Photo Credit: https://www.muddyrace.co.uk

I was first introduced to the Low Rope obstacle of the Standard Obstacle Course (SOC) during Basic Military Training (BMT). Low rope is equivalent to the ‘Rope Climb’ in Obstacle Course Racing (OCR). In this article, I’m going to share a technique I’ve used to overcome this obstacle.

8. Low Rope. Photo Credit: https://www.healthxchange.sg

Either you have really strong upper body strength to muscle your way up the rope, or, if upper body strength is not your forte (fret not!) consider using this technique.

This technique will require:
1) Grip strength
2) Negative pull-up hold
3) Control
4) Abdominal (core) strength
5) Quadriceps strength
6) Feet curling technique

The technique I’m going to share can be summed up to 3 steps:

1) Jump

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Jump as high as possible and grab the rope at the highest point possible within your reach. Stretch out your arms above your head simultaneously while you perform the jump, and allow yourself some air time before setting your grip on the rope. Maintain grip and exercise good control with minimal movements of your body (Do this as light as possible with good control so you don’t expend your energy with attempts to stabalise the rope). You’d require grip strength, a negative pull-up hold, and control to perform this step.

A gymnast on rings represent good control. Photo Credit: nbcolympics.com

2) Tuck

This is a very important aspect of overcoming this obstacle. This is how you will cover the vertical distance of the rope. The tighter that you can tuck your knees to your chest, the less repetitions you’ll need to get to complete this obstacle (signified by the ringing of a bell located at the top of the rope). You’d require a strong core and quads perform this step.

Remember: It’s Knees to Chest! Photo Credit: https://www.12minuteathlete.com

3) Curl

The curling technique will secure your feet tight, so you’ll have a stable base to step on, to advance on your vertical distance. This should be done in concurrent with the tuck, or immediately after the tuck. You’d require the feet curling technique to perform this step. 

You can practice this feet curl technique using any kind of flexible rope. You can do it while sitting down as well. The point is to practice this technique until it become a muscle memory. When you have this step checked, you can work on the first 2 steps, which is 1) Jump and 2) Tuck.

Feet Curl Technique. Photo Credit: http://www.obstacleracers.com.au

I hope this technique that I’ve shared will help you sharpen your low rope and rope climb skills which can be useful when you have to: 1) Complete your SOC requirements, 2) Clear the Rope Climb obstacle during your next obstacle course race, and 3) Whenever you need to climb a rope in any circumstance.  This technique works for me, and I hope it’ll for you too.

You can do it too!

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