Functional Hand Strength

Functional Hand Strength

John Wood's Blog of hard training and unusual strength development



2-Inch Manila Climbing Ropes

A closer look at out 2-Inch Manila Climbing Ropes, keep in mind that 2-inch ropes are likely more than you can handle, we would highly suggest beginning with traditional 1.5-Inch ropes ropes first. This picture is roughly life-size and, as you can see, 2-Inch ropes are no joke.

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Functional Hand Strength Functional Hand Strength


Making Your Own Climbing Rope

Hang in there!When I go to the hardware store, I'm like a kid in a candy store. It's always a lot of fun going through the aisles looking for something interesting that I can make at home that might come in handy for my training.

And I've got a lot of things I've tinkered around with that have turned out to be pretty useful for different kinds of exercises.

However, I also understand that not every type of equipment fits into the "do it yourself" category and one of those pieces is a climbing rope.

Yes, I'm sure there are folks out there that would argue the opposite, that they found an old piece of rope and tied it to a tree in their back yard that works just fine.

Well... that may be fine for them and hopefully so but I only like to do my gambling in Vegas and whenever possible, only like to bet on the sure thing which is why I would only want to deal with a climbing rope assembled by a professional.

If you are one of those folks who can live with the "hope" that your homemade climbing rope doesn't snap you are while 20 feet off the ground, let me point out a few other important things to keep in mind.

Ever try to tie a knot in a 1-1/2 or 2” thick rope?

It aint easy – and that rope has to be attached somehow, and not just "attached," but attached safely and securely. Don't know if you realized this but all our attachment hardware is rated at over 1800 lbs before it shows any sign of wear.

Not that you should, but you could tow a truck with it.

And what happens when you want to move your climbing rope to the other side of the garage?

If you have one of our ropes, you unclip the L1 link and clip it wherever you want it – takes about 3 seconds to attach and unattach.

Otherwise, you'll have to untie (or un-splice) the rope and re-do it elsewhere. Of course, Ive heard some folks just double the rope over and use a roll of duct tape on it – so much for saving some dough. And if you have a loop spliced into your rope, keep in mind that every tie you use it, theres going to be friction right on the rope material itself against the grain.

Oh and the steel rope clamp attachment hardware for our ropes? It starts out as a flat piece of steel, then it's blacksmithed to have a slight curve in it, hydraulically pressed and then drilled and tapped through the steel plate itself before it's welded in place.

Needless to say, there is nothing safer and more secure than this setup which allows NO play from side to side.

I saw someone else out there who took a piece of pipe and simply drilled through it to attach their rope – looks good, but the rope material is moving back and forth during use, creating an ever so slight "sawing" effect every time it's used (and inside the pipe, away from view.)

I dont want to think about those possibilities...

In any case, if you want to make your own climbing rope, I will not attempt to change your mind.

What I can do is simply provide a better option, one that is safe and more efficient to use… and our climbing ropes, the very best climbing ropes in the business, can be found right here: climbing ropes

Train hard,
John Wood

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Some Climbing Rope Questions and Answers

We've been getting a lot of questions recently about our climbing ropes lately so I thought I would address some of them in an email or two.

And heeeeeere we go:

Question #1: What length climbing rope should I order


For climbing purposes, the traditional rule of thumb is to have a length of rope where at least 4 feet is still on the floor so that someone could stand on it and spot you as well as to prevent swinging.

This slack also makes it easy for you to get on an off the rope.

Obviously if you are just using your ropes to hang from a basement

This may not be an issue but many of our customers like to use their ropes for other purposes as well such as hooking them to sleds and doing some arm over arm pulling or maybe even some dragging.

In fact, Dr. Ken Leistner recently ordered a 75 footer that he puts on a sled and drags the length of his driveway. Matt Pack of Impack Total Fitness down in Miami ordered a 30 footer for using in a similar way.

We will be happy to do custom lengths besides those listed on our site.

Also keep in mind that the price of any rope from 15 feet on down is exactly the same so even if you dont need the extra length, might as well get it.

Question #2: How do I Train with a Climbing Rope, Reps, Sets Etc


The same way you train with any piece of equipment - a systematic, balanced approach which incorporates progression and overload. Begin at a manageable level and build from there.

Overhead timed hangs are a good way to start. Clamp on like you're about to climb and tense every muscle in your body Begin with 5 sets of 30 seconds and progress from there.

From there, you can also try rope pull-ups or 'negative' rope climbing From a platform start a few feet off the floor and climb down.

If you can already climb your rope easily in the traditional style, you can make things a little tougher for yourself by switching to no legs - or even wear a weighted vest - yowza.

Question: Is there anything I should be aware of before I
start climbing ropes.


Yes, among several other very important things:

1. You must make sure the rope is attached overhead safely and securely.

2. You must have padding underneath your climbing area. A good rule of thumb is 6 inches of padding for every 10 feet of vertical length.

3. Do not climb any higher than you can safely descend. Put as much effort into learning to climb down as your would in climbing up.

I like to keep these Q&A sections brief since thats actually quite a bit of information to tackle at once. I will handle more questions in upcoming posts.

Meanwhile, today would be a great day to order your own high quality manila rope and start building upper body strength like a gorilla.

Get your own manila rope Right Here:

Manila Climbing Ropes

Train hard.
John Wood

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For Navy SEALs Only

We have been getting a lot more recent interest about our manila climbing ropes from various branches of the armed forces. (Did you know our manila ropes are currently being used by our troops in Fort Falluja over in Iraq? - pretty cool if you ask me.)

