How to Rope Climb

Master this challenging obstacle

How to Rope Climb - Master this challenging obstacle
For a many female racers, the rope climb is their least favorite of the obstacles. Even if you are a champion at it in the gym, the rope climb can be a killer on race day. You see, once you add elements like mud, water, fatigue and weather, the otherwise easy rope climb can become more challenging. Luckily, most of the races have knotted ropes, which help make climbing it a little easier!


How to Rope Climb - Master this challenging obstacle1. Grab the rope with both hands above the highest knot possible.
2. Pull down on the rope while jumping a bit to lift your self into the air (or out of the water pit).
3. Reach up as high as you can with your arms and grip the rope tightly.
4. Using your core (abdominal muscles) bring your knees up to your chest finding the highest comfortable knot with your feet.
5. Pinch the arches of your shoes around the knot to cup it and give you a platform to stand on.
6. Stand up with your legs and re-reach as high as possible with your arms.
7. Repeat step 4-7 until you reach the top of the rope. In many races, you will ring a bell at the top.
8. Use the knots to climb down. Lower your body knot-by-knot. If you are afraid of heights, you can literally sit on the knots as you lower yourself down.


With these few suggestions, you can greatly increase your success on race day!

TIP 1: The first tip is to try to avoid getting your hands wet before attempting to climb the rope. In most races, the ropes are placed above a watery pit. As the weather this fall turns colder, so does the water. If you can avoid getting your hands and arms wet, you can often avoid the dreaded hand cramp while climbing the rope.

TIP 2: The second tip is to try to make your shoes as clean as possible before climbing the rope. A muddy shoe can equal a slippery rope! Try to knock any excess mud off your shoes before attempting to climb. This is especially important for the sides of the shoes. With clean feet, you will be a much happier racer. Finally below are a few tips to help in the gym in preparation for your next race.


If your gym has ropes to practice climbing, use them. It’s always best to use the actual obstacle you will encounter in a race. If your training space does not have a readily accessible rope to climb, you can work on a variety of shoulder press exercises as well as pull-ups, as both will help build your upper body strength. A good range of motion and flexibility will help you maneuver up the knots as well.

That’s the dirt for this week. Next week we talk about how to adjust your race day clothing as the weather starts to get colder.

Margaret Schlachter

Margaret Schlachter, the first professional female obstacle course racer, is a top ranked athlete in the Reebok Spartan Race series. She is also an endurance athlete specializing in ultra trail running races, a Spartan SGX Coach, and a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. She founded, a leading source for all things obstacle course racing and endurance sports. For more information on Margaret, her upcoming book and online coaching services.

Margaret's book "Obstacle Race Training: How to Beat any Course, Compete Like a Champion and Change Your Life" is available for PRE-SALE! Click HERE to reserve your copy.

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