Rope Work

Rope Work


A few years ago I needed to step up the shoulder, arm, back and chest elements of my workout to improve my paddling fitness. In particular I was looking to add power to stand up paddle racing and downwinding. After some experimenting I added a simple rope to my workout and designed appropriate exercises to work these areas. Over time the rope has morphed into a more complex thing as I added exercises. I couldn’t resist calling it the Kalama Kord. It’s become a very versatile tool with a lot of ways to configure and use it, but it’s still pretty simple.

Rope Squat


Wrap your rope around a tree or branch so it is one foot higher than your head. Connect the carabiner to the loop so the handles are locked a stable distance apart. Hold the rope by the handles leaning back into the rope with back straight. squat while keeping rope tensioned and back engaged. Increase angle to increase intensity.

Rope Triceps Extension


Holding the long handle with the rope wrapped around a tree at head level and clipped together with the carabiner, extend your arms forward and move your feet back to get a lean angle. Bring your arms back over your head by bending your elbows and raising your arms slightly. Maintain control and press your arms back to the straight ahead position. Watch the video of this, especially Chris’ form in doing this exercise.

Rope Fly


Disconnect the carabiner, wrap the rope around a tree about head high, and hold a short handle in each hand. Lean at an angle you are comfortable with then extend your arms straight forwards. Swing them back slowly to a fly position. Be careful not to overextend your arms, not only can you stress shoulders with overextension, but you could collapse. Watch the video to see correct form–especially important with this exercise. Swing your arms back to the front. If the angle is too much and you can’t swing your arms back to the front, just bend your knees to lower yourself to the ground.

rope pushup


With the rope wrapped around a tree at shoulder height, and holding the short handles in each hand, lean into a pushup position.
Doing the pushups with the carabiner unclipped adds instability to the workout and increases intensity.

Rope Curl


Wrap the rope around a tree at chest height, clip the carabiner and hold the long handle. Step into an angle facing the tree, bring your elbows down to your belly and curl the bar to your chin.

Rope Row


Holding the long bar with the rope wrapped at chest level, step into the angle you like, extend your arms straight out and row the bar to your chest. As a variation, reverse your grip.

Rope Reach


Wrap the rope higher than your head on a tree, tie a loose knot so you can hold the rope above it in one hand. Step into a comfortable angle and extend your body and arm away from the tree and reach as far as you can. The rotate back up the rope, reaching as high as you can. To increase intensity move your feet closer to the anchor to increase the angle,