Never Gymless With Rope Pull-ups

Rope Pull-ups

If you are familiar with my material, you’ve likely seen me perform a variety of exercises with manila rope. Whether it was a compilation video or a book such as Untapped Strength, I have demonstrated several rope exercises over the years. Thick ropes in particular have long been one of my favorite training aids. The hand and grip strength developed through regular rope training is undeniable. Enhanced lower arm strength is not the only benefit however. Perhaps more importantly, a piece of rope can often create exercise opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise exist.

Rope Pull-ups

I recently shared a cropped version of the image above to Instagram. When you look at that image alone, it may not be apparent that the tree isn’t what you’d typically consider as a candidate for pull-ups. The uncropped image eliminates that uncertainty by highlighting the vertical nature of the tree. It is obviously much different from the horizontal limb that can be seen below.

Fortunately, a piece of rope turns the primarily vertical limb seen in the topmost picture into an ideal pull-up station. Without the rope, it would be much less likely for me to perform pull-ups from this tree. There isn’t a level branch available until almost 30 feet above the ground. Therefore, the rope doesn’t just offer a lower arm challenge, it also creates an opportunity for pull-ups that wouldn’t otherwise exist. It provides a level point for pulling while also adding several feet to my reach.

An Option, Not a Necessity

Clearly, a rope isn’t the only way to extend your reach when seeking outdoor pull-up locations. Yet, it’s always nice to have more than one option available, particularly when that option provides additional benefits. As mentioned already, rope pull-ups are an excellent way to enhance grip strength.

It is worth noting though that the ropes I use for outdoor pull-ups are longer (6 feet) than those that I’ve demonstrated before. For instance, if you are an old reader of this site, you may recall seeing the video below from 2013. Within the video, I demonstrate several shorter ropes. Such ropes are naturally better suited for indoor use. When I head outside, I always pack a longer rope in my backpack.

Final Thoughts

If you know me, you know that I’m a big fan of pull-ups. With that in mind, I’m always eager to get more people pulling. Hopefully this quick entry will get some people thinking about various options that exist in their local area. For example, perhaps you’ve seen a tree branch before that was out of reach. The addition of an inexpensive rope may be all that is necessary to get you pulling.

Not everyone has a place to perform pull-ups indoors, but you can usually find a way with a little creativity. Getting outside is often an ideal solution and provides additional benefits as mentioned recently. Therefore, taking your pull-up training outdoors is a win-win situation. You’ll not only get some fresh air, but you’ll also gain pulling strength while enhancing your grip.

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“A sense of curiosity is nature’s original school of education.” – Smiley Blanton



  1. Speaking of your material Ross are you working on any new products? Are we likely to see any new publications any time soon? I’m a huge fan of your work

    1. Hello Rohan,

      Yes, eventually I will have material to share. It takes me longer than most though, as the website is just a small piece of my business. I’m very busy offline.

      I will post more updates in the near future though.

      Thank you for the support and kind words.


  2. Ross,

    This is the first article I read in your website, I just found it a minute ago and now I just want to keep reading. I am a very big fan of keep developing my body for practical reasons. There is people that can’t do pull ups or they just don’t care and instead they use gym equipment to replace the excercise, so I always say to them “everything starts with 1, and you’ll never know when something can happen and you need to use your body strength”. Since I start practicing with my own bodyweight I have been feeling much more stronger like never before.

    Well, thanks for the posts, are very informative and logical. I will put them on practice today!

    Just one question, some people and articles usually say that it’s not good to do pull ups too often, but the thing is that I really like that excercise along with pushups, makes me feel like really strong after training. So what do you think about that, is it dangerous for my body to use that excercise too often? how it works for you?

    Greetings from Chile, cheers,

    1. @Pablo – Listen to your body. You’ll know if/when you begin to feel worn down. Just be sure that you don’t limit yourself to two exercises. Mix things up from time to time and don’t forget to hit the lower body, core, etc. There’s more to training than pushups and pull-ups.

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