A low ropes course is an excellent military style addition to any workout regimen. The assembly requires a few tools and a bit of planning, but can be accomplished over a weekend. Low ropes courses are useful for working on muscles that often get over-looked at the gym. Be creative and design a course that can be used for low crawls, jumping and balance. Low ropes courses can be used for timed competitions or as adventurous challenges for family and friends.
Measure the amount of open space available to install the low ropes course. You need at least 50 to 100 feet of open outdoor space. Note the dimensions on a piece of paper, and decide what obstacles to build. A single piece of 15-foot rope can be suspended between 2 wooden poles for a tight rope, or laid straight upon the ground. A net measuring 18-feet long by 9-feet wide can be assembled and suspended on the wooden stakes 18 inches up from the ground. This suspended net is excellent for Army crawling under, as well as for jumping 1 foot in each square as you would with tires in football practice. A series of single ropes can be suspended horizontally at varied heights to represent 4 small successive hurdles. Once you have drawn out the course calculate the amount of rope that will be necessary by adding together the measurements in feet.
Purchase the necessary materials and measure and mark the places where holes need to be dug for the wooden stakes. Make a bright X on the ground using the neon spray paint for each hole and measure twice to be certain of your placement. Dig 12- to 16-inch deep holes for each wooden stake to ensure that they will not fall over. If installing a low tight rope then it will be necessary to bury the poles 18 inches to 2 feet into the ground. Hammer the wooden stake into the deep hole, and firmly pack all of the dirt back in.
Measure the rope necessary for each area. For a 15-foot tight rope assume that you will need extra at each end to tie the rope to the pole. The rope for the tight rope should be very thick sturdy rope that will not break under the weight of a person. Use the large scissors or sharp knife to cut the rope to the appropriate length. Reference your paper with measurements often. The low rope net and hurdles are best assembled from lightweight nylon material rope. The low rope net should measure 18-feet long, 9-feet across, and have vertical as well as horizontal ropes every 3 feet. This means that you will need 4 pieces of rope for the 18-foot sections, and 7 pieces of rope for the 9-foot sections. Leave an extra 4 feet of rope on each corner piece of the 18-foot lengths so there is enough to tether the rope to the pole when it is assembled. Lay these pieces out on the ground as you would a grid, and tie the ropes together at each of the cross sections. There are 28 cross sections for you to tie off, so measure often for accuracy.
Space the poles 3 feet apart to allow ample space for a person to jump between for the hurdle ropes. Each hurdle is a single rope and should be cut based on the spacing of the 2 poles holding it. Allow extra rope at each end for attaching them to the wooden stakes. Use the staple gun with large staples to securely fasten the rope to each pole. The low net course should have 8 stakes, 4 per side on the 18-foot length spaced every 6 feet. The tight rope should have 2 stakes, one at each end of the length of rope. The 4 hurdles should have 2 stakes each hurdle, for a total of 8 stakes.
Ensure that all rope is securely stapled and tied to the poles before giving this low ropes course a run through. Use the course as an addition to daily workouts.