T Nation

Q for CW regarding biceps ropework


Great article last week, very informative.

Was wondering- since I have neither a long climbing rope, OR a rope and truck to play around with:

How close an approximation would towel/rope chins be to the cause? Tried out a few times in the past, and they appeared to give my biceps (and my grip!) a good workout. Could this be a "next best" from your suggestions, or am I too far removed? Thanks again for your advice (and presence on the forum),



I was also wondering how rope pulls can be so effective in building the biceps, when it has no eccentric component? (Unless, off course, one pulls the object uphill :wink:)


As for substitution, the towel pull-up idea is fine but the essence of the rope climb lies in the fact that one arm is oustretched while the other remains close to the chest, so grip the towel with one arm outstretched overhead and the other at the chest and alternate every rep or so.

This is an answer given by coach Glassman for a substitute for rope climbs.

Hope this helps!


I was wondering how long it would take before this issue came up.

The hanging rope pulls have a massively demanding eccentric phase (lowering your body down the rope).
The seated rope pulls are awesome too. The eccentric phase of the lift is completely overrated. Who said eccentric training is required for growth? No one with half a brain anyway.

But if you don't believe me, use the hanging rope option.


Good answer KraigY!


Thanks CW (and KraigY) for a quick response. KraigY, do you mean a 2-arm pull up with 1 arm lower than the other, or am I supposed to do 1-arm pull-ups with the other at my side?(pretty difficult for reps!)

Thanks again,


When I climb a rope I don't really do it one hand at a time. It is more of a compound movement. Tuck in legs and advance them up the rope, stand up, pull a bit and repeat. Seems to smoke my grip more than anything - really thick ropes here. Do you need to let go of the leg hold to get the desired effects here?



My guess is that you would have to take out the legs to "center" the effect onto the bi's, lats, back, and whatever else is used, and use one arm at a time to pull is how I typically did it at my old gym. I would also climb to the top, take my time going down but stop before getting to the ground and head back up, never touching my feet to the ground or using them for support, then make as many trips to the top as I could without hopping down or ever stabalizing with my legs. Talk about a thorough arm, grip, and lat workout!


You should not let your legs touch the rope at all! It's all arms to pull yourself up the rope, the same thing coming down. Coming down is much harder and places mucho stress on the elbows. I would argue that from my experience, this is the best total upperbody exercise available.


Keep one arm extended and one arm bent and locked into your chest