19/10/2021 | Andrew Tracey
Andrew Tracey is a long time collaborator with Bulldog Gear. A coach, writer and current fitness editor of Men’s Health Magazine, he has been in and around the fitness industry for the past 16 years. Having enjoyed and endured a number of disciplines from endurance racing, to strongman, to Crossfit AT enjoys getting neck deep in the practice just as much as the theory.


It’s no exaggeration to say that legless rope climbs are one of the most criminally underrated upper body exercises out there.

With all of the advantages of moving your body through space under load, requiring an enormous amount of musculature to execute- hitting your back, biceps, forearms and absolutely roasting your core; this is one move that’s hard to beat when it comes to adding functional mass, filling out your t-shirt and just generally feeling like a badass in your training.

But let’s face it, it’s not always practical to have 5 metres of rope hanging down from the heavens just for the sake of bigger guns and a barn door back, so sometimes we may need to get a little creative.

This banded ‘rope climb’ alternative, doesn’t just make for a fantastic substitution if your programme calls for it, but also an incredible regression for the movement if you’re still not quite there, not to mention a great movement in it’s own right.

Grab a band or two, head to the pull-up bar and follow our step-by-step guide to climb to new heights, all without leaving the ground.



1. Loop a band over the top of a bar and pull it back through itself to lock it of. Alternatively anchor over a doorway or anything above head height.

2. Grab the far end of the band and step far enough back so that when you sit down there’s tension on the band with your arm(s) fully outstretched.

3. Use both arms to pull the band towards your body, until the band makes contact with your chest.

4. Use one hand to hold the band in this stretched positions whilst reaching to full extension with your other hand and pull-ing the band again, until this hand reaches your body. 

5. Repeat until the tension it too great that you can no longer hold the band in place.

6. Reverse the process, returning the band to an un-stretched position, one arm length at a time.

7. Repeat for time, reps, or until failure!



For less carryover into the full, legless rope climb but more back and core activation, try pulling to alternative sides, as far down towards your hips/ the floor as you can. To progress this movement, simply hold the band further up for added tension.

Andrew Tracey