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Rope Climb

Rope climbs are a fun addition to your training and require nothing more than a climbing rope (well, maybe some chalk). Most notably, rope climbs build grip strength—especially if legless rope climbs are prescribed—as well as upper body pulling strength, core strength, and coordination. 

Set-Up: Grip the rope overhead. Keep the rope along the center of your body.

Execution: For “Wrapping” (considered a faster method of rope climbing): Lift one leg (knee bent). Get the rope on the outside of the foot of your lifted leg. Keep a tight grip on the rope. Lift your standing leg so the foot of the standing leg meets the bottom of the rope. Pinch the rope between your feet. Pull with your arms while standing on the rope to extend your hips and legs. Reach your arms overhead, grip the rope, and release the wrap to repeat. Spread your feet to slide down the rope.

For “Basket” or “S Wrap” (considered the safer but slower method of rope climbing): Wrap the rope (rope goes on the inside of the leg) on top of your dominant-leg’s foot. Use your free foot to step on the rope—this pinches the rope between your feet. Kick your legs out into an “L” shape. Pull your body towards the rope with your arms while extending your hips and legs. Reach your arms overhead, grip the rope, and release the wrapped rope to repeat.

If a WOD calls for “Legless Rope Climbs” you may not use either the “Wrapping” or “Basket” style as your legs can’t be used at all. 

Points of Performance: To get a “good rep,” ensure the following:
– You climb to reach the required height (usually 15’) with one hand
– Check the WOD standards to see if: (1) it’s permitted to jump up to the rope, and/or (2) you must descend to a certain rope height before you can drop
– The method of rope climbing normally doesn’t matter unless “Legless Rope Climbs” are prescribed 

Pro-Tip: For faster and more efficient legless rope climbs, focus on a short, fast kip (much like the kip during kipping dips) instead of a big kipping swing. Grab the rope, bring the knees up just past hip height (a partial knees-to-elbows), and kick the legs to rapidly extend the hips upward. During the upward momentum, reach and grab the rope to ascend.

Rope Climb Demos

The Rope Climb (Basket)
How to Do a Rope Climb by Wodstar
The Rope Climb (Wrapping)

Rope Climb Scaling & Progressions

Rope Climbs for Pull Up Progressions - Skills School
Rope Climb Progressions
How To Climb a Rope - 11 Rope Climb Variations

Rope Climb Warm-Ups

General Rope Climb Warm up/ Progression