Build a Backyard Rope Climb: DIY Rig

Let’s make your backyard the perfect place to get some exercise! A rope climb is a DIY project that anyone can do. We’ll show you how high the rope should be, what size rope and tools you need for construction, as well as safety precautions so when finished with this fun Crossfit station in no time at all – not only you will have you built an awesome workout spot but also added bragging rights around town too !!!

How Tall Should a Rope Climb Be?

For any standard rope climb, the height is usually 15 feet. But the ropes you can buy will often extend to lengths as long as 50 feet! So, you can change the size according to your needs and strength level. The height will also depend on whether you’re going to be using it indoors or outdoors. If you’re indoors, there’s no point in buying a 15 feet rope.

You can include 2-3 different ropes on your CrossFit rig so that you can use different intensity levels. You can also use markers or mark off different heights along your rope at about 10 feet, 12 feet, and 15 feet (or more if you want). This way, you can use a single rope for different heights.

What Size Rope is Used for CrossFit?

You can usually buy climbing ropes for CrossFit that are 1.5 inches, 2 inches, or 2.5 inches. These are the standard sizes, and people use what they prefer. However, I would recommend getting a 1.5-inch rope for most people. There are much thinner ropes (10mm), but they are more suited for advanced climbers.

In part, these ropes are designed to increase strength and endurance. You will be exhausted if you use too thick ropes. Even the toughest CrossFitters can grow tired of a 2-inch rope in approximately 30 seconds. A 1.5-inch rope will enable you to move quickly while maintaining a firm hold.

What is the Best Rope to Use for a Rope Climb?

The best to use for CrossFit rope climbing should be one that’s about 10-15 feet high, 1.5 inches thick, made of Manilla hemp, and very durable and robust. It would be best if you were on the lookout for these factors when buying one. Since you’re going to put all your weight on it, it needs to be very strong. It also needs to withstand the weather if you’re going to be using it outside.

There are plenty of options available on the market, like the Power Guidance Climbing Rope or the Yes4All Gym Climbing Rope. Look for a good quality rope that doesn’t fray and is sturdy. You can also buy options that have a snap hook attached to the ends for easy installation. It’s very convenient to have those on hand.

You need to choose the highest grade rope. Additionally, it may unravel while you’re wearing it, which could lead to severe injury. Part of the reason why some CrossFit enthusiasts prefer to use rope made from polypropylene they’ve created themselves.

Strong Rope
Strong Rope: Photo by https://unsplash.com/@aboeka

DIY Rope Climb Station

Not everyone has a gym membership, and even if you do, not all gyms have a CrossFit rig for climbing. It’s most convenient to have one in your backyard, so you can use it whenever you have the time. So, here’s how you build a backyard rope climb.

Measurements

  •  15 feet high 4×4 inches fence posts
  • 34mm diameter, 1.5 m length Galvanized steel bar
  • 1.5m apart distance between the two posts
  • 25cm diameter hole, 2 foot deep for the fence posts to go in

Materials

  • 2 fence posts
  • 1 Galvanized 1.5m steel bar
  •  2 wall brackets for steel bars
  • Screws
  • 4 PostFix or Postcrete bags
  • 2 PostSaver sleeves(optional)
  • Crossfit climb rope
  • Snap hook for rope(optional)
  • Battens
  • External Varnish
  • Paint-brush/Rags

Tools

  • Pocket tape measure
  • Post shovel
  • Pencil/Sharpie
  • Screwdriver
  • Spirit level
  • Aluminium straight edge
  • Black pegs
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Blowtorch
  • Step Ladder

Space and Planning

You don’t actually need a lot of space to build a rope climb rig. If you think about it, it’s just a pair of poles with a bar in the middle used to hang the rope. So it shouldn’t take up a lot of space.

Indoor climbing is more complex and takes up valuable floor space. However, an outdoor rig will allow you to take advantage of the space while also working out without any height limitations!

You can change the measurements and size of this rig according to your liking. If you follow our manual precisely, you shouldn’t need more than 2 feet by 2 feet space. We will be placing the fences about 1.5 meters, so add some extra space for the borders here and there and enough space to move about; a 2×2 feet square should work just fine.

