5 Reasons to Try These Novel Strict Rope Climb Variations

A major theme for shoulder health is the introduction of more horizontal pulling variations.  This holds especially true in the off-season as we are trying to work in multiple planes and build back balance after a rigorous in-season.  Generally most of our programs are heavily loaded with overhead pull variations (pull-ups, toes to bar, muscle-ups, rope climbs etc.) but lack horizontal pulling.

One great exercise I don’t see people perform often enough are horizontal rope climb variations.  They’re fun, easily scalable for a large group training class, train the heck out of your grip and are a nice horizontal pull variation.  These are also great drills to help build proficiency for legless rope climbs and serve as an easy scale for those who can’t perform them yet.  Check out the video below:

So here are a few good reasons to try these exercises:

  1. Easy scale for athletes unable to perform legless rope climbs
  2. Good progression to build toward rope climbing ability
  3. Horizontal row variation to help build scapular retractors and balance shoulder musculature
  4. Easy scale for rope climbs in group settings
  5. Nice graded strengthening exercise for those with medial elbow pain returning to sport

Give these a shot and let me know what you think.

The old rope-a-dope,

Dan Pope, DPT, OCS, CSCS

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