How To Climb A Rope

by Kristine Davenport

If you are like most people, the last time you attempted to climb a rope was in that middle school P.E. class and it was a terrible experience. With little instruction, you were left hanging on for dear and clambering to grasp the rope in between your feet. Ok, maybe your experience wasn’t quite so dramatic, but it probably didn’t leave you wanting to climb ropes for a living. The common misconception is that rope climbing requires tremendous upper body strength, and that is only true if you are doing it wrong or you are a gymnast trying to show off. In fact, when done correctly, rope climbing is an effective (and fun!) total body workout. Here are the steps to climbing a rope using the “S-Hook” method.

1.Stand with the rope in between your legs.

2.Hook the rope around the ankle and under the foot of your dominant leg, bringing the tail of the rope back between your legs.

3.Lay the tail of the rope over your other foot.

4.Place your non-dominant foot on top of the dominant one. This creates an “S-Hook” under one foot and over the other – a modification of the Navy SEAL J-Hook.

5.Reach up and pull your body weight up with your arms, loosening the s-hook with your feet, but keeping the hook formation and sliding your feet up.

6.Again, place your non-dominant foot on top of your dominant one to lock the S-Hook.

7.“Stand up” on your S-hook.

8.Repeat steps 5-7 until you have reached the top of the rope. You may rest at any time by locking in your S-Hook for a few seconds before reaching up and lifting yourself higher.

9.Once you have reached the top of the rope, descend by loosening your S-Hook somewhat (but still holding some friction for support) and walking your hands down the rope. If you start dropping too fast at any time you can simply lock in your S-hook to slow down your descent.

You will find that, by climbing a rope in this fashion, you will be engaging your core and leg muscles as much as, if not more than, your arm muscles, making rope climbing a great total body workout. Think of the weight distribution as 60% on your legs/core and 40% on your upper body as you complete the exercise.