• How To: Make Short Ropes (Grip Strength Training)

Contributed By: Katie Purcell

Hey #FierceFam! With the Spartan Race at Killington approaching (in just a few weeks -- yikes!)  I know many of you are winding down your training to enter taper mode, and perfecting your drop bin strategies (for those of you who don't know, the "drop bin" or "gear bin" is a container of gear/nutrition items racers bring to a longer race, positioned about halfway through, where racers can pause and grab what they need before continuing on). And of course, freaking out because THE KILLINGTON BEAST (OR ULTRA BEAST) IS COMING IN 3 WEEKS. 

One of the most unique obstacles at this venue is the Killington-specific swim/rope ladder/short ropes combo that we all know and love. For those of you who AREN'T familiar, it's a real treat of an obstacle that comes in 3 parts: 

1. The Swim: out to a bridge and then out to the other shore

2. The Rope Ladder: climb it

3. The Short Ropes: get across them to ring the bell at the end (no kicking!)

Completion of this 3-part obstacle requires completion of all THREE parts, otherwise, 30 burpees for EACH of the 3 portions (meaning you could be doing up to 90 burpees if you don't complete any of the 3 parts).

Every time I have attempted this obstacle I have failed at the short ropes portion...the photo above is about as far as I get on that. I'd get all the way out to the ladder, then all the way UP the ladder, then immediately plop into the water with an unceremonious splash. If you've never been in this situation let me assure you: having to then swim to the other side and do 30 burpees just seems to add insult to injury.

For this year I wanted to work on my grip strength in hopes of making it all the way across the ropes, but I had trouble finding any to purchase for training. Many sites like Force5 offer grip strength training equipment, but I couldn't find the specific short-rope-knot combo like the one in the photo above and I wanted to be obstacle specific on this training.

So I made some! And in this tutorial I'm going to show you step-by-step HOW I did it, with the links included, so that you can make your very own short ropes for training. Or if you don't feel like making your own, click here and I would be more than happy to send you one from Fierce Gear OCR.

Part 1: get the stuff

This part is pretty easy (actually, it's all pretty easy, you just have to know where to go. These links should make that part even easier-peasier-lemon-squeezier.) 

1. The Rope: I got 5 pre-cut lengths of 4' each from Home Depot at 5/8" width. I was just guessing based on the photo and my experience and what was available at the store. $2.44 each

2. The Ring: to attach the rope to the carabiner. Just ensure the ring you select can handle whatever bodyweight you'll be hanging on it, and that it's wide enough to hold the rope and carabiner. $.59 each

3. The Carabiner: I got mine from Amazon but they also have them at Home Depot. Again, ensure the one you select can handle whatever bodyweight you'll be hanging on it. $4.39 each

4. The Runner: to attach the whole thing to any bar/set of monkey bars. $6.45 each

Part 2: Put The Stuff Together (video below)

1. Knot one end of the rope

2. Add the ring

3. Knot the other end of the rope

4. Attach the carabiner

5. Attach the runner 


Part 3: Hang It Up & Practice! 

The runner should easily hang onto pretty much any bar, because it is long enough to loop the rope through if both ends of the bars are closed off (as with monkey bars). There are a few different things you can do to practice technique and strengthening for this obstacle:

1. Dead hang hand-over-hand on one rope

2. Dead Hang on two ropes (one hand per rope)

3. Practice transition across ropes (if you are able to find a set of monkey bars or something similar to set them all up in a row)

See them in action below! 





Good luck! 




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