Posts Tagged ‘rope climbing’

Rope Climbing

rope climbing sky

Can you imagine heaving your entire body weight up a hanging, vertical rope that is at least 4 times your body length, with only your arms? Well countless Olympic athletes and rope climbing competitors have more than simply imagined this. They have trained and competed in this arduous activity and climbed up an 8m rope in just a few seconds. Rope climbing was an official Olympic Sport between 1896 and 1932 and it has received a resurgence in popularity in recent years, particularly in Europe.

In 1896, competitors first had to climb ropes 25ft (7.62m) high and 38mm wide, and were able to kick their legs in rhythm in order to increase their speed. However, in the successive games in Europe, the rope was 8m tall and contestants were measured on both their time and style – thus having to hold their legs straight out in an L position. At the top of the climb stood a circular tambourine with lampblack (soot) on its surface. When the rope climber hit this, the several timers below would stop their watches and an accurate time was calculated.

After 1932, when rope climbing was disbanded as an Olympic event, the sport dropped in popularity and scope. In 1993, however, the sport was revived in the Czech republic with the onset of many local and national competitions. Today rope climbing is also highly popular in France and is a feature of the World Police and Fire Games. Rope climbing has also consistently remained a common strength exercise for gymnasts and circus artists to build their upper body strength.

The absolutely breathtaking (probably more for these athletes than us in reality) results of the rope climbing world records demonstrates the brute strength and intense training required for this amazing and incomprehensible sport. Aleš Novák from Czech Republic is the incredible athlete who holds the world record for rope climbing up three various distances. Novák managed to ascend the huge vertical distance of 20m in just 25.85 seconds and in 2010 he proved he could climb up 14m in a mere 14.03 seconds. His fast twitch muscles are demonstrated by his 4.87 second climb up a rope of 8m. Today, rope climbing includes an electronic timing device so you know these phenomenal times are as accurate as they are unbelievable.

Rope climbing has been somewhat resurrected of late, meaning that there are many opportunities for anyone aspiring to do a bit of climbing, from between complete amateurs looking to tone their arms to hardcore climbers wanting to take on Aleš Novák. Rope climbing is a common feature of the highly popular craze, CrossFit, meaning that finding a place to have your go of heaving your body up a hanging rope should probably be easier than the act of actually climbing. So have a look around to see if there are any rope climbing classes or competitions near you.