How To Climb A Rope… Like A Navy Seal!

how to climb a rope

By Derrick Johnson

Rope climbing, only the manliest of manly institutions require their people to do this, like the Navy SEALS, Army Rangers, and your local high school gym class.

Have you ever wondered how the men you see in movies and in television seem to climb up ropes suspended in the rafters with the greatest of ease? If you wish to learn how to do it properly then this guide can and will help you out.

The High School Gym Class Method

There are a couple of different techniques you can use to climb up a rope, the one that you might be more familiar with is the way that your gym class teacher taught you back when you were still in school, where you will pinch the rope in between your feet and then use your arms to pull yourself up.

The problem with this rope climbing technique is that you are a lot of strain on your arms because you are depending on them to pull yourself up the rope, because you are using your feet to anchor yourself on the rope.

The Brake and Squat Method

brake and squat method of rope climbing

Photo courtesy of

This is the method used by the Navy Seals, this is an effective way to climb because you are using your feet and the friction from the rope to anchor yourself and prevent you from sliding down.

Here’s how to do the basic Brake and Squat rope climbing method:

  1. First jump as high as you can and then grab on to the rope.
  2. Wrap the rope once around your right leg, and then pinch it off using the sole of your right foot and the top of your left. You are now securely anchored on the rope and can relax your hands and arms a bit.
  3. To climb up you need to unwrap the rope and re-wrap it as close to your chest as possible, then stand up on the rope. Repeat this until you reach the top.

The Brake and Squat Method (Variation)


rope climbing brake and squat variation

Photo courtesy of

The problem with this variation of the Brake and Squat is that it takes a quite a bit of time and effort to unwrap and re-wrap the rope around your leg every time you pull yourself up.

There is an easier variation of the Brake and Squat method, with this you do not need to wrap the rope around your leg, you just let it rest on the outside of your right leg and use your feet to anchor yourself the same way. This method is a whole lot faster and easier to use, great for when you are racing against a buddy of yours.

Why Would You Want to Do This?

When you climb up a 20-30 foot rope, you are pretty much getting the same amount of exercise as doing 20 pull ups, or the same number of push ups. You are basically getting a full body workout, and having a lot of fun doing at the same time. And you only need a few pieces of equipment; just a rope and a high tree branch, how simple is that?

So if you want to impress your buddies and get a rock hard body as well, then you should definitely incorporate rope climbing in your daily workout routine.

Here’s a great video tutorial that will show you exactly how to perform these techniques correctly, courtesy of the guys at