Awesome Legless Rope Climb Techniques for CrossFit®

Written By Charleh Knighton  |  Rope Climbs 

Legless rope climbs are considered very advanced because they rely solely on upper body strength, requiring both strong upper body and core muscles. Additionally, grip strength plays a crucial role in executing this movement.

In this video, we're going to dive into rope climbing techniques, specifically the legless rope climb. So, let's talk about some important aspects of the technique.

The Standard: Legless Rope Climb

First, let's discuss the standard legless rope climb. Different standards may exist depending on the situation, such as starting from the ground or being allowed to jump. If jumping is allowed, your goal should be to jump as high as possible on the rope to begin. But once you have a grip on the rope, it's essential to focus on leverage.

Using Leverage

Leverage refers to keeping the rope as close to your body as possible. Avoid leaning back and letting the rope get away from you. Think about holding a weight close to your body versus holding it away from you.

The closer the rope is to your body, the less strain it puts on your grip, making the rope climb easier. So, resist the temptation to lean back and keep the rope tight.

Awesome Legless Rope Climb Techniques for CrossFit

Strict Legless Rope Climb

Now, let's move on to the climbing techniques. I'll discuss three main techniques, starting with the strict legless rope climb. In this technique, you rely solely on your upper body strength without using your legs.

Your legs hang down by your side, and you climb the rope by going hand over fist, maintaining a close grip and trying to keep the rope near your body. It's a challenging technique that requires substantial upper body and grip strength.

Running Legless Rope Climb

Next up is the running legless rope climb. With this technique, you add a bit of momentum to the climb by kicking your knees up as you ascend. Each time your knee comes up, it helps propel your reach upwards. This running motion allows you to create momentum and switch your grip from the bottom to the top.

Remember to keep your hands close to your face and maintain a tight grip on the rope. Climbing quickly is crucial to reduce time under tension, as prolonged grip strength usage can be exhausting.

Panic Mode Legless Rope Climb

Lastly, there's the panic mode legless rope climb, also known as the kipping legless rope climb. This technique is slower but more accessible to most people. It involves kipping your way up the rope by using the momentum from swinging your legs.

In this method, you're likely to hold the rope with your arms almost fully extended. By bringing your feet through and up, you create a larger reach, which helps you reach the next grip. This technique allows you to maximize your reach, getting you off the rope quickly.

To Summarize

Remember, regardless of the technique you choose, keeping the rope close to your body is vital. It reduces leverage issues and makes the climb easier. Avoid fully extending your arms, as it puts more strain on your grip. Instead, aim to keep your hands at about head height or slightly lower.

If you're new to legless rope climbs or find them challenging, scaling down to normal rope climbs is a good idea. Working on your grip strength and pulling strength, such as strict pull-ups, will help you progress toward legless rope climbs.

So, what do I do next?

Finally, please be cautious when descending the rope, especially if it's laying on the floor. A long rope tail on the ground can cause injuries, like rolled or broken ankles. Always be careful and take precautions to prevent any accidents.

If you want to explore more rope climbing techniques, we have a comprehensive rope climbing course available in the WODprep Academy membership.

Check out for access to that. And if you're interested in free training on other CrossFit skills, head over to and enter your name and email.

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