Tip: Build Strength & Stamina with Rope Pulls

All you need is a rope and something heavy to pull to ramp up your conditioning. Check this out.

Physical challenges must be a regular part of every man and woman's life to build a strong mind and body. Here's one I use with my athletes.

Attach a rope to a dragging sled (or anything heavy) and pull it toward you. The rope we use is thick and 112-foot long. We lay this creature out in the street and each person has to pull the sled with a hand-over-hand motion.

Each athlete has to do two warm-up sets and two work sets. Each set consists of pulling the sled the entire length of the 112-foot rope. It's important that you have someone behind the rope puller that helps clear the rope out from underneath him as he's pulling it. This makes a huge difference.

How much weight you use is going to be entirely dependent on what kind of surface you're on. For example, the street outside my house is asphalt, but it hasn't been repaved in years so it's rough. However, a recently paved asphalt street will feel vastly different. Concrete is usually easier and grass just plain sucks. So understand the weights listed are merely guidelines.

Sample Workout:

  • Warm-Up Sets: 2 x 112' @ 75 pounds
  • Work Sets: 2 x 112' @ 190 pounds

Guidelines and Tips for Rope Pull

  1. The hardest part is getting the sled moving. Once you've established a good pace, try not to stop. The first few pulls will be short and choppy. Get it moving.
  2. Once the sled is moving, work your arms fast and pull in long strides. Cover as much ground as you can when you're fresh because the hardest part is always the beginning – you're not just pulling the sled but all that rope, too. Your arms will give out. If they don't give out, you didn't go heavy enough.
  3. We strive to challenge and burn out. Once your arms die, stand up, count to 10 or 20, and make a goal to do an additional 5 or 10 pulls per arm. Keep setting and achieving goals until you're done.
  4. If you've never used a thick rope before, be prepared for your biceps, forearms, hands, upper back and lats to get smoked. You'll also be gasping for breath.