Rope Climbing WOW

By Spartan Spencer

Have you signed up for an obstacle race this summer and are worried about the rope climb? We asked our obstacle race expert for his best tips on beating the rope in your next race!

Beat the Rope

One of the most notorious obstacles in obstacle racing is the rope climb. Most people haven’t encountered a rope climb since they were in gym class in middle school, which means that most people don’t practice climbing rope before entering their first obstacle course race.

Core Power high protein recovery shakes rope climbing workout
The thing about the rope climb that makes it especially difficult is all of the variables that come with it. Most of the time the rope is above a water pit, meaning that unless you are one of the first racers to touch it, it is likely going to be wet and muddy. Another variable is whether or not the rope has knots on it. The best way to prepare for these variables is by practicing beforehand, and learning a technique known as the “j-hook”.

How to Perform the J-Hook

1-Start by facing the rope and grabbing high. Let the rope hang down on the outside of your dominant leg. Lift your dominant leg and use your other foot to hook the rope under your dominant foot until your feet are side by side with the rope clamped between them.

Rope 2


2-Once you have the rope clamped between your feet, climbing is a lot easier because you can
utilize your leg strength. Slightly spread your feet apart and pull your knees towards your chest
while keeping the rope in the same position with your feet. Now all you have to do is “stand up”
and reach higher on the rope, rather than needing to pull all of your bodyweight with your arms.

3-To come down, slightly spread your feet apart while keeping the same position, and lower your
body down one hand at a time. If you need to stop and take a break, tighten that grip with your
feet and now you can rest your hands.

Introduce the J-Hook into your obstacle racing training routine and fear not the mighty rope!

Beat The Rope WOW

Do this routine at least once a week in the weeks before your race to build strength and confidence with the rope.

Rope WOW


Spencer’s Bio

I ran my first Spartan Race in August 2012. At the time I was an obsessive smoker (legal & illegal), but all of a sudden this one race changed everything. By January 2013 I had quit smoking and started training in a gym, running in the woods, and being more aware of what I was eating. In 2013 I took on the Boston Sprint, Tri-State Super, and Vermont Beast to earn my Spartan Trifecta. In 2014 I ran in 20 Spartan Races, receiving 4 Trifectas.

Follow Spartan Spencer on his website and Facebook page

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