Obstacle Course Racing Rope Climb 101 – by Troy Lum

Training Tips   |   Aug 5, 2014

Conquering the rope climb can be very daunting for a newcomer to OCR and even for some experienced racers. It is often explained by many in an overly complicated manner confusing said racer even further. In the race environment whether you are new or experienced, efficiency and energy conservation are paramount. There is no doubt there are many ways climb rope, however this is my ‘how to’ on climbing with your feet using a foot lock technique. In my view it is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to climb.

Equipment required:

-          A short length of rope about 1.5 meters long

-          Long socks to protect those shins

-          A climbing rope

-          Bench, chair or a box



Step 1.

Sit on the floor with legs stretched out and the feet crossed. Place the 1.5 meter rope in-between the feet holding onto the top.



Step 2.

Bring the bottom foot around under the top foot and place it on top. If you have done this correctly, the rope will be locked in between the two feet. Now practice the action with your eyes closed as you will not be able to look at your feet whilst climbing.



Step 3.

Time to use your bench, chair or box. Sit on your bench in front of your climbing rope and cross your legs with the rope hanging between your feet. Now repeat steps 1 & 2 with the climbing rope because to climb effectively the rope must always stay between the feet.



Step 4.

Whilst sitting on the bench, lock  your feet into the rope and attempt to stand up. If your foot lock is correct then you should not move or slip down the rope.



Step 5.

Gripping the rope tight above your head is the next key to moving up the rope. In order to climb up the rope one must be able to hold their body weight using grip only for 5 seconds as that is the average time in between the lock and unlock of the feet on each climb up the rope.



Step 6.

Put away your bench and stand in front of your rope, reaching up high and gripping tightly. Bring the knees up as high as you can with the feet crossed as you did in practice. The rope should sit in-between the feet as before so all you need to do is bring the bottom foot around and lock it in on top as before. If done correctly the rope will run down under the bottom foot and be locked in-between the top of one foot and the bottom of the other. Now stand up, it does not matter which foot is on the bottom, which-ever is most comfortable for you.



Step 7.

Now you’ve completed the initial foot-lock and stood up, you need to repeat to move up the rope. Again gripping high with both hands and holding your body weight, release the foot-lock and bring the knees up as high as they can go. Keeping the rope in-between the feet, repeat the sequence of bringing the bottom foot around and locking it into the top foot then stand up. If done correctly you should have moved another meter or so up the rope. Reach high, grip tight and repeat again.


dividerTroy Lum raced at an elite level in 2013 and emerged as one of Queensland’s top Obstacle Racers. He took a step back from racing in 2014 to focus more on his PT business and pass on his knowledge and training to aspiring Obstacle Racers. He operates his Personal Training business Evolution Body Transformations in North Brisbane.

Troy can be contacted at:

0408 347 885

Photo Credits
Katerina Down


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