If you're training for an obstacle race of some sort, then you'll likely need to climb a tall rope. Climbing a rope, like the pull-up or push-up, can be worked on, one exercise at a time. Here are the exercises that will prepare you for rope climbing and more.
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When you break down the rope climb, you primarily need two things: strong grip strength and arms, particularly your biceps and lat muscles, for holding yourself steady and then pulling yourself up. This article from Onnit Academy recommends the following to develop those muscles:
- Towel pull-ups: This mimics rope climbing when you don't have an actual rope to practice on. Hang a gym towel from a pull-up bar and grab hold of both ends. If you can't quite pull yourself up, work on simply hanging or negative pull-ups (see below). Alternatively, you can drape it over a lower hanging bar like a squat rack and pull yourself up from a seated position.
- Negative pull-ups: The negative part of a pull-up is the part where you lower yourself. The idea is to descend as slowly as possible, sometimes taking up to 20-30 seconds.
- Lat pull-downs: This is a fantastic exercise in general, but it's especially helpful for building lat strength. When building up your pulling strength, be stricter about not using your whole weight to pull down. In other words, really use those lats to perform the exercise.
- Seated-to-standing rope climb: If you have access to a rope, you can practice the actual motion of pulling yourself up a rope. Start from a seated position on the floor, then inch your hands up, pulling yourself off the floor, up to a standing position (or as high as you can go).
Other exercises you can do include close-grip chin-ups, Farmer's carries (for grip strength and total-body stability), and leg raises.
The Top 5 Exercises for Rope Climbing [Onnit Academy]