Battle Ropes – What Are They?
In the last couple of years, battle ropes have become a popular fitness workout in gyms everywhere. But using ropes as a workout tool isn’t a new concept – for years now athletes, such as football and rugby players, have been using ropes for whole-body training.
The basic concept of rope training can be linked to John Brookfield, who trademarked the “Battling Ropes” system. Brookfield recognized the fitness benefits of moving heavy ropes in different motions, including circular and linear movements.
Ropes are either firmly anchored to walls or poles for a single workout or are loose for a tandem workout with one or more fitness partners. Battle ropes are made from either manila rope fiber or a synthetic poly-dacron plastic fiber. They come in a variety of different lengths, widths, and weights which all determine the intensity of your workout. Typical ropes are between 25 to 50-feet, with some reaching up to 100-feet for workout challenges. Rope width will typically be 1 to 2-inches thick.
Due to their heavy weight and the resistance they offer, battle ropes are a good way to work out your muscles, strengthening legs, arms, shoulders, and abs. Ropes can be used as a method of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), for an endurance and strength workout, and to improve both aerobic and anaerobic stamina. For intense workouts, it’s important to consume adequate nutrition and supplements. Many athletes choose to supplement their diet with pre workouts, post workouts, and natural testosterone support products like HexoFire Delta Prime.
Battle ropes are operated by holding one rope in each of your hands as you work through different movements. When the ropes are moved, the motion of the rope provides resistance for your body. The faster and harder the ropes are moved, the more resistance builds up, increasing the intensity of your workout.
Let’s take a closer look at battle ropes, including who they’re for, some common exercises and benefits, and if you can use battle ropes at home.
Should I Do A Battle Rope Workout?
Battle rope workouts are a good way to change up your fitness routine, adding new movements and challenges to your exercise program. Working out with ropes can be modified to match your fitness level whether you’re a beginner just starting out and trying to get into shape, or you’re a pro athlete who wants to improve your endurance or aerobic capabilities.
Rope workouts are also good for weight loss, staying in shape, and for anyone who wants to gain lean muscle, such as body builders.
Common Battle Rope Exercises
When it comes to working out with battle ropes, you can follow a detailed routine, many of which are found online for you to use, or you can create your own workout according to your ability and fitness level. If you’re using battle ropes at the gym, consider working with an experienced trainer to help you learn the correct way to use the ropes, so you don’t open yourself up to injury.
There are a few basic guidelines to follow when working out using battle ropes:
• Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes to get your body ready for an intense workout. This includes dynamic stretching to warm and loosen up muscles.1
• Do HIIT workouts by doing a high intensity rope exercise for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest. Repeat this sequence throughout your rope workout.
• Keep your core and abdomen engaged during all exercises to avoid injury to your back.2
• Move in as many directions as you can to target your whole body during the workout, such as moving from side to side to stretch out your hips.
• Learn how to adjust the resistance of the ropes throughout your workout. Moving towards the anchor point increases intensity while taking steps away from the anchor point reduces the intensity.
Battle rope routines can be varied to your fitness level. Here are some common exercises that are used when working out with ropes:
Battle Rope Squats – Hold each end of the rope in your hands. Slowly lift the ropes off the ground and pull your hands tight to your chest. As you hold onto the heavy ropes, this movement will help to improve your strength and stability. Keep hold of the ropes and lower yourself to the ground in a squat, never letting the ropes touch the ground. Hold for a count of 4 before standing up again. Repeat for 4 to 6 sets for a good leg and glut workout.
Battling Rope Waves – This exercise works both of your arms and keeps the muscles flexed and tense. Hold the ends of the battle rope in front of your hips about an arms length from your body. Make sure your hands are shoulder width apart. Engage your core and raise and lower your arms alternately in a wave-like motion. Continue with the wave motions for 3 to 4 sets of 2 minutes each.
Battle Rope Crossovers – Crossovers work your core, shoulders, and arms with more intensity than rope waves. For this exercise, hold the ends of the battle rope in front of your hips about an arms length from your body. Make sure your hands are shoulder width apart, as with the previous wave exercise. This time instead of making waves, slam each rope to the ground, repeating for each arm. Continue for 3 to 4 sets of 1 to 2 minutes.
Battling Double Wave – This exercise is a good workout for the upper arms. With your feet shoulder width apart, hold the ends of the rope in each hand with your palms facing towards each other. Slightly bend your knees, engage your core, and move arms quickly up and down, creating a wave in the ropes.
