Rope climbing is a popular exercise in the Wrestling Akharas of North India. It is universally recognised as a premier exercise for training the necessary muscles involved in grappling. It helps to develop a rugged grip as well as the ability to clinch, pummel and throw with cable strong arms. Many of the smaller Akhara are inside with no access to trees so many Palavans will train pull ups or use a lat pull-down machine. Others will tie a rope across a tall branch or pole and attach weights or a sandbag to one end and pull the other end to suspend the weight before reversing the motion, thus replicating the action of rope climbing.
Rope climbing works the grip, forearms, biceps, back muscles as well as the abdominal wall. Almost all of the wrestlers use only arm power , leaving the legs dangling free of the rope. This makes the exercise tougher than using the legs to lock off which allows the climber to gain rest. The pulling hand over hand action is very transferable to grappling as rarely will your hands be exactly parallel to one another. One or the other will be controlling the opponent whilst the other pulls or pushes to find an advantageous position from which to close or throw.
By the river Ganges many monkey troupes can be seen, leaping great chasms between buildings deftly and climbing up on poles and ropes. In this respect rope climbing has a closer connection to Hanuman, the monkey god of the Akhara. Through practising rope climbing a wrestler can become a living embodiment of his patron deity.