5 key tips for better rope climbs

Scaling ropes is one of the new trends CrossFit has helped to make ‘cool’, and I couldn’t be happier.

More than dangling from a bar pumping your arms to shift your body weight, climbing a rope engages every muscle in your body if you do it right.


Though some movements like legless rope climbs are designed to burn your arms out, the full body blast requires a few points of technique, but opens options to other variations, like the poses you may see pole dancers getting up to… Well, if you use Gymbox 😉

I took a few lessons with the masters – The Royal Marines Commando in Lympstone.

Cling on with your thighs and feet

Approach the rope like you’re kicking a ball with your shin, says Sgt Vandenberg grip the rope with your hands and bring your other foot over, clinching the rope between your lower thigh, and the sides of your feet. Squeeze your legs and glutes to hold on and engage your lower body.

Use your legs more than your arms

As if you’re doing a crunch, release your thighs and bring your knees up to your elbows holding on with extended arms. Regain your grip with your thighs and feet while you hold on with your hands.

Kick your whole body to thrust upwards

Once you’ve regained grip between your thighs and feet, kick your legs out arching your back  to straighten and thrust your body up the rope in a continuous motion until your reach the top.

Don’t pace yourself

AND CERTAINLY DON’T STOP! Approach the rope like a power exercise – you can’t do a snatch or a clean slowly. This approach engages your core, legs, arms and back as you power up the rope.

Control your decent

Don’t go slowly, and don’t just slide down the rope. Ease your grip with your legs and lower yourself down with your arms. Like any eccentric contraction, you’ll engage more muscle fibres if you take as much care on the way down, as you do on the way up.

When you master this, you’ll be able to bring in variations like armless or legless poses.




*May cause bruising on the inner thighs*

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