The Rope Climb is one of the hardest obstacles in any Obstacle Course Race Series and for some it’s harder to conquer than others. The rope climb has two factors you need to conquer before you’re able to complete this obstacle. First off, which comes down to the individual, is a fear of heights. Unfortunately we don’t have any tricks for helping with that, except for don’t look down. The second factor is physical; this is where we come in.
The rope climb has many components all working at the same time to conquer one goal. We need grip strength to grab on tightly to that rope so we don’t slide. We require upper body strength to pull ourselves up. We need core strength to be able to bring our feet as high as possible. We also need the wrap technique so we can grip that rope with confidence and not slip down, resulting in burpees.
Let’s start off with some upper body work. To help develop the strength we need to pull ourselves up let’s look at one of the best exercises anyone can do; the pull up. The pull up is the perfect exercise for building that strong back to help pull ourselves up and if we switch to a supinated grip, the chin up, we now activate our biceps as well as our back. To make this even harder and to work your grip strength, try towel pull ups.
Now for some core strength. A great exercise to work your entire core is double crunches. What’s a double crunch you ask? Start out laying on your back, legs extended out, heels off the ground and hands beside your head. Now perform a crunch and at the same time, bring your knees towards your chest. Want to work your grip at the same time? Try hanging knee raises.
Last, but most important: the foot wrap. There are two techniques;
First is the leg wrap. Wrap the rope around your leg pressing the rope onto the top of your foot.
The other is the foot wrap or J-Hook. With the rope on the outside of your right leg (or left for preference), using the other foot, swoop under the rope and pulling it up with the top of your foot then pressing it onto your other foot.
Once you have the rope in place, bring your knees up to your chest and press on the rope. At the same time, press with your legs and pull yourself up.
Once fully extended, do it all over until you reach the top. On your way down, slightly separate your feet allowing the rope to slide smoothly through the J-Hook, while at the same time hand over hand lowering yourself. DO NOT slide down the rope. You will regret it.
Want to practice? Visit us at OCR Academy today!
James is a CanFitPro Certified and SGX Level 1 Certified Personal Trainer at OCR Academy. When he’s not training athletes and academics, he’s creating healthy, delicious meals for many athletes with Evolvd Nutrition. Look out for James in the upcoming race season, he’s going for the podium.