Possibility and specificity

When it comes fixtures in OCR, ropes immediately spring to mind. From climbing to dragging, and usually swinging, it seems more difficult to recall a race that doesn’t utilize a rope. With this in mind, and the principle of specificity looming large when it comes to sport technique, it seems clear that every OCR athlete should have a rope in his or her training bucket. Still, many recreationally competitive racers are missing this tool in the arsenal due to relative unavailability outside a Ninja gym or CrossFit box. After all, a traditional 15’ climbing rope is cumbersome as hell to pack around in a gym bag. In a sport full of obstacles, training specificity with a rope proves to be a huge hurdle—until now. Enter the GORILLA Rope 7’ Training Tail.

What is it?

GORILLA delivers a tool that is functional, portable, and durable. The 7’ Training Tail is available in both manila and poly to suit an array of needs. The Tail I tested is the traditional, rugged manila fiber style sporting a standard 1 ½” diameter. As far as mimicking the feel of a course rope, GORILLA nails it. Obviously, the 7’ Tail is an abbreviated option to a full-length rope, but the 4 anchor eye loop is the selling point here. The eye loop is sturdy and reliable, enabling quick set up for a training session since no mount is needed.

Why do I like it?

One might say that I am pretty happy with my Tail

  • Portability: Toss the thing in a gym bag or over a shoulder and go. The Tail enables training in ways that a fixed rope cannot. Further—it’s not an inconvenience to take or– maybe even more pertinent for some–store the thing. Toss it up where you want, knock out the reps, and stash it away. EASY.
  • Specificity: It’s tough to learn rope-specific moves, especially the foot technique for climbing, without a rope. Actual practice is essential to form the mind to muscle connection that builds technique. The GORILLA Tail makes training foot technique so much easier since the shorter length allows an athlete to hang from a stationary fixture like a pull-up bar to work on footing without the extra instability from a longer rope. An experienced athlete can use this same technique to progress existing movement patterns (i.e. greater hip flexion for higher foot placement and improved efficiency) or training under race-day conditions (i.e. fatigue) without the extra potential danger imposed by gravity characteristic of a full suspended rope.
  • Possibility: This is an extension of the specificity point above. How many times have we seen a tough rig transition steal the band of a competitor? Beyond the climbs, the GORILLA Tail can be added to any existing rig-like setup to work those transitions. Then think of the possibilities if there were two or three of these in your rig. What about using it for a heavy sled pull? A killer pull-up progression? A jump rope? Hell, affix this to your pup’s collar in place of a traditional leash for some extra grip work while you walk. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Is it worth the cash?

I mentioned how versatile this thing is, right?

The 7’ GORILLA Tail is available in manila for $59 and the poly tail for $89. For such a portable and adaptable training tool, I’m sold at the price point for the manila rope that I tested. I’ve only scratched the surface of the Tail’s training potential in the couple months I’ve had it, and I have countless ideas already brewing for future sessions. If you’ve ever had a podium in your sights, the Tail is a powerful training tool for your obstacle efficiency pursuits.

What am I leaving out?

Take the Tail out into the wild, and I promise you will get some funny looks. No kidding—on my maiden session I think a runner passing through on his Sunday long run was seriously concerned for my mental health. Not only did his pace noticeably slow once he spotted me affixing the tail to the neighborhood playground monkey bars, he completely stopped to fill up his hydration pack while issuing obvious sidelong glances in my direction. Buyer be warned—that sturdy eye loop I raved about may be mistaken for a traditional noose by a passerby. Is that worth skipping out on a GORILLA Rope Tail though? Absolutely not. Those funny looks turn to envious ones when you hit the course and breeze through every rope climb, rig, and transfer!

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