Tug of War Training for Kids & Adults

Tug of War has evolved over time. From its beginnings to today, the demands of technique, tactics, strength, and fitness have increased.

To be able to deal with these enormous pressures, you must have a reason. A goal in mind, a motivation for your actions. The challenge in team sports lies in the community, working out goals together and pursuing them consistently but flexibly.

That motivation to perform can vary between school sports, recreational sports and adventure sports.

Performance in school sports, individually or as a group, teaches one to take on challenges, meet expectations through effort and achieve goals they have set for themselves. Students put fairness above success.

Performances in recreational and adventure sports varies in that the individually chosen requirements for self-affirmation and self-realization are chosen. Sporting activities maintain or improve the diversity of possibilities for action and increase the quality of life.


In selecting men and women to form a team, it should be kept in mind that Tug-of-War is an exceedingly strenuous exercise and training for it can be very monotonous. The men and women selected must, therefore, be definitely keen, hardworking, and cheerful characters. Any person of surly disposition or given to frequent complaining is much better left out of the team as they will have a very negative effect on the others.

The people best suited to Tug-of War should have, or be able to develop, broad shoulders, thick thighs and legs, and well-developed arms, ideally, they should be nearly all the same size. Above all, they must have plenty of grit and be prepared to put up with any amount of hard work.

If difficulty is experienced in selecting the heavyweight team, it should be remembered that keenness, strength and stamina are more important than actual weight, and it is better to have eight really good people a little underweight rather than to put in a couple of substitute folks to make up the weight.


Tug of War Boots

During training, old boots may be worn provided they are comfortable and the soles are reasonably good. The general condition of the boot does not matter. For competitions work, however, really sound boots should be worn. They should be "broken in" beforehand.

Boots must not be "faked" in anyway, i.e., the sole, heel and side of heel must be perfectly flush.

Men and women should be encouraged to change into vests and shorts before doing any rope work. After training, everyone should have a good rub down. Always remember that while doing training it is reasonable that appearance is of minor importance, providing it is comfortable and essential to exercise, but it is of major importance at all times during competitions. The whole team must turn out clean and smart. This factor is not only for the best interests of the sport, but also for the morale of the team.


Tug of War Rope for Kids, Teens & Adults

The size of a tug-of-war rope is 100 feet (minimum) in length and one inch wide. The length is immaterial as far as training is concerned, but it is advisable to have a rope of the correct thickness. The rope selected should also have a good "hand." Twisted, natural fiber ropes like cotton and Manila allow for the firmest grip, while also absorbing moisture and perspiration. This prevents the rope from slipping in ones' hand and causing rope burn. Synthetic fiber ropes like polypropylene, nylon and polyester should be avoided. The rope should be kept as clean as possible, and all grit removed from it. Avoid storing the rope near paraffin or acid of any kind. Hang the rope in a reasonably well aired cool place when not in use, never leave it on any floor which may become damp.

No knots or loops may he made in the rope, nor may it be locked across any part of the body of any member of the team. Crossing the rope over itself constitutes a loop. Any act, other than the ordinary grip, which prevents the free movement of the rope, is a lock. The end or Anchor person may grip the rope under the arm and pass it over one shoulder, the remaining slack therefrom must be free.


A derrick or gyn is useful during training. The "weight" should be a box or tray filled with scrap iron, so that weight can easily be varied. Wire should be used to connect the "weight" to the tug-of-war rope. The wire should run around the pulley at the top of the derrick, and then round a pulley at the base so that the loop to which the rope is attached is at a height of not more than 18 inches above the ground. A strong, well sited tree frequently makes a satisfactory derrick.


Tug of War Training

Training for tug-of-war cannot be hurried and great harm can be done physically and morally if the team is overworked at the start. Stamina must be built up gradually, and the training in general should start easily and get increasingly difficult as time goes on. It takes regular, well-planned training to get a team up to a reasonable standard. Many of the best teams have had to be built up over the years. Avoid pressing a new group of trainees beyond their abilities.

