Battle Ropes: Benefits | Exercises | Workouts
When it comes to fitness equipment, battle ropes may be the most underrated tool in a personal trainer’s arsenal of equipment. The ropes may look intimidating but in reality they are a simple tool that offers a huge list of benefits! Some of the most common questions about battle ropes include:
Battle ropes training:
- Offers a full body workout
- Helps with burning fat
- Build muscle
- Can be anywhere since they’re portable
- Help improve mobility and stability
- Improve endurance and cardiovascular health
- Is a fun and exciting workout
The bottom line is it’s a great workout and has more benefits than drawbacks. So check out the equipment and exercises to make part of your fitness program.
Battle Rope Background And Equipment
Battle ropes are relatively new to the fitness world. And John Brookfield is credited with creating the battle rope exercise system in his backyard in 2006. Now, battle ropes are a standard tool in many fitness facilities and generally come in three lengths – 30, 40 and 50 feet. They also vary in their thickness where you can choose from 1.5 inch or 2-inch.
The different lengths and thickness changes the difficulty or intensity in your battle rope workout. For example, a 1.5 inch thickness will be lighter than the 2 inch heavy rope. Similarly, the length impacts the intensity and exercises too. The closer you move to the anchor point, the more slack there will be on the battle rope. Therefore, if you’re trying to do an alternating wave, for example, you’ll have to exert more strength and power to get the ropes to lift off the ground. So, a longer rope will give you more slack the closer you are to the anchor. Also, a longer rope will allow you to move farther away and decrease the intensity. Personal trainers and gym owners often choose the longer ropes because it gives more options and they have more space than the average home gym.
Now keep in mind, when you purchase battle ropes you are only buying one rope that you will anchor at the center. For example a 30-foot rope would be anchored at the middle, thus giving you roughly 15-feet of rope in each hand. Poles, weight machines, and trees all make great anchor point options for use with your battle ropes.
Battle Ropes Workouts
Battle rope workouts have become popular because they are effective! You’ll get full body benefits that are high intensity, efficient, and build strength. When developing a workout, there’s nothing secret about ropes. They follow the same program design principles as all other exercises and workout plans.
1. An Explosive Full Body Workout – Dynamic, explosive, intense exercise that works your legs, arms and core while also improving your strength and conditioning. This is great if you are looking to make it part of your functional fitness workout.
2. Fast and effective – 30-second bursts of exercise with 1-minute of rest in between. It’s a high intensity interval training workout. Plus, it’s fast, fun, and effective. A 20 – 30 minute total workout with the ropes and you will be spent.
3. HIIT (high intensity interval training) Workouts – Ropes are great for high intensity interval training. The powerful and total body movements will tax your anaerobic strength. It’s great for weight loss programs because of the high caloric burn. Plus, you increase lean body mass too (hypertrophy training), so it’s a win-win. Spend 30 seconds of high intensity on the ropes, using compound movements. Then, do lower intensity cardio exercise or strength training on different muscles (thnk legs)
4. Plateau Breaker – Battle ropes are the perfect tool to help you or your clients break through their fitness plateaus as they work your muscles in new ways. Break free of the boring fitness routine moving from weight machine to weight rack and incorporate the ropes to work your body in new ways. Ropes can also keep things fun and exciting as you create battle rope circuits and also vary the movements from workout to workout.
Common Mistakes During Battle Ropes Exercises
Before we jump into exercises to include and how to perform them, here are a few things to be cautious of.
- Too much tension between the person and the anchor. Take a step or two towards the anchor to increase your range of motion and slack in the ropes.
- Poor posture – Stand tall, keep your feet at shoulder length and ENGAGE THAT CORE so it gets as much activity as your biceps, triceps, shoulders and legs!
- Gripping the rope too tight. Hold the rope, don’t crush the rope.
Now that you have all this information to lay the foundation for your battle rope knowledge, let’s look at all the different movements you can incorporate into your rope training.
