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climbing ropes

Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:00 pm
by robertscott
if your gym had a rope you could climb, would you climb it?

If you did it, and climbed using only your arms, do you think it'd be a good replacement for chins?

the reason I ask is my gym has started doing crossfit-style classes, so there's a rope always set up. I think it could be pretty cool. I bet it would build big strong forearms too.

Re: climbing ropes

Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:08 pm
by Dub
We have a rope in our gymnasticks end of the running tracks.
I rarely climbed it since I lacked the strength, but hell yeah it was a great exercise. For grip, biceps and back mostly.
It's practically the same mechanics as in chins, so why not? It could bring your chins some fresh progress. You could try it out for some weeks. Then when you're good enough it could be great to build it to one-armed pulls.

Re: climbing ropes

Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:17 pm
by robertscott
aye I'm just not sure how I'd programme it. I reckon it'd toast my biceps faster than my back so I don't know if it could replace chins, but then I couldn't really do it after chins so I dunno.

decisions, decisions

Re: climbing ropes

Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:27 pm
by hoosegow
Play around with it as a finisher. Do everything you normally do and then try climbing normally and then just your arms. I'd bet you'd get stronger in all your lifts.

And no, I wouldn't do it, but that is because my thumbs are shot. Swinging on a rope swing is just murder.

Re: climbing ropes

Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:39 pm
by Jungledoc
I think the mechanics depend a lot on technique. You could climb with lots of little pulls, or more larger ones. ROM is important.

Re: climbing ropes

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:37 am
by robertscott
i think I'll do it the way you've suggested hoose, just as a finisher. MIght do it instead of biceps work

Re: climbing ropes

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:37 pm
by robertscott
I found this by Chad Waterbury:
When asked about the best biceps exercise, my answer hasn't changed in ten years: the rope climb. You only need to visit Muscle Beach in Santa Monica — a place where there are enough ropes to excite a family of gymnasts — and observe the biceps development of guys who climb them on a consistent basis.

First, from a biomechanics standpoint, the rope climb forces your arm to pull from a position that's close to the midline of your body. This overloads the elbow flexors more than the upper back muscles.

It's been said that the chin-up won't build big biceps if your back is strong. I can't say I agree, but I understand the argument. The solution, however, is simple: make the movement a biceps-dominant exercise through the law of biomechanics.

Any time you pull with your hands close together, there's no way your back can take over. And when you pair that with the fact that your hand is in a neutral position to target the brachialis (a key upper-arm booster), you've already got yourself a killer exercise.

Second, the rope requires your gripping muscles to work with ferocious intensity. In fact, there's no better exercise to boost your gripping strength than climbing a rope. Indeed, there's a direct correlation between your gripping strength and your biceps mass.

Third, since your upper back is also helping your efforts, some of the burden is taken off your elbow joints. Plus, it appears the biceps will grow only when the supporting (upper back) muscles are strong enough to handle the added girth.
so it seems my suspicions about it being more of a biceps move than an upper back move were correct. I'll use it in place of curls for a while and see what happens

Re: climbing ropes

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:26 pm
by Jebus
When I see a rope just hanging there, I feel compelled to climb it.

We had one in my youth, to high and scary to climb back then though.

Re: climbing ropes

Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:30 pm
by Travis
We used to have them in grade school but since I was a wimpy kid I could never climb one. I'd sure like to try now.

Re: climbing ropes

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:38 am
by KPj
I think it sounds fun and, "why not?". I would definitely use it if I had it.

Also, i'm a big fan of Chad Waterbury but not sure I agree with the bicep thing. Either that or it's just one of those individual things. Most of the pull up variations i've done for years have been a close neutral grip, going from hitting up low reps high weight to, high reps with just bodyweight, and even both, playing around with volume, ladders, pull ups everyday, etc, etc. You're talking for about 4-5 years here, using mostly that grip. My biceps are far from impressive. They're only an internet 19 inches which in reality is more like 15-16.

Re: climbing ropes

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:55 am
by robertscott
yeah I use mostly close, neutral grip for my chins. Never really done too much for my biceps though but then no exercise ever really has!

I'm going to try the rope tonight and report back

Re: climbing ropes

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:17 am
by KPj
I read part of a conversation with shelby starnes on FB. He posted his training split and a friend of his, concerned that he was training back the day after training bi's. said, "won't you bi's be shot for training back the next day", and he said, "no... You shouldn't feel your bi's on back day, you should just feel our back". All paraphrased but you get the point....

Anyway it hit home a little. Loads of people row, both horizontally and vertically, with too much "arms". You can tell with the lack of scap retraction at end ROM plus anterior tilt of the scap and usually elevation/shrugging, too. You see this constantly if you look hard enough on pretty much any row variation with any grip in a commercial gym. Bent over rows is a classic when you see it in commercial gyms, normally chewing up the lumbar spine and not getting the desired scap movement, which is the aim if, you know, you want to train the "back" with a bent over row. So instead of being all back it's lumbar discs and biceps and a little help from upper traps.

As you know i'm quite particular about Row form. If I don't get the movement i'm after from the scaps I consider it failure. Start in a good posture, make yourself into a pillar (solid), don't break posture, and row with the elbows. I have no doubt the biceps work to an extent, none at all, they need to if the arm flexes which is obviously does but, I'm also certain the back is doing the majority of the work. To give credit where it's due one of my biggest "light bulb moments" in this regard was reading about chads "targeted compound training" where sublte changes to a big movement can change the emphasis completely.

If i do a chin up and purposely try pull with wrists and think about the biceps and forget about the scap, it completely changes it. Maybe If I'd done all my close neutral grip pullups "wrong", i'd have huge biceps??

I'm rambling. Lots of coffee today.


Re: climbing ropes

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:11 am
by robertscott
yeah you're such a row Nazi!

I agree though the barbell row is the worst exercise ever. Not because there's something wrong with the actual lift, just that NOBODY I've ever seen does it correctly. It's always done as some rank, low-back jerking shrug.

Since you sorted my row technique I've seen growth in my lats and my shoulder pain seems to be getting better.

It's interesting you say that about pulling with the wrists on chins. I find that pulling my elbows down hits a lot more lat. Funny how things like that work.

Re: climbing ropes

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:21 am
by KPj
robertscott wrote: It's interesting you say that about pulling with the wrists on chins. I find that pulling my elbows down hits a lot more lat. Funny how things like that work.

Yeh that's what i mean, if you then do a chin and think about pulling with the wrists/hands and don't think about your scap, instead imaging your bicep filling up the entire room (virtual high 5 if you get the reference) it feels completely different.

I always recommend pulling with the elbows. I say the hands are like hooks and the motion comes from the elbows :thumbright:

Re: climbing ropes

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:19 pm
by robertscott
you think I wouldn't get the reference? Like I'm some kind of girly man?

it's weird how cues like that totally change the feel of an exercise. I suppose as a trainer you need to know them all