and practice coming down. Make sure there is someone near to spot you.
To come down, simply repeat step 3, but in reverse. Hands down, Knees straight, Squat Down.
Strength Training for Rope Climb
The rope climb doesn’t require much strength if you have the proper technique. However, having a strong upper body and good rope climb technique guarantee that you’ll never fail this obstacle again!
Here are some simple exercises you can do at the end of your workout to help you nail that rope climb.
Practice using a towel if you don’t have access to a rope
Ascending Incline Rope Pull: 3 Set of 10 Rep
Dead hang on a rope: 3 Set of 30 Second
Ascending Rope Pull: 3 Set of 10 Rep
Hanging Knee Tuck on rope: 3 Set of 30 Second
Bonus Tips: 3 Common Rope Climb Mistakes
But wait! There’s more! Here are 3 common mistakes to avoid when climbing up the rope.
Mistake Number 1: Standing away from the anchor point
When you are about to climb the rope, make sure you stand directly underneath the anchor point. Standing away from the center of mass will cause you to swing when you start your climb.
Mistake Number 2: Not bringing knees up higher
The higher you lift your knees, the more distance you will cover each step. This will reduce the total amount of time you spend on the rope.
Mistake Number 3: Rushing Step 1
We all want to progress fast, but it is important to learn how to properly execute the leg-lock before advancing to the next step. Poor technique will just make the rope climb tougher.
If you’re unsure about any of this stuff, it might be worth working with a professional and help you master the rope climb.
What is the toughest part about the rope climb in a Spartan Race?