How To Get Better Grip Strength For Rope Climbs

How To Get Better Grip Strength For Rope Climbs
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This month we’ve learned that every type of grip is a bit different. We’ve worked on crush grip, support grip, pinch grip and open hand grip. Now let’s look at something that’s a bit of an oddball: the grip you need to hold onto something vertical, like a rope.

Your grip strength in the other areas will help you here, but your wrist is in a different position. If the thing you’re grabbing is fairly thick, like a big ol’ climbing rope, your open hand strength is especially important.

That said, it’s good to train for the specific thing you want to do. So if you want to get better at climbing ropes or holding onto something that puts your hand in a similar position (tug-of-war, vertical bar deadlifts), you have to train it that way.

Towels are your friend

There’s an easy way to work on this grip without needing a rope: just use a towel. You may need to experiment with the different towels in your closet to find something the right length and thickness, so if you’re packing a few in your gym bag, remember to bring a selection.

Here are a few ways to use towels to support your own body weight. As with pull-ups, you can make this easier by supporting your feet on a box, a band, or on the floor if you use a low enough bar.

  • Throw a towel over a pull-up bar. Hang on to one end with each hand. Do pull-ups if you like. (You can also use two towels if you’d like to space them apart.

  • Throw one towel over a pull-up bar, and hold both ends with the same hand. Do pull-ups or hangs with one hand grabbing the towel, the other hand on the bar like normal.

  • With one towel on the pull-up bar, grab it with both hands, like you would a rope. Again, do pull-ups or hangs.

Or, flip it around. Stand up and use the towels to hold on to weights, and do farmer’s holds or carries. Thread a towel through:

  • the handle of a kettlebell

  • the handle of a grip plate (those barbell plates that are built with spaces in them)

  • the centre of a plate (you may need a long and thin towel for this)

…or nestle a dumbbell carefully in the fold of a towel, like it’s lounging in a hammock. However you make it happen, the idea is to hold a towel-supported weight in each hand, and walk around with it. Give it a try and let us know how it goes!

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