I do recommend setting this up near a wall, a fence, or even a tree. This way, you will have something to support those high fences as you set them up. Try to clear the area beforehand, so you don’t have any obstacles. There’s no need to prep the grass or get rid of it either (if you have any).

A tree can help make a rope climb
A tree can help make a rope climb Photo by https://unsplash.com/@soucarlosmagno.

How to Build a Rope Climb rig Rig Step by Step

So, once you have all your materials with you, you’re ready to begin! If you have help, then great, you can have fun doing it. Otherwise, you can easily do it alone as well. Just put your favourite playlist on and get to work.

Step 1: Mark the posts

Use your straight aluminium edge to mark the position of where you want your climbing rig to go. Try to place it about a meter away from your fence or wall or whatever support you plan to use. Make sure it’s straight.

Then you use your measuring tape or a pocket tape measure, mark the places where you’re going to be putting the posts. You can use black pegs (or pretty much anything) to keep the width of your posts. So this should be 2 black pegs about 4 inches apart. That’s going to be your first post. Place your second pair of pegs 1.5 meters away from that first mark.

Step 2: Dig the holes.

Once you’ve marked where you want the posts, you’re going to start to dig a hole in front of your black pegs. Use your post shovel to make a circular hole, about 25 cm in diameter. The hole should be at least 2 feet deep or more. Do the same for both pairs of black pegs.

Since we are going to be using such high posts, we need the foundation to be strong. That’s why the hole should be deep enough to handle the height of the posts so that they are steady and don’t swing.

Step 3: Mark the posts

Now you’re going to use your sharpie or pencil to mark how deep your fence posts will go underground. You should mark at about 2-3 feet from the end. I recommend going even higher, depending on the height of your post. The taller you want your posts to be, the deeper they should go underground to handle the altitude.

Once you’ve marked the place for the foundation, go about 60 cm above and mark it again. And position where you’ll want to place your Post-Saver sleeves to go. It should be slightly above ground level, but not so much that the bottom gets wet from the concrete anyway.

And finally, you start measuring from the other end and marking about half a foot below the end where your bar will go. You can change the height according to how you want.

Obviously, this won’t be a complete 15-foot climb since 2 feet will be below the ground anyway. But if you want a taller rope climb, you can use even higher fences and place the bars high up. However, I don’t recommend going that high for a home climb station. It’s best if you stick to 10-15 feet.

Step 4: Stick the Post-Saver sleeves

While this step is entirely optional, I recommend going through the hassle so that your post doesn’t get wet from the concrete mix. It protects the ends of your posts.

Slide your Post-Saver sleeves up to the mark you placed earlier. Use your blow torch to melt it into place. That’s it, it’s as easy as that, and it’ll protect your fence for years to come.

Step 5: Put the fence posts up.

 That’s when a little assistance from a friend might come in handy. Use a ladder to help you out if you’re alone. Stick the fences into the holes. Use your spirit level to see if they’re even and straight up.

Use your battens to hold the fence posts up straight and provide support. You can use them at about 45-degree angles so that the fence posts don’t fall off. Use multiple battens and use your support wall, fence, or tree to put them up.

Step 6: Pour in the PostFix bag.

Now you’re going to pour in the PostFix concrete into the holes and fill them up. And this will take a lot more than you think you’re going to need, and it also will depend on how deep your hole is. I needed about 2 bags per hole and therefore 4 bags in total.

Fill the holes up to about an inch or so below the ground level. Then pour in water on the top to set the concrete. Then you leave it to dry for about 1-2 hours or even a day if you want. There should still be an inch left below the ground even after your concrete has dried.

All of this concrete ensures that your fence posts are firmly held and can take the weight of rope climbing. You can even do pull-ups with this rig if you place bars lower down.

Step 7: Attach the bars into place

Now you’re going to attach the bar into place with the wall bracket. If your bar is a bit longer than you need, you can cut it to the perfect length at this stage. Remember the marks you had put up on the fences? That’s where you will screw your brackets in along with the Galvanized steel bar.

