Conditioning for BJJ is getting as complicated as quantum physics nowadays, if not more. Granted, the conditioning methods available today are light years ahead of those that were modern just a decade ago. A lot of science and experimentation goes into the art of conditioning for combat sports. With the worldwide appeal of MMA, the rise of Jiu-Jitsu and a bunch of combat sports in the Olympics, it is understandable why this is a huge priority. moreover, very few people have been able to successfully crack the conditioning puzzle so far. So what should a grappler do in this world of intricate and confusing Jiu-Jitsu workouts their inventors swear upon? The answer is look back. there are certain methods that have worked for centuries. One of them is the simple yet grueling rope climb training.
Rope climb conditioning is as basic as it gets. You get a rope, you hang it somewhere high and you go up. Easy peasy. Well, not exactly. Give it a try and you’ll see what I mean. While the basic idea behind the activity is fairly simple, the execution is anything but. If you like to devise Jiu-Jitsu workouts based on rope climbs, you’ll need to make sure you’re able to do them correctly. Worry not newbies, as we’re going to show you how to start from the very beginning and progress up the rope.
IF you’re wondering about the effects such a simple workout is going to have, just look at gymnasts. All of them are super jacked and able to do wonders with their bodies. You know what is one of the most essential skills gymnast master very early on? The rope climb. And yes, they start from the bottom and work their way up through each progression. This is the only way to ensure bot positive adaptation fo your body and ultimate safety. Oh, and freakish strength and unbreakable grips as well, not to mention the gas tank.
Wondering how to use your newfound grip strength from rope climbing? Why not give the D’arce choke a try? If there’s one man you should learn this submission from it is Edwin Najmi. Doing so is as easy as picking up his “D’arce The World” DVD Instructional!
Rope Climb Benefits For Grapplers
The benefits of a simple activity like the rope climb are truly diverse. They’re exactly what a grappler needs, to be honest. the hit the sweet spot for BJJ competitors and enthusiasts alike. There are plenty of benefits that grapplers usually look to develop through different Jiu-Jitsu workouts. Why not get them all at once, along with some bonus benefits on top?
To begin with, the most obvious one. Grips. Just hanging on a rope is a brutal task. going up one gets more and more tough on the grips and you go further up. Taking the legs out of the equation takes it to new levels of difficulty. And going back down in this manner just rubs salt to the wounded palms. Grips are a limiting factor in grappling. rope climbs require you to move your weight exclusively with the help of your forearms, Moreover, you need to resist gravity along the way.
Next up is arm and back strength. The most prevalent muscles we use in BJ are the pulling muscles of the upper body. Yes, even when you’re on top your always tugging on something in Jiu-Jitsu. Rope climbs are going to make you incredibly effective at this since all your upper body pulling muscles lear to work in unison.
Another aspect of rope climb training is power. Gymnasts develop extreme explosive power thanks to rope climbs. Grapplers get the same benefit, along with some great conditioning work as well. Getting up and down a rope is going to develop immense strength and power for sure. Doing so at pace is going to make you a machine.
Equipment And Progressions
So, what do you need to start doing your conditioning Jiu-Jitsu workouts with a rope? Surely any rope would do? Well no. Get a thin rope and you’ll palm are going to burn before you make it a few feet up. In terms of equipment, you need to look for a rope at least 2″ in diameter. Also, go for as much length as space allows.
In terms of actual rope climb training, there’s one thing that you have to remember. you need to warm up properly. Warming up is both the best way to prepare and the first progression you need to master. A good warmup includes a lot of forearm work. Wrist circles, finger extensions, wrist rollers, some biceps and triceps work, as well as static rope climbs, are the bare minimum you need to go through before every session
As far as progressions go, the very basic one is mastering horizontal pulls. This means your feet are on the ground and you’re holding yourself above the ground horizontally. At first, master just going downwards. Then go for pull repetitions, and finally go up and then down.
The next step is to start going vertically. Since you’re already hanging isometrically during the warm-up you’ll skip[ that. To begin with, you’ll use your feet to help you go up. The first method is the step assist method, in which you use one leg to help you create a loop to step in with the other. When you master this, start using just the insides of your feet on both sides of the rope to help you up.
After this, it’ time go arms only. When going up and down like this becomes too easy, you can turn to the weighted vest for help.
Rope Climb Jiu-Jitsu Workouts
Remember that climbing up a rope can be very hard on your shoulder and elbow joints, so make sure you’re well oiled up for training. Warm up properly and give your joints some extra attention if you’re nursing injuries. Also, pay attention to the length of the rope. Climbing up a 10 and 25-foot rope is a very different thing. It is a progression in itself and one you need to always consider. that said, here are a couple of Jiu-Jitsu workouts based on rope climbs:
In terms of programming, beginners need to focus on distance. Getting all the way up the rope and back down is the most important goal. From there on, you can focus on how many times you do it. Here’s a simple workout to try:
- Warm up properly and include isometric hangs. 10-30 seconds is plenty. Try to do it 2-4 times with as much rest as you need in between.
- Work on your pulling strength and grips. Do an eccentric horizontal climb (downwards) with feet on the ground or elevated. Try to cover as much distance as possible and repeat for 3 times.
- Go for a vertical rope climb variation. Hit any of the progressions involving the feet that we outlined before. Again, go for a maximal distance no more than three times in a row.
- Finish with some pullup variations to make your forearms used to working when tired. Gi pullups are a great way to develop grappling specific strength endurance.
This is where things get interesting. How do you know that you’re up for advanced Jiu-Jitsu workouts involving rope climbs? Well, if you can go up and down a rope 5 times with arms only, you’re advanced enough.
- Start with arms only climbs. Go for just one set of full length climbs. Look to execute it as fast as possible.
- Lead hand climbs. This means that you’re going to keep the hand that’s on top in the same position all the way. Instead of gripping hand over hands, one hand is always going to be on top all the way up and down. repeat on the other side.
- Reverse Grip Climbing. To do this rope climb variation, grip the rope with your pinky fingers towards the ceiling. Now go up and down the length for one set again.
- Introduce weight for your final exercise. A weighted vest works best, but you can also use a loaded backpack. One set as fast as possible is enough.
* Add a set each couple of weeks. Also, once a month do this workout as a race, up against a teammate.
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