Shoulder Circles – This rope exercise targets the shoulders. Standing with feet shoulder width apart, keep your knees slightly bent. Hold the rope with your palms facing down. Lift your arms above your shoulders and move your arms in clockwise circles for 30 seconds. Repeat doing counter-clockwise circles for 30 seconds.
Battle Ropes Benefits
There are multiple benefits to using battle ropes for your workout:
1. Modify workouts to any fitness level – One of the biggest benefits of doing battle rope workouts is that you can modify the intensity to your own fitness level. This includes modifying for any joint problems you have or if you’re recovering from an injury.
2. Full-body workout – Battle ropes work all muscle groups in the body, giving you a full training workout – glutes and legs to stabilize and hold your stance – and arms, shoulders, and back to work the ropes. Even your hips will get a workout when you’re operating the ropes.3
3. Improve coordination – The full body workout that battle ropes provide may help to improve your coordination as you focus on the different exercises requiring you to jump and move forwards and backwards.
4. Body toning – Depending on which exercises you perform, working out with ropes may help to tone and sculpt different areas of your body.
5. Improve core strength – You’ll build up core strength as you hold onto the ropes and move them in different directions using various exercises. You’ll need this strong core to do the more challenging exercises.
6. Weight loss – Battle ropes may help you lose weight quickly and effectively. Using the ropes for HIIT workouts, you’ll be able to burn anywhere from 300 to 500 calories in 30 minutes. As well, the HIIT intensity of rope workouts will increase your body’s metabolism so that you burn fat and calories for up to 24 to 36 hours after each workout.4
7. Improved cardio – Your cardiovascular capacity may improve significantly from the high-intensity motion of moving your arms and shoulders.5
8. Build lean muscle – Rope workouts may help increase muscles mass. You’ll be working several muscle groups at the same time, with a focus on arm, shoulder, and back muscles, and down through the leg muscles.
9. Low impact workouts – Workouts using battle ropes place less stress on your joints than other HIIT exercises or working out on the treadmill. This is because it’s the muscles in your upper body that are dealing with most of the force.
10. Provides a fast workout – Battle ropes let you get a full body workout in a short period of time. A 20-minute workout with the ropes will give you a challenging workout in less time than spending an hour in the gym doing cardio exercises or lifting weights.6
Where Can I Try Battle Ropes?
Contact gyms, including CrossFit gyms, in the area where you live to see if they have battle ropes available for you to use.
You can also buy your own battle ropes at fitness equipment stores or online. You can then use them in your home, garage, or outdoors. All you need is an anchor point to hold the rope tightly by attaching a bar securely to a wall or using a stake in the ground. When you purchase battle ropes, many of them come with an anchor kit for you to use. Alternately you can use a heavy kettle ball or sandbags to anchor the ropes.
It’s also possible to make your own battle ropes to use in your home, garage, or outside. Rope can be purchased in any hardware store in different thicknesses. Just have them cut to the right length and use duct tape on ends so the rope doesn’t fray.
- 1Park, HK. & Jung, MK. (2018). The effect of warm-ups with stretching on the isokinetic moments of collegiate men. J Exerc Rehabil. 14(1): 78-82. Retrieved on March 25, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5833972
- 2Huxel Bliven, KC. & Anderson, BE. (2013). Core Stability Training for Injury Prevention. Sports Health. 5(6): 514-522. Retrieved on March 25, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3806175
- 3Chen, WH. & Wu, HJ. (2018). Eight-Week Battle Rope Training Improves Multiple Physical Fitness Dimensions and Shooting Accuracy in Collegiate Basketball Players. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. Vol 32, Issue 10: pp 2715-2724. Retrieved on March 25, 2019 from View Reference
- 4Boutcher, SH. (2011). High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss. J Obes. 2011 (2010): 868305. Retrieved on March 25, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2991639
- 5Ratamess, NA. & Smith, CR. (2015). Effects of Rest Interval Length on Acute Battling Rope Exercise Metabolism. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Vol 29, Issue 9: pp 2375-2387. Retrieved on March 25, 2019 from View Reference
- 6Fountaine, CJ. & Schmidt, BJ. (2015). Metabolic Cost of Rope Training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. July 23: 29(4). Retrieved on March 25, 2019 from View Reference