Rope climbing has always been part of the "curriculum" for military training going all the way back and it is with very good reason, rope climbing is a simple and very effective method for developing strength and endurance throughout the entire body and builds the kind of strength that comes in handy for a variety of military maneuvers.

While normal 1.5 inch manila climbing rope is more that enough of a challenge for most people, but something we have found interesting thing is that all the Naval bases have ordered the same thing from us: 2" climbing rope.

Only 2" diameter and nothing but 2" diameter...

I know where they are coming from, if you can climb a 2" rope without using your legs you will be strong enough to handle pretty much anything.

Heres a look at why:

Navy SEALs and Grip Strength

Train hard,
John Wood

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Monday Update

Things are buzzing round the ol' FHS clubhouse. Heres a look at the latest news:

1. I've been cracking the whip all weekend and its looking like we will be 100% caught up with all recent orders by this afternoon. We do appreciate everyones patience through the holiday and our having to play catch up.

Needless to say, the flood of orders on and around the holiday was quite an unexpected surprise but now we are on top of everything and all will be in the mail by this afternoon.

2. Were at the home stretch with our limited edition Fire Cracker hand Grippers and if you dont grab one right now, its looking like you arent going to get another chance.

Add a piece of history to your collection right here: SOLD OUT

3. If you still haven’t signed up for our mailing list, now is the time to do
so: Mailing List

If you have already signed up previously, you do not need to do so again.

4. Look for a brand new training dvd coming tomorrow over on the Bodyweight site. This is truly one of the coolest dvds I have ever seen and that's saying a lot.

5. We're looking at many new products over the course of the summer and on through the rest of 2007. We also have a brand new specialty training website in the works. Stay tuned for more info on that when the time comes.

6. If you place an order for a climbing rope, sandbag or something else with a lead time of several weeks, please know that we place the order with our manufacturer the very same day, usually only a few minutes you place the order is placed with us. If you need a certain piece of equipment in a certain timeframe, please make allowances for the posted lead time.

7. The Blog over on the oldtime strongman site is quickly becoming one
of our most popular pages. If you havent checked it out yet, here's a link:
Oldtime Strongman BLOG

Thats all for now, if you have any questions or need anything else, just drop us an email or give us a call: 1-800-978-0206

Train hard,
John Wood

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How to Train Like a Ninja Warrior

We received the first one about two months back with the second one coming shortly afterwards. They have been trickling in ever since and this weekend we received a record number of them.

What am I talking about? -- emails from folks out there saying "You gotta check out this new show!"

Here in the states its called "Ninja Warrior" but in Japan, its called "Sasuske" - named after the legendary ninja Sasuke Sarutobi who lived during the Meiji era of Japanese history.

Needless to say, ninja warriors had to be the ultimate athletes, who could run, jump, swim, climb or lift just about anything standing in their way.

The show in question "Ninja Warrior," is a Japanese game show featuring the toughest obstacle course in the world, and, as if its not tough enough already, the contestants must complete each stage in a time limit.

Each stage is a unique blend of strength, skill, balance and agility.

The challenges are incredible, and if you are going to be a true ninja Warrior, you are going to need some very strong hands -- to complete the course youll have to crawl along ledges hanging only by your fingertips, make your way across a giant curtain by grabbing bunches of cloth in your hands maneuver giant steel rings over an uneven track and many, many more unusual feats.

The final stage is relatively easy, just "spider" climb while pressed between two 40 foot walls and then climb up a thirty foot rope - but did I mention theres a 30 second time limit?

It's also not a surprise that they chose rope climbing as one of their final challenges - I mean, what other exercises builds an iron grip and incredible upper body strength as effectively as rope climbing?

Only two out of two thousand contestants have ever completed all four stages in the ten year history of the show.

All I can say is check it out, "Ninja Warrior" is on the G4 channel.

Train hard,
John Wood

P.S. If you want to be a true Ninja warrior, youll have to learn to climb
a rope like the Monkey God himself. Heres more info on our top quality
manila climbing ropes:

Manila Climbing Ropes

Or, if you want a rope you can hang outside, heres your link:

Outdoor Polyplus Climbing Ropes

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5 Different Kinds of Rope Training

You know, they say that 'marketing' is simply the spread of a good idea which is one reason why the interest in our climbing ropes has recently skyrocketed.

All of a sudden lots of people realized just how fun and useful rope training might be to their program and it just took off from there.

In fact, check out the latest issue of Scholastic Coach for a full article by Michigan State Strength Coach, Ken Mannie on how he trains his players with manila climbing ropes.

The thing is, 'climbing', while useful, is only one way to train with climbing ropes which I'm sure will be of a lot of interest to those folks without the room to hang one.

Heres a few simple ideas:

1. Hooked to a pulling sled for one-arm, two-arm, backwards or sideways pulling.

2. Arm-over-arm pulling - which should be done standing, not like you see on the 'truck pull' on tv

3. Attached to a high or low pulley

4. Tug-o-war

5. Timed hangs, pullups, hanging leg raises etc

Those are a few that I have used just off the top of my head. I could probably list many more if I sat down to think about it. Regardless, the lesson here is to open your eyes to things besides the obvious.

Train hard
John Wood

P.S. In Need a climbing rope? You can get the best right here:
Top Quality Climbing Ropes

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