Remember to get the brackets that fit with your steel bar and not regular L-shaped ones. You can usually buy them together. Screw them into place securely and use your spirit level to see if everything is level and straight.

Step 8: Varnish the fence posts

Again, this step is entirely optional, and you can also use paint to protect the wood. Protecting the wood from rotting and keeping it safe from rain and bad weather. Varnish the fence posts with a rag or paintbrushes.

You can even use waterproof spray coats as well—plenty of options to choose from. You might even want to reapply the varnish or paint every few months so that it lasts longer.

Step 9: Set up the rope

Your rope climb rig is already set to go. All there’s left is to set up your rope. You can tie it into place. Remember to use a secure knot so that it can handle your weight.

Most ropes nowadays come with a loop on the end that you can use to hook it to the rod. You can use snap hooks to secure it into place. Remember to use a sturdy and robust snap hook that is meant for CrossFit Rope Climbs. Otherwise, just a good knot should work just fine. Now you’re ready to climb!

Putting together a rig is a simple process.

Nevertheless, there are numerous resources and guides available to help you build a rig. Thanks to Adam Rackham for making this video. He has some excellent ideas for using post saver plastic sleeves. If your ground becomes muddy and you haven’t laid down a surface, I highly advise you to do this.

Adam Rackham. (2020, April 22). Building an outdoor home gym [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkAts5FcG9k

Safety Measures When Using A Backyard Rope Climb

If you’re careful and take a few precautions, you can use your DIY rope climb rig for many years. If you are diligent with it, it is like everything else. It, it’ll serve you well. Firstly you ought to do initially is use varnish or paint to protect the wood. Since the rig will be outside, it will face rain and get exposed to water and sunlight.

Over time this can damage the wood and make it weak. So, try to protect your fence posts by covering them with a layer of paint. Use waterproof paint meant for the outside, or you can even use waterproof sealant sprays as well.

The same goes for your bar. Over time rain and water can cause it to rust. That’s why you should use galvanized steel, which won’t rust over time or break apart. You can use your waterproof spray on top of your steel bar as well. Clean your entire rig with a dry rag regularly. Taking proper care of your rig ensures it won’t break in the middle of a workout and hurt you.

 If you’re prepared to pay a tad more money, you could also buy CrossFit rig sets. These are entirely made of steel and will be much stronger. You can use them to set up an entire outdoor gym frame as well. But these are going to be much more expensive than building your own.

Remember to always take your rope inside when you aren’t using it to protect it from rain, dust, and even insects. It’ll last much longer if you’re careful.

You can also use rubber mats below you while you’re climbing to soften the impact if you fall suddenly instead of falling straight to the ground. You should also wear gloves while climbing to protect your hands from scrapes and blisters.

 Some Tips and Tricks For Backyard Rope Climbing

There’s a boatload you can accomplish with only a simple frame like this one. You can attach multiple bars at different heights on your rig for more variety when climbing. Set up similar structures to make chin-up bars and pull-up bars as well. Turn into a multi-purpose rig by adding different accessories.

Neither having a backyard or a space to build an outdoor climbing rig, you can buy those pull-up bars that you can attach to walls. These don’t take up any space, and you can hang them on your walls inside the house.

You will have to sacrifice height if you’re planning to use your rope indoors. But that’s a small price to pay if you have no other option. You can use a 10 feet rope to hang to the pull-up bar and practice your climbing.

Use different techniques that involve both your legs and upper body to take full advantage of the rope. If the height is an issue, then you can practice techniques in a single space as well.

A Tree Provides a Helpful Utility

If you have a tree outside with a proper sturdy branch, then you can even use that as your climbing rig. Just tie up the rope on the branch, making sure the knot is secure, and use it to practice your climb.

Placing your rig beside a tree is also a great idea because the tree provides support during the setting up process. It will also provide shade in the sun so you can climb adequately. Bear in mind that it shouldn’t get in your way while climbing or setting up the frame.

