Let’s face it. Climbing the rope without your legs is certainly not an easy task.
Surprisingly though, once you figure it out (that means lots of step number 1!) it becomes a lot less difficult. Here are 5 factors that are at play when it comes to climbing the rope with JUST your arms.
The obvious and most important factor is strength. You have to be strong in your arms, your back, your core, and your legs to be able to go up (and maybe back down again) all without the use of your legs..and in a pike position. It does take work to build your strength to this level, but if you’re a gymnast, the good news is that much of the strength you do at practice contributes to a successful no-leg rope climb.
2. Type of Strength
What type of strength helps, you ask? Again, if you’re in gymnastics, you’re probably doing a lot of what you need, including some rope climbing practice. You can always invest in a pull up bar for your home.
What I know for sure: Pull ups, pull ups, and more pull ups are a huge help.
Leg lifts, half left lifts, and L-hang hold also are great exercises that build your core muscles, and also help strengthen your leg muscles in the process. If you’ve mastered regular leg lifts, try only allowing your legs to go halfway down before lifting them back up again. Simple L-hang holds are a great help too, keeping your legs up in an L shape either while hanging on a bar, or propped up on each hand on the floor (blocks or parallettes work too.) Shoot for 10 seconds, and work your way up to 30 seconds or more.
3. Climbing technique: keeping the rope close to your chest and nose.
When you see people who are climbing the rope and struggling to pull themselves up, it’s actually because climbing the rope is incredibly hard to do when you’re reaching up high and then having to pull the rest of your body weight up with you. When you take small “steps,” keeping the rope between your nose and chest rather than allowing your arms to extend all the way up, it’s a lot easier to keep yourself going.
4. Take one step at a time.
It’s easy to look up, see that you have a long way to go, and then give up. You really have to focus on taking one step at at time – which is really great advice for pretty much anything you do in life!
5. Maintain your strength.
Once you’re able to go up and and down, congratulations! Maintaining your strength is key to endless anti-leg rope climbs for life! (or so I hope 😉
I know for a fact, however, that you don’t need to be gung-ho work out maniac to be able to keep up your rope climbing abilities.
After having my first baby, I was so worried about not being able to climb any more. As soon as I could, I got back to doing 3 sets of 5 pulls ups, 30 second L hang hold on a pull up bar (which I had to work back up to from L sits) and other types of leg strengthening for the third exercise.
What I found was that after a certain amount of time and effort, I was able to get back up to the top again, pike position and everything. If I can do it, post-baby and all, you can too!
Here is a video taken 7 months after having a baby, then another year later. Feel free to share your rope climbing stories too!