Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredRope
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePull (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelAdvanced
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Biceps, Shoulders, Upper Back
Target Muscle Group


Lats Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Arms Only Rope Climb Overview

The arms only rope climb is a variation of the rope climb and an upper body exercise used to build functional strength.

Rope climbs will primarily target the muscles of the lats, but will also recruit help from the other muscles of the back, arms, and core.

Arms Only Rope Climb Instructions

  1. Jump and reach up as high as you can to start.
  2. Support your bodyweight with one arm and pull yourself up with the other.
  3. Repeat the process until you reach the top of the rope.
  4. To descend, loosen your grip slightly and allow yourself to slide down the rope in a controlled fashion.
  5. Once you reach the starting position, repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Arms Only Rope Climb Tips

  1. Initially you may need to utilize the feet to help propel yourself upwards, especially if your upper body strength is lagging. However, as you get stronger you should work on using the legs less and even progressing to an entirely upper body pull. If you become extremely advanced, you can hold the legs in an L sit while you make the climb.
  2. Given your having to support your full bodyweight with one hand during a specific point of the pull, these can be used as a progression to single arm pullups.
  3. As you slide down you may want to pinch the rope in between your feet to help displace some of the friction from your hands.
  4. Ensure that you’re using the feet correctly as they will provide much of the force which propels your body upwards.
  5. If you can’t complete normal bodyweight pullups or chinups then do not attempt to climb a rope on your own.
  6. Ensure you have a heavy pad of some sort underneath the rope if you’re just learning in case your hands slip.
  7. Chalk is especially important for rope climbs as your hands get sweaty.
  8. If your hands get especially torn up from descending the rope and allowing yourself to slide down, you can wear gloves if desired.
  9. DO NOT jump down from the top of the rope once you’re done climbing. The injury potential from this course of action is exceptionally high.