How to Get Better at Rope Climbs

  2017-10-27 10:00AM
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Rope climbs have become one of the staple movements at the competitive level of CrossFit. It is one of the few movements that you can almost guarantee will show up at the CrossFit Regionals and the Games. Some form of rope climbs have been incorporated in every CrossFit Regional since 2013 and at every CrossFit Games since 2011. If you plan to compete at a high level, you better make sure you can climb the rope efficiently. Here are some keys needed to master rope climbing and progressions to improve each individual area:
  1.     Upper-body pulling (both dynamic and isometric strength): strict pull-ups (weighted); rope pull-ups; hand-over-hand sled drags; hand-over-hand negatives from the rope; bent-arm rope hangs
  2.     Grip strength and endurance: both 2-arm and 1-arm ring and rope hangs help with time under tension for grip strength; almost any variation of farmer’s carry
  3.     Coordination of lower body movements with the upper-body pulls (legless as you use your momentum to get up the rope): kip swing progression; rope kip swings
As with most gymnastics movements, it is necessary to start by building a foundation of strict strength to develop efficient rope climbs. Both grip strength and endurance are crucial to climbing the rope, especially in CrossFit where you are expected to perform under extreme fatigue. Athletes need to master the coordination of the lower body with the upper body to climb the rope with just their arms. Legless rope climbs require an extreme amount of strength, coordination, and skill, which explains why the top athletes are constantly tested with this movement. If you can hone in on these three areas, you will be monkeying your way up and down the rope!


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