The rope climb isn't allowed to stay in your gym class memory. If you are doing a Spartan Race, it is in your future. We want you to climb the hell out of that rope this time around.
There are skills to learn about climbing a rope and there is training to do. This blog covers the essential tips and tricks of beating the rope climb.
First off, this video covers some footage of footwork you should be familiar with: the S and J hooks.
Rope Climb Tips and Tricks:
Practice footwork. Support your weight with your feet. This is a skillset to be mastered with with both S and J hooks. It takes practice. Hang a rope at home. It just needs to be high enough for you to get your feet off the ground and onto the rope. Work on just holding yourself off the ground for increasing periods of time.
The S hook involves wrapping the rope around your foot and then pinching it between your arches, while a J hook is a little cleaner and let's you pinch the rope between your feet without so much entanglement. Knowing both will help you handle any given situation as you climb. You might need to utilize both techniques given all the variability that can happen on a rope climb.
Take your time. If you can't muscle up this obstacle, you are best to go slow and steady. Every time you pull yourself higher, lock in those elevation gains with your feet and let your arms rest. There is no time limit on climbing the rope at our races. There are plenty of ropes for everyone. Don't rush yourself and give up too soon.
Grip strength. The ropes will be muddy and wet. You will be, too. You need an iron grip. Prepare ahead of time by making grip strength part of your training. Here are some workouts to try. But no matter how strong your arms are, you aren't going upward if your hands can't hold tight to the rope. Consider these gloves.
Footwear. Having traction from your shoes is essential in getting good grip with your feet. Look for race specific foot ware that has extra support in the arches for increase durability and traction. You can start your search for the perfect shoes here.