Rope Climbing 101

Note: Rope climbing is a dangerous activity! We are providing this information for your entertainment. I all cases, you should have proper instruction, wear a safety helmet, and have a spotter.

Why climb a rope? Because it is a fantastic way to build upperbody and torso strength! Most branches of the armed forces include rope climbing as a part of their overall physical fitness and training program.

A 1" diameter twisted natural fiber rope is ideal. Many traditional-style gyms (high school, college, Y, etc.) have climbing ropes. Look around and you are sure to find a place to climb. If you do construct your own rope climb area, please make certain that a qualified individual assists in choosing the proper rope, setting the proper knots, and regularly inspecting the rope for wear and tear. The rope should be replace periodically, more frequently if it is outdoors and subject to weather and insects.

Once you have located a place to climb, here are a few pointers from Stew to help make your climbing safer and more effective.

Simply wrap the rope around your leg. (Rope goes around the inner-thigh between your legs - around your knee and calf on the outside of your leg and across the top of your boot.) With the other leg (unwrapped leg) clamp your foot onto the rope on your opposite foot. This will act as a brake and you can actually support yourself without using your hands and arms.

The technique used so you do not completely burn out your arms / grip is the Brake and Squat Technique. Climb up the rope by bending your legs sliding the rope across your foot by loosing the brake foot. Once you have moved about 1'-1.5' of rope across your foot, brake and straighten your legs. Now you are using your legs to get you up the rope. This does requires some amount of upperbody strength but will save your energy for the most important part of rope climbing - GETTING DOWN!

For more information on rope climbing, including Advanced Rope Climbing Techniques, read
The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness by Stewart Smith.



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