For many new athletes, walking into a box and seeing the climbing rope hanging from the rafters can be very intimidating. It's not something that is trained very often but there is a technique to climbing rope and we've got some tips to get you started off right.
For those just learning the skill it is best to have 18"-24" of rope slack lying on the ground. Having this slack allows the climber to get confidence in the technique without being under strain of holding themselves up on the rope.
The secret is in the position of the feet.
Pinching the rope properly between your feet is critical to climbing rope successfully and avoiding unnecessary injury and rope burns. Legs play the bigger role by far in getting the body to the top. If your foot position is wrong, your arms will tire quickly being forced to do the majority of the work and your shins and ankles will take serious damage from rope burns.
The climbing rope needs to be sandwiched between the top of one foot and the bottom of the other and to provide the most control in moving up the rope, wind it one half turn aound your leg. This will keep the rope guided as you make your ascent.
The hands are used only as stabilizers to keep your upper body in position as you lift your feet and re-anchor. The rope climb is accomplished by pushing down with the anchored feet, then re-grabbing the rope with the hands.
Most shin and hand damage comes from the descent, not the climb. It's after you reach the top that you've got to be careful. Yes - we want to get down quickly to get to the next rep, but injury is most common now. While keeping the rope sandwiched between the feet, loosen the grip with the feet so that the rope can move more freely. Now, don't loosen the grip with the hands or you will slide down the rope like a fire pole. Hand injuries and shin injuries follow. Rather, descend the rope the the hand over hand method. One hand always keeps a tight grip on the rope, the other re-grips the rope after the arm is extended.