It is suggested that the training should he divided into two periods: -

First Period of Tug of War Training

Teams should train together, if possible, on at least two occasions each week and never less than once a week. The first month should be devoted to strengthening exercises, roadwork, and mastering the technique of the rope as far as the individual is concerned. The body should be strengthened generally, and particular attention should be paid to developing the abdominal, dorsal, and heavy muscles.

Rope climbing, without the use of the legs is a good exercise for the grip and for the heaving muscles. Roadwork will develop legs as well as getting individuals generally fit. It should consist of walks at 4mph carried out in sweater, trousers, and boots - never let trainees in training get cold. Make a point of walking over heavy ground, e.g., deep sand, ploughed, etc., and over a certain amount of rough ground, in order to strengthen the ankles.

Rope Climbing in Gym for Tug of War Training
Slow jogging with very occasional short sprints may be included in roadwork. It is also a good policy to give each trainee a sheet of newspaper to crumble in each hand as they walk along. It is surprising how this will exercise the fingers and develop the grip. A small rubber ball in each hand is also very good for this valuable exercise.

During this first period individuals should be taught the technique of the correct positions on the rope and tested three or four at a time on the derrick. (see "Technique").

Throughout the whole of training it is important to weigh trainees once a week (in the same kit) and keep a chart of their weights. Weight is likely to drop in the first ten days and may rise slightly afterwards or remain constant. Any sudden drop in weight is a sure indication of "staleness", the bane of every trainer. "Staleness", is best avoided by making the training as varied and enjoyable as possible. Active games of a light-hearted nature should be freely interspersed with more serious work, and training should never be carried out as a fatigue.

Second Period of Tug of War Training

After the first month it should be possible to arrange the likely team in the order in which they are going to pull on the rope, and from now on the rope work should predominate and should be carried out as a team. Use should still be made of the derrick, but from now on more and more work should be done against live opposition. If necessary, divide your manpower into small teams and run a competition with three or four individuals in each team.

Pulling of Tug of War Rope for Training

The position of the team on the rope is usually the shortest man in front, and the tallest and heaviest man as anchor. One can develop the best type of balanced team if all pulling members operate from the same side of the rope; the right side usually considered the best.

From now on the Coach should aim at perfecting the technique of his team. The following section on Technique aims at giving Coaches an idea of the recommended positions to be adopted by a team at various phases of a pull.


Tug of War Technique Pulling Rope

"Take up the Rope" (rope on right side)
Pick up the rope and stand upright, well balanced on both feet, rope well held under the right armpit with the right arm bent and the right hand under the rope. The left arm should be extended with the left hand gripping the rope from the top. The rope should be in a straight line and fairly taut from front to rear, both hands as close together as possible, and the team should not stiffen themselves in any way. A rigid stance uses up energy that will be required later.

"Take the Strain"
This is the normal pulling position on the rope. Gripping the rope firmly with both hands close together, allow the body to fall back to an angle of about 45 degrees. The correct position here is of the utmost importance, so it will be dealt with in detail.

a) The Feet

The sides of both must be well cut into the ground. It is impossible to push with both feet flat on the ground - a common fault with novices. The feet should not be directly one behind the other but should be one on each side of the rope and about twelve inches apart. This gives lateral control and prevents swaying about. The feet should be separated about twelve inches from front to rear.

b) The Legs
The leading leg must be perfectly straight. This leg acts as a prop, and the more the opposing team heaves, the more they should pull this leg into the ground, thus increasing its resistance. The rear leg is slightly bent, and it is from this leg that the driving power is mainly produced when the heave is made.

c) The Body
The lower part of the body must be kept well up over the rope, and never allowed to sag. The whole body should be in a straight line from the sole of the leading foot on the top of the bead. If the body is allowed to sag in the middle, not only is tremendous strain being placed on the back muscles, but any drive from the legs will not be carried through the body and will merely accentuate the sag.

