Obstacle Training Tips – Net Climb


With the rapid growth of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) in South Africa and overseas, along with a number of races on the cards for the month of April I thought some of you may enjoy a few tips on how to do some of the obstacles, especially if you’ll be attempting your very first OCR! Good for you!

So this week’s obstacle is a NET CLIMB. This can come in different forms from slightly angled, to vertical or horizontal. Most net climbs seem simple enough when you look at them, but they can be deceivingly challenging and rather energy-sapping at times.

Here are a few tips to get you up and over that net as efficiently as possible:

Going up…

Net 1

  • Pick a line.

Look at the net before you start climbing, is there a section of the net that seems more sturdy? If there are other people climbing in front of you take a look at how the net moves when they climb and pick a line going up where there is likely to be less movement. Generally the sides of the net are slightly sturdier but this varies by structure.

  • Move with purpose.

Don’t rush, watch your step. The net is not a stable structure, it moves with every step you take, and even more so when there are other people on it at the same time as you (this may even become a little scary at times). Make sure you place each foot directly on the net where it is not likely to slip off, because if the net starts moving you don’t want to slip off.

  • Be aware of your hand placement.

As you climb, try hold onto the knots of the net or the section of rope just above a knot. This will allow you to get a better grip on the net while using less energy to hold on. Note: your hands may hurt a little. Time to toughen up! J

Going over…

  • Sideways swivel.

This part may get a little hairy on a vertical net but you can do it! Get the top half of your body slightly over the net, in a position where you can hold on comfortably and tightly on the top with your hands, swing one leg over the top and hook that foot onto the log or into the net (depending on the structure). Make sure you have a good grip, then swing the other leg over to the other side.

  • Front flip *only for experienced net descenders, and gymnasts*

This works really well if you are trying to get over the net fast. As you reach the summit, slide the front of your body over the top of the net/pole, grip tightly onto the net on the other side with both hands, then roll forwards and flip your legs over your head. You will end up with your back to the net then can either slide, climb or jump down. Warning: This is not fool proof – in the last Warrior race my tank top got caught in a nail as I was rolling over the top and I literally had to stop in mid-air and reverse my flip… could have led to a serious wardrobe malfunction #fail.

Going down…

net 2

There are various ways to get down and how you choose to do this will depend largely on your experience, strength, and bravery.

Simply climb down from the net similarly to the way in which you went up – with the front of your body facing towards the net. When you go up you will be taking fairly large step but as you go down it is better to take smaller steps. Due to the give of the ropes, your weight will press down on the net with each step. Going up this shouldn’t be a problem, but you may end up with your foot caught in the net and your leg up next to your ear while going down.

On your back or bum. This works well if the net is at a significant downward sloping angle. WEEEEEEEEEE!!! *Warning: may cause some chafing*

This works well if the net is horizontal or at a SLIGHT downward sloping angle. Make sure you are in control of your roll and keep all fingers and toes tucked in so they don’t get stuck in the net.

So now you should feel super confident to tackle that net climb. Practise practise practise, and remember to have fun!

I will try add a new obstacle every 2 weeks or so, some being a tad more challenging than others. Feel free to pop me a mail with any suggestions or questions. dominique.pt@gmail.com