Combat Sports Project Est.2012
Combat Sports Project Est.2012

Rope climbing protocols

Best Sapper Competition 2010


Today, I would like to share my thoughts about one of the best exercises, to complement grappling training- the rope climbing.

Every jacket wrestling style requires a lot of strength and endurance in the gripping and pulling department.

Most of the preparation protocols for Judo, SAMBO and BJJ include rubber band pulls, chin ups, deadlift, power clean and of course, rope climbing.

In this short article, I would like to offer you a few simple ways to build a rope climbing protocol, including weights and intervals, in order to improve the athlete’s performance.

Now let’s start with the simple 5 meters rope climbing- once you are able to climb up and down several times, we could make the things a bit more difficult, by ascending with the lead of only the left or the right hand.

In case bodyweight climb is too easy, we can wear weighted vest or attach weights to the back of the athlete. I personally know a SAMBO world champ, who use to climb several times, with a 32 kg kettlebell attached to each of his legs (his personal bodyweight was around 85 kg at that time).

We could even use two parallel ropes- one for each hand and climb without the help of the legs.

Once the normal climbs are mastered, we can start making the things more complicated.

Let’s set a time limit of 5 minutes and include a barbell. If in a normal workout routine we need to focus on lower and upper push and pull compound movements, now we can use the idea for building circuits, where one of the lifts will be done with heavy weights, the other one will be anaerobic exercise and we could include one or two more assisting exercises.

So here is an example:

A. Squat (use 80% of 1 MR) x 2 reps

B. Rope climbing 5 meters

C. Shoulder press x 6 reps


A. Rope climbing 5 meters

B. Weighted dips x 5 reps

C. Power clean (use 80% of 1 MR) x 2- 3 reps

Considering that you don’t want to be hanging 5 meters above the ground with completely fried NCS or hand grip, please pick your weights very carefully and keep your ego at the bay. In the end of the day, our objective is to get stronger, not to break our necks.

Enjoy and safety first!


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