Battle Rope Exercises
Here we list the most common exercises for using a heavy rope, how to do them, and what they work.
- Alternating Waves: This is one of the most basic and common exercises on the exercise ropes. Hold each rope in one hand, alternating up and down movements with the arms. As the right goes up, the left arm goes down. Therefore it’s primarily a deltoid exercise but also engages the trapezius and pectoralis major. You can also do these in different positions such as the kneeling waves and seated waves. Likewise, you can also do them with lower body movement such as the alternating reverse lunge waves.
- Stage Coach: Another common exercise is the stage coach. In a semi-squat position, hold one rope in each hand. The hands start between the thighs, then lift up and snapping the ropes back down. The motion should be repetitive, rather than resetting after each set.
- Sidewinders: Also known as side to side waves, this exercise builds upper body and core strength. You’ll hold the ropes together and swing both ropes side to side. At the same time, you’ll keep your transverse abdominis activated to stabilize the core.
- Power Slams: This is a great total body workout. Holding one rope in each hand, squat down with the arms outside the legs and the ropes low to the ground. Then, jump up, extending through the hips and knees. At the same time, lift your arms up. Once you’re at the peak of the movement, slam the ropes down in one powerful movement and land with the ropes on the inside of the legs. Reset yourself and repeat.
- Jumping Jack Waves: Stand with the feet hip width apart, holding the ropes on each side. Just as you would with a jumping jack, lift both arms out to the side and up over your head, then return them back to starting position. Repeat for the remainder of the set, keeping your core engaged and legs slightly bent. For a variation, alternate arms for he split jack waves.
- In-n-Out Waves: This exercise targets the chest (pectoralis major) and the deltoids. Arms should be up and out to the side, with the elbows slightly flexed. Then, quickly bring the arms out and in, almost like a smaller version of the chest fly.
- Outside Circles: Here the arms make outward circles, with the focus on the outward part of the motion. This helps target the rear deltoids (posterior deltoids).
- Inside Circles: This is the opposite as the outside circles. The targeted power should come from the chest as you circle in toward the body.
- Rainbows: Here, the hands will stay closer together and track each other. Start with them both on one side of the body. Abruptly lift up and over your body. As you return the ropes to the other side of the body, rotate through the hips and allow triple flexion to occur on the opposite side of the body. To keep it upper body, perform seated rainbows with the legs out in front and focus only on the shoulders.
- Push-up waves: Take the battle ropes to the ground! In a pushup position, lay the ropes on the ground in front of you. Do one wave with each arm while holding a hand plank. Then perform a pushup and continue the cycle. Make it even more of a great workout by starting in the standing position and do burpee waves.
Other Battle Ropes Exercises
- Hip Toss
- Figure 8 Waves
- Jumping Jack Waves
- Drum Solo Waves
- Squat Waves
- Alternating Lateral Squat Waves
- Hop Waves
- Walking Waves
- Shuffle Waves
- Underhand Grip Waves
Get Creative! Create your own rope movements and incorporate other exercises. Something like a “Smash & dash”, where the mover slams the ropes then runs and touches the anchor and returns for another “Smash & Dash”. Have fun and mix things up with new ways to incorporate the battling ropes style workout.
When To Avoid A Training Rope Workout
In some instances, battle rope training might not be right for your fitness routine. Here are two times when you should stick with the kettlebell, free weights, or exercise bands.
1. Space – The longer the ropes, the more effective they are. You ideally need at least 15-feet of space. If you don’t have that space available, consider an outdoor location. Or, you can use resistance bands anchored to get similar benefits, although not all exercises will transfer over.
2. Shoulder problems – If you or your client have shoulder problems then you will want to avoid the ropes as the intense and explosive movements can be really hard on shoulders that are already injured.
There you have it! Everything you wanted to know about battle ropes and more! So next time you are looking to engage your biceps, triceps, shoulders, back, legs and core while also crushing your cardio, grab a ROPE!
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