Conquering Your First Rope Climb
Editor’s note: This post was written by Bo Francy (EPIC Trainer) and owner of Evolve Nutrition & Fitness in San Diego, CA.
As an EPIC athlete are you tired of climbing the cargo net? Have you always wanted to conquer the rope climb, but never felt you had the strength or technique to do so?
While many individuals believe upper body strength is the most important aspect to climb a rope, so is using your legs and core. Rope climbing is an exercise that requires use of all major muscle groups. Until recent years rope climbing was generally used by high school P.E. classes, military service members, and first responders. However due to the rapid expansion of CrossFit and obstacle course racing, you can see individuals rope climbing in most privately-owned training facilities.
Below I will explain step by step how I have personally helped many of my clients conquer the dreaded rope climb. As your EPIC Trainer, my job is you help you safely navigate and complete each course in a timely manner. So, if you are gearing up for your first EPIC Race or simply just want to expand your training program, start including the below exercises to help you successfully climb your first rope.
Rope climbing does require a great deal of upper body, lower body, and grip strength. Below, I have included 3 exercises which I personally believe you as an athlete should incorporate into your training program to complete your first climb in no time.
Exercise 1: Seated Rope Sled Pulls
Seated Rope Sled Pulls is a great addition to your training programs to build a stronger back, shoulders, core, biceps, and grip. Depending on the amount of weight you are pulling you may be required to engage you legs as well to help stabilize your body. I personally have my clients pull the sled to their feet and perform a low push to move the sled back to its original starting point.
Exercise 2: Standing/Seated Pull Downs
Standing Pull Downs: An amazing exercise which mimics the upper body movement during a climb. This exercise can be easily manipulated to make it more challenging by wrapping the rope around the bar multiple times or attaching a kettlebell or dumbbell to the end of the rope. The focus of the Standing/Seated Pulls Downs is building strength within the arms, lats, and core. The Battle Ropes Standing Pull Downs really work your arms, lats, and core. You may at some point engage your legs to help you as your increase the workload. Always be sure to engage your abs as this will protect your lower back.
Exercise 3: Reverse Plank Rope Walks
Reverse Plank Rope Walks: I truly believe this exercise is a great upper body and grip strength exercise. This exercise is performed starting in the upright position and slowly walking your hands back, hand over hand, until you are holding a reverse plank. This movement requires a great deal of grip strength, core stability, and focus. Like many exercises, you can make this exercise as difficult as you would like by adding dumbbells or resistance bands during the movement. Once again always be sure to engage your abs as this will protect your lower back.
If you begin incorporating the above exercises into your workout regime, you will see massive increases in strength, stability, and grip strength within weeks. Make sure you are progressively increasing the intensity and weight of each exercise. So if you are looking to complete your first rope climb, run an EPIC race, or just looking to expand your training program for serious strength gains, include the above three exercises into your EPIC training routine.
I will see you all out on the course up in LA on May 6th! if you have questions about programming, training tips, or nutrition, send me a private message and I will get you an answer ASAP!
Stay tuned for my next blog on rope climbing foot work and technique.