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Most athletes dread rope climbs for a number of reasons. They’re perceived as difficult, some people have a fear of heights or falling and the hated rope burn is a common side effect. This, in turn, results in people disregarding the benefits of rope climbs as an exercise in general — and avoiding training it completely.

The Benefits of Rope Climbing

Climbing a rope isn’t merely about pulling strength. It encompasses your entire upper body (like your lats), coordinating with your lower body and practicing your grip strength. Once you get really good at them, you can even graduate to legless rope climbs. It hopefully goes without saying that the strength, speed and coordination you improve while doing rope climbs translates to many other arenas of your training.

WODs With Rope Climbs

If you’re ready to take the challenge and conquer weaknesses, here are some WODs that involve rope climbs.

1. 31 Heroes

AMRAP (with a partner) in 31 minutes

  • 8 thrusters (155/105 lb)
  • 6 rope climbs (15 ft)
  • 11 box jumps (30/24 in)

Partner 1 performs the workout listed above. Partner 2 runs 400 meters with a sandbag (45/25 lbs). When Partner 2 returns from the run, Partner 1 will grab the sandbag and begin their 400-meter run, while Partner 2 continues the workout where Partner 1 left off.

rope climbs

2. Thanksgiving Day Workout

Done for time

5 rounds of:

  • 1 rope climb
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 air squats

4 rounds of:

  • 8 HSPU
  • 15 KB swings

3 rounds of:

  • 15 box jumps
  • 10 DB snatch

2 rounds of:

  • 30 OH walking lunges
  • 30 Abmat sit-ups

1 round of:

  • 40 burpees

3. Brian

3 rounds for time of:

  • 5 rope climbs
  • 25 back squats

Rx weight is 185lbs

4. Stop N Go

3 rounds for time of:

  • 3 rope climbs
  • 9 front squats (165lb/115lb)
  • 15 HSPU

5. River Monsters

3 sets, not for time, of:

  • 10 HSPU
  • 30 double-unders
  • 1 rope climb

2000m row – time trial

These workouts vary in difficulty, intensity and length. Choose one that best suits your level of fitness and goals. If you’re not confident in your skills just yet, focus on practicing your rope climb first. Surely, you’ll feel the results yourself.