The upper part of the body should be well over the rope, but in no way lying on it. A person can exert his full force only through his center of gravity, and the idea is always to have the center of gravity as close as possible to the rope. The rope should be well up into the armpit. Care must be taken that the leading shoulder is not allowed to fall way from the rope and thus prevent a person pulling along the line of the rope.

d) The Hands and Arms
The hands should grip the rope close together with the palms of the hands facing upwards so the leading shoulder can be more easily kept over the rope. The leading arm must be perfectly straight, and the rear arm as straight as possible, consistent with the position of the hand. If the arms are bent the arm and shoulder muscles are cramped, and much energy is being unnecessarily expended.

e) The Head
The head should be kept back in prolongation of the line of the body, and not thrown forward. This gives extra weight on the rope and facilitates breathing.

The Heave
Keeping the strain on the rope, lower the angle of the body to about 34 degrees with the ground and heave by a powerful stretch of the legs and body towards the anchorman. Immediately take advantage of any ground gained by moving the feet back, being careful to keep them close to the ground. There must be no easing up either before or after the heave, as any relaxation will allow the opponents to take the offensive.


Tug of War Training for children and youth

Endurance Training in Childhood and Adolescence

Since the cardiovascular system of children and adolescents does not react differently to training stimuli than that of adults, no damage is to be expected when performing endurance training, but rather positive adaptive changes.

Children show a considerable improvement in their endurance performance when they are trained regularly, whether through runs over longer distances - periods of time - or through running games such as football.

The joy of endurance training stands and falls with the way it is carried out.

Methodological Principles of Tug of War in Youth:

Endurance training in childhood and adolescence primarily serves to develop good basic endurance and thus to improve aerobic capacity.

The test distances should not be the 600 to 1200 meter runs that have usually been required up to now, as they contain too many anaerobic components. Instead, 5-, 10- or 15- minute runs should be chosen, initially at any desired running speed.

Endurance training should be carried out in some form, especially making use of the Small and Big Games, to a sufficient extent in every sports lesson.

For aerobic endurance training, there is at most a start too late, but not too early!

Aerobic endurance capacity is best trained by girls in the 12th/13th year of life and by boys in the 13th/14th year of life. Endurance training should be extensive and not intensive.

Endurance training should be varied, entertaining and appropriate for children. It should be fun and meet the children's imagination.

The selection of training methods and contents should correspond to the psychological preconditions of the children and adolescents.


Tug of War training for children can include gymnastics in climbing gardens with rope pyramids, support, slopes, and traction equipment that is suitable for every strength level and addresses the various muscle groups in a variety of ways.

With schoolchildren aged six to ten, the focus should be on playful, varied, and harmonious strengthening of the musculoskeletal system.

Dynamic training is the exclusive training method, as children have unfavorable development for static muscle work due to its low anaerobic capacity. First and foremost, the aim is to train quick strength.

Since younger children can usually only concentrate on one task for a short time, circuit training has proven to be particularly beneficial for this age group.

The exercise time should hardly exceed 20 seconds, with a pause length of 40 seconds (exercise pause ratio of 1:2). The fastest possible execution speed.

Tug of War Training Examples:

Tug of War Training For Children

  1. swinging on the rope from long bench to long bench
  2. push over box in recumbent position Aim: arm extension
  3. roll in with ball on wall bars (with knees bent) Knees) Feet up to wall bars. Aim: abdominal muscles
  4. throwing exercise against the wall with medicine ball Aim: to strengthen the throwing muscles (arms, shoulders, torso).
  5. wood chopper with medicine ball from a standing position backwards to the wall. The ball is alternately brought to the floor or over the torso extension to the wall. Aim: Back and shoulder muscles.
  6. kayak on a carpet tile. the student kneels on a carpet tile and carpet tile and pulls himself forward with both arms. Aim: arm extensors
  7. alternating support hopping over the long bench to the left and right. Aim: jump power Exercises on the wall bars


It may seem like a game where the strongest wins, but Tug of War is more than a test of strength. Even before the game begins, kids have to flex their cognitive skills. For instance, if there is an uneven number of players, should a player sit out? Should one stronger, older player be equal to two weaker, younger players?

Letting kids’ problem-solve and negotiate helps build their cognitive skills, and it’s also a good lesson in compromise and learning to work as a team. And once play begins kids will use all their muscles to pull the opposing team over the centerline.

Cordage & Rope Cotton Rope tug of war

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