Final Thoughts

Once you have your own backyard rig, you can use it for a variety of different exercises. For example:

  • Pull-ups and chin up variations
  • Climbing drills (including how to do muscle-ups)
  • Hanging leg raises  (for abs workouts) – And much more!

Remember that this isn’t an exhaustive how-to guide. You can use different techniques to build your backyard rig, and how tall it should depend on how high you’re comfortable climbing.

If you’re looking for a climbing wall instead, check out this article to get started. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and have a wonderful day!

Sources of Information

D., S. (2021, July 27). Top 3 Best CrossFit Climbing Ropes (2020 Review). Athletic Muscle. https://athleticmuscle.net/best-climbing-rope/

Robinson, C., Dale, J., & crossfit.com. (2007, October). What size rope? – CrossFit Discussion Board. CrossFit Discussion Board. https://board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=29516

Ward, B. (2020, April 26). 7 Best Climbing Ropes for CrossFit & Gymnastic Training (2020). TheWorkoutDigest. https://theworkoutdigest.com/best-crossfit-climbing-ropes/

r/crossfit. (2016, April 25). DIY Backyard Rig [CrossFit on reddit]. Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/crossfit/comments/4gfawm/diy_backyard_rig/

Keller, P. (2020, January 18). How to assemble and install a floor-mounted pull-up rig for CrossFit (works even if you’re a rogue at DIY!). Fringe Sport. https://www.fringesport.com/blogs/news/how-to-assemble-and-install-a-floor-mounted-pull-up-rig-for-crossfit-works-even-if-youre-a-rogue-at-diy

The Bioneer. (2019, August 20). Rope Climbing – How to do it at Home for Crazy Results! [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfPNzrc7na0&t=64s

10 thoughts on “Build a Backyard Rope Climb: DIY Rig”

  1. Anyone with kids and a backyard would do well to read this article about a rope climbing setup. I like how much detail you go into the process of building a rope climbing structure. Right from the rationale to select the rope, its length, and how to build the framework to attach the ropes. Definitely a worthy DIY family project. 

    Thanks for taking the time to write this detailed article.

    Cheers.

    Edwin

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this article, Edwin. Yes! A rope climb is a perfect set-up for CrossFit training and the Kids. It can help develop not just your muscles but also some severe arm development too–perfect if one of the aims of their fitness routine was bulging biceps (and we all know how important those are).

      Reply
  2. This looks like a lot of fun to use and even more fun to make. I love DYI anytime and you made this so easy. All I need to do is print off the list of materials, go shopping, and then get a few friends around to lend a hand. I can see that I will have a lot of friends wanting to come and work out in my backyard. It would be even better if I had a large tree instead but I will have a go at building this really fun gym outside. Thanks for all your advice.

    Reply
    • You could start your very own Bootcamp fitness class around the rope climb and also have the most fabulous backyard for kids who love climbing.  

      Reply
  3. Wow, this looks like it would be a fun way to stay active outside and to inspire some friendly competition amongst the neighborhood kids. As I was reading all of the instructions for the build, I kept thinking that the huge oak trees in our yard would work great for this (and could be installed in a lot less time too)! I am dealing with some tall trees though, so I’ll need to buy a longer length of rope, but I like that longer rope allows for taller climbs!!

    Reply
    • Ceritanally is a delightful way to keep active. Imagine that oak tree as the new gym for our kids and family, complete with a rope climb so you can reach new heights while also seeing some lovely birds! Thank you, Aly- I appreciate your comments.

      Reply
  4. An excellent website is simple, attractive. I like the idea of building a rope climb, even from a tree, a super fun activity to maintain fitness and fun for the kids; to will look forward to working with you in the future. Rope climbing can develop the upper body of envy. 

    KEEP IT UP!

    Reply
  5. Great easy to follow instructional video. Thanks for your knowledge. I do have one question. I believe the video suggests a 10’ post but the material list Suggests a 15’ post. What do you think? 10’ seems to short

    Reply
    • Thanks, Brian. Yeah, go with the 15′ although 10′ will still do the job you want it secure in the ground properly and a bit of extra if any mistakes occur during the preparation.

      Reply

Leave a Comment