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Rope-Climbing Techniques: The Spanish Wrap by Adrian Bozman with Carl Paoli and Kim Bozman - CrossFit Journal

Rope-Climbing Techniques: The Spanish Wrap

By Adrian Bozman with Carl Paoli and Kim Bozman

In Gymnastics/Tumbling, Reference, Videos

October 13, 2010

Video Article

What do egg-beaters have to do with rope climbing? Let HQ trainer Adrian (Boz) Bozman show you as he teaches rope-climbing basics. On location in San Francisco, Calif., Sevan Matossian films Adrian, Kim Bozman and elite gymnast Carl Paoli as they demonstrate “the Spanish wrap.”

In this beginner technique, the dominant leg wraps around the rope, and the rope is secured by stepping on it with the free leg. From there, Boz says, “It’s not about upper-body strength. It’s about stepping up and using the rope as a ladder.”

Find out how this technique can allow more CrossFitters to safely climb the rope—and perhaps win an event or two in the CrossFit Games.

7min 0sec

Additional reading: The Do-It-Yourself Climbing Rope by Lincoln Brigham, published Dec. 27, 2009.

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27 Comments on “Rope-Climbing Techniques: The Spanish Wrap”


wrote …

Boz is right... You're gonna need to save those arms
when you get deep into a WOD.


wrote …

Boz.... what the hell are you talking about bro.. I have no idea what the differences are. No man, just kidding. That was actually a great piece of film/instruction. So many people try to muscle themselves up the rope and forget that like almost everything else in CrossFit, if proper form is used, efficiency is maximized and more work can be done faster.
Great stuff!
Justin Key


Joe Stephens wrote …

crystal, good work nice natural demo. lol
still trying to get the feet together full squat Boz did with Kelly (aka Visa, my flexible friend) that was a show of good function.


wrote …

Great video, thanks! Completely clear, just in case you were worried!

Just had a crazy thought, do you reckon anyone can climb a rope upside-down?! Head to the floor (well, hopefully not hitting it at speed but pointing towards!) That'd be amazing, if dangerous... thoughts?


Susan Mopper wrote …

Don't worry, it was pretty clear. Having each person climb and having Boz explain the difference in the techniques used helped show some of the variations to this climb. Thanks!


Bob Guere wrote …

Crystal Clear Boz. I believe incorporating the arm pull will get you up the rope faster, as you get the benefit of a pull and a step, but fatigue gets in your face quickly, especially for those of us above the 2-century mark.


wrote …

Well I thought it was plenty clear, I think I'll mess around with it tomorrow.

Here's a question- for those ropes with knots in them, are they any better, worse, or what?


Evan Davidson wrote …

LOVE the tip on the decent! Hands-to-navel and squat - So simple, and it is going to help allot of rope-burned legs here are CrossFit Diesel. Next time we put a rope climb in a WOD, I'll give allot of attention to this abrasion-reducing decent. And I'll tell the class to log on here to comments and post Boz a big thank you!


replied to comment from Alex Alex

Alex, that's called a 'chameleon', as shown here:


wrote …

very clear....and very useful....thanks.


wrote …

So to clear things up... this is the definitive way to climb a rope?


wrote …

Boz = Clear.


Justin Riley wrote …

When does the video of Boz doing the upside down L-sit one arm version of the rope climb come out?


wrote …

wow, I laughed way to hard about the "definitive rope climb" right after Boz's verbal disclaimer

Good video though; now just to find a rope to climb...


wrote …

Good video. Man, everyone's rockin those Inov-8's now! I've been lookin for a pair for weeks but they're sold out everywhere!


wrote …

Great tip boz. Goin to show the rest of my guys how to climb a rope now.


wrote …

I have been wearing myself out on all the rope climb WOD's. Not any more! I will still tape my shirt around my right calf though. 15' rope X 10 or more climbs will still hurt.


wrote …

I can think of a few Games athletes that are sure wishing this had been published before July, or that they had hung out with Boz more before that 20-ft climb event. Oh well. As Cheech Marin's New York Harbor Master character says in Ghostbusters 2 when the Titanic pulls in and a bunch of ghosts start getting off, "better late than never."


wrote …

It was CLEAR haha


wrote …

can you guys put out how to find out ways to figure out which is your dominant leg?



Francois Raymond wrote …

Wow. It's like the invention of the wheel for rope climbing. Very clear. thanks


wrote …

Remember Boz never work with children,animals or your significant other. Happens to me all the time. Girls get good at tuning us out.

Great video - Love the CFSF crew can't wait to catch you guys again here or there.

Brett (Australia)


wrote …

Great vid but was hoping there would be a a couple more variations on the foot positions.


Never knew that climbing upside down had a name, thanks for that!

As you can see from that video the feet provide no help with lifting or braking, they just help maintain the orientation. That make it important to establish that you have no problems climbing and descending using hands only before trying it upside down. It is possible to switch from upside down to right-side up in mid-climb (or decent) to lock in with your feet for safety, but can be a bit tricky.

Annie used the wrap to good advantage during the last workout in the games this year. Being able to do it all with the upper body is great for training, but switching as much of the loading as possible to the legs makes all kinds of sense for longer WODs or competition.


replied to comment from hector santiago

" can you guys put out how to find out ways to figure out which is your dominant leg? "


~I'm not sure if you are merely jesting or are serious. But this is a fun drill, good also for establishing which leg goes forward in a split jerk.

Have subject stand with feet shoulder width, hands by side. Here's the fun part...

Push them from behind and see which leg goes forward. It can also be done from behind.

It's not the end all be all drill for establishing leg dominance as there is another where you start in a prone position on the ground and notice which legs pops forward first to push off.


replied to comment from Blair Lowe

I would want to step off my left leg (being dominant...jump leg) and wrap the rope around my right, rather than the other way round. Any reasoning on strong leg being used for the wrap?


wrote …

I'm a total beginner at rope climbing, and this was a very easy-to--understand video.

At our gym a guy pointed out taking advantage of the full range of motion at both ends. Not only reaching as high as possible with the hands but also lifting your feet up as high as possible on the rope - right under your hands on the rope if you can get them that high. Then when you stand up you eat up a lot of rope. Fifteen feet in three pulls. Not that I can do that... takes a lot of core strength and flexibility. But it does save the arms, and guys that do it go up fifteen feet in a few seconds.

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