CrossFit Rope Climb - 2 ways to the top

Rope climbing is a common movement in CrossFit. While every true Singaporean man has learned it during his service, in the heat, in th middle of the night and with a 10 kilo backpack even, many CrossFit beginner struggle with this exercise. But with sound technique, everyone can manage to climb up to the top - even without the strength for a pull up. When done properly, the rope climb is not a pull but a knees2elbow-squat combination.

There are two common rope climb techniques.


Rope Climb Wrapping technique

The rope goes in between the legs, first around the inner right tight, than wrapped around the right calve and finally around the shin and top of the right foot. Now, step the left foot on the right. By this, you created a step and the required pulling strength from the torse (back and arms) is minimized.

To make your way up, keep bringing your knees to the chest, reset the wrapp and stand tall again. If done correctly, you should be able to climb to standard rope height in 3 to maximum 4 wraps.

Wrapping - The Pro´s

  • very safe
  • safes grip strength

Wrapping - The Con´s

  • slow in the set up
  • knees can only be pulled to chest height
  • risk of wounds on shin and inner tight

The Wrapping is suitable for ...

... beginner who feel insecure with the rope, and for long WOD´s with high rep rope climbs, long ropes, thick ropes and/or combination with other grip intense exercises (pull ups, hang clean and snatches ...)


Rope Climb J-Hook technique

Have the rope at the outside of your right foot. Grap the rope with the left foot so it sits on the foot´s top. Press both feet together in order to create your "step".

When starting the J-Hook climb, pull your knee towards your elbows and set up the hook. From this squatting-like position, stand all the way up, make your body really long and reset.

J-Hook - The Pro´s

  • fast to set up
  • enables knees2elbow - climb the rope with lesser pulls

J-Hook - The Con´s

  • less safe
  • more grip strength required

The J-Hook is suitable for ...

... experienced CrossFitter with well devoloped upper body strength, short and fast WOD´s with low reps


Btw: I keep writing to use the right leg as the major one, but if ou feel more comfortable in wrapping/hooking around the left one (which I see rarely but it happens), fell free to do so.


I can´t climb a rope - afraid of heights!

I am extremly scared of heights - climbing a rope is still not an issue. Trust in your instincts: You will never let go at top at the rope.

If your head is really holding you back, start with climbing to a height you feel comfortable with. You will get used to hanging in the air easily. I promise