In fifth grade, the gym teacher lined up the kids in my class to take turns climbing a thick rope hung down from the middle of the ceiling. The exercise encouraged forearm, abdominal, and bicep strength. I wasn't much good at it. When I joined Touchstone, I found a great asset to strengthen these weaknesses in my body through the thick rope at the climbing gym.
The standard way to climb a rope is to use your legs, arms, and core to move upward. At the bottom of the rope is a knot, which helps people mount the rope by placing their feet on either side of it. Using your arms to keep your body steady, move your feet up the rope, cinch your feet tightly around the rope and move your hands up. Your body should be able to stay upright if you use the friction between the rope and your feet well. Repeat the process of clamping your legs and moving your hands until you reach a comfortable height. A belay is necessary for going more than a few feet off the ground.
Power climbing is the same idea as working on a campus board. The feet are positioned straight in front of you in an L shape while climbing the rope. This style further works the abdominal muscles and requires a fair bit of strength to perform. Simply grab the rope and climb it hand over hand.
If you can't perform the standard climb but want to work up to it, simply hang on the rope in a locked off or bent elbow position for as long as possible. Keep practicing until you're strong enough to do this easily. It also helps to visualize yourself climbing. When I was in fifth grade, I imagined myself as Batman when I climbed the rope. I have gotten much stronger at rope climbing since but every time I grab the rope I hear, "Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na,, na, na, na, na, Batman!"
Berkeley Ironworks has a rope in the middle of the gym- check it out!
Read more: Climbing Rope Exercise
This video demonstrates the offensive amount of strength involved in rope climbing. The climber hit the world record for power climbing the rope.