Rope climbing is an excellent upper body developer with the added advantage of being helpful for your cardiovascular fitness. However, taking advantage of the exercise may be difficult because you simply can not find a good enough rope. As a result, this article will examine some rope climbing alternatives that you can leverage to get similar results.
Rope climbing helps you sculpt your upper body, working your arms, shoulders, chest, and back muscles. As a result, here are some rope climbing alternatives that can give you similar results:
Towel climbs are an excellent alternative to rope climbing. The exercise is a good alternative because it simulates actual rope climbs without a rope. Instead, you only need a bar about seven feet high and a towel. Many fitness enthusiasts sometimes refer to towel climbs as towel pull-ups. However, towel climbs have a unique execution.
To perform the rope towel climb, roll up your towel, draping it over the seven-foot-tall bar. Grab each end of the draped towel to pull your legs off the ground. After this, recruit your upper body muscles to shift the towel back and forth across the bar as though you are polishing it. While shifting both sides of the towel up and down relative to both sides, synchronize your arms and legs so that while your right hand shifts up, your left leg goes up. Perform as many reps as you need for maximum gains.
Towel pull-ups are another fundamental upper-body-building exercise that you can perform almost anywhere. It is a towel variation of pull-ups, as is in the name, and its overhead pulling action helps develop your lats and upper back muscles. Pull-ups also have variations that you can perform depending on what part of your back you want to target.
With towel pull-ups, you also need to drape the towel across the bar and lift yourself, holding either side of the towel. However, instead of shifting the towel as though you are polishing the bar, you simply use the towel to pull your body up as in a regular pull-up. You can check out the Wall Mounted Multi-Grip Pull-Up Bar if you do not have a bar in your home gym.
💡 Quick Tip: You can make things more interesting for yourself if you believe you have gotten comfortable with your body weight and do not want to increase your reps and sets. I recommend the Rogue USA Cast Weight Vest Plates.
Rogue USA Cast Weight Vest Plates
The lat pulldown is another rope climbing alternative you can capitalize on if you have a lat pulldown machine. The machine simulates the pulling motion you apply on the rope to pull yourself up. As a result, it works similar muscles like your biceps, pectoralis, deltoids, rhomboids, traps, and, as the name implies, your lats.
📖 Related Article: If you're enjoying this article you may want to also check out: Are Heavy or Lighter Lat Pull Downs Better?
Regular pull-ups can also mimic the circumstances that make rope climbing an attractive exercise. You can do away with the towel with regular pull-ups, as you simply need a pull-up bar. If you do not have a pull-up bar, you can improvise with the Omni Rack Builder to perform your pull-ups.
Pull-ups are also great as lifting your body weight works your core muscles because you are using your body weight. The body weight aspect also adds extra benefits if you weigh a lot. This is because more body weight means more resistance as you pull more weight.
Rock climbing is a challenging workout that can develop your upper and lower body while improving your grip and core strength. You can typically perform rock climbing outdoors or indoors, with indoor climbing segmented into three areas: bouldering, top rope, and lead climbing. Before you attempt rock climbing, ensure you go through your safety checks to confirm that you’re properly secured.
The chin-up is a popular bodyweight exercise that works your upper body, specifically your arms, upper back, shoulders, traps, and lats muscles. Chin-ups are also excellent alternatives to rope climbing because they have the same motion.
To perform the chin-up, you need a pull-up bar – the exercise is not much different from the pull-up, with the only difference being the hand placement. I recommend the Wall Mounted Multi-Grip Pull-Up Bar if you do not have an accessible pull-up bar.
First, grab the pull-up bar with your palms facing away from you so that your fingers grab the bar inwards. This little tweak differentiates a chin-up from a pull-up. Once your palms have fully grasped the bar, pull yourself up until your chin climbs over the bar, then return to the starting position with your entire body suspended on the bar.
📖 Related Article: If you're enjoying this article you may want to also check out: Which Is Better: Chin Up Vs Lat Pulldown?
Other upper body exercises
Just like the mentioned rope climbing alternatives, these exercises will also help you develop the muscles in your upper body:
The Chest Press
The chest press is the machine alternative to the bench press. Like the bench press, it also hits your arms, chest, and shoulder muscles. The workout is ideal for beginners who are still learning the bench press form. Because machines are good for learning form, the chest press can also help you develop your form. A slight disadvantage of the chest press is that it does not work your stabilizer muscles like a bench press because the machine keeps you stable. Nevertheless, you can expect gains with the workout.
💡 Quick Tip: You can add a bit more fun by performing your pushups with weighted vests. If you want to try this, I recommend the 5.11 Tactec Plate Carrier.
5.11 Tactec Plate Carrier
Lateral raises are another vital and flexible upper body workout. It works your shoulders, building your lateral deltoid muscles while improving mobility in your shoulder. You can do it with a pair of dumbbells, resistance bands, and cable machines. However, you can also improvise with books or water bottles if you cannot access a proper gym or a home gym.