Rope climbing is a great exercise. It works your grip, forearms and revs up your upper body. In the last few years, Crossfit has brought attention to rope climbing in the fitness industry, and it is a great addition to your training routine. In Judo rope climbing is done as a staple exercise and it is mostly used after the sparring seasons as a finisher to the workout. Most people who can climb the rope, without using their feet, usually end up hitting a plateau; and there are not too many ways to challenge their rope climbing unless you work on double rope climbs or reverse rope climbs (up side down climbs), which can be a little dangerous.
Since the rope is fixed, it is difficult to findlonger rope to challenge your self more, plus it can be unsafe to climb too high. There are two things you can do to challenge your self.
1. You can climb the rope up and down numerous times without taking a break. I saw men do up to 10 rounds of a 15 meter rope without taking breaks.
2. You can add a weigh during your rope climb.
In the video below you can see the Korean Judo team climb the rope with plates. In the video the athletes are using a judo belt to climb the rope which is good idea, however, I recommend using a thick band to hook to the kettlebell and plate. You would be using the band in the same fashion as it is done in the video but since the band has some elasticity, it would be a better choice on our joints compared to a judo belt. If you suffer from tennis elbow like me, tips like this can go a long way. The resistance band thickness will depend on the weight you chose to use. A 70 lbs band will work for most athletes who use a 25lbs - 35lbs plate.
Please note that this is a very advanced training method and climbing ropes can be dangerous. Make sure there is a crash mat incase you fall.
We tend to do plenty of pushing exercise like benching, sled pushing, etc. It is very important that you do a great amount of pulling type of exercise's to maintain the muscle balance in the upper body.