Curious how you can take your training up a notch? Perhaps you’ve grown tired of the same routine and are looking for a new way to get your heart pounding and your blood pumping?
Battle ropes are a great tool for incorporating new movements and exercises that will whip you into shape.
You’re probably familiar with them or have seen them lying around in the corner of your gym. Battle ropes are heavy ropes that can be swung, moved, and manipulated to offer a total body resistance based workout. Though commonly thought to work out the upper body, the shoulders specifically, battle ropes actually challenge and train your entire body from your upper back to your legs and everything in between.
Athletes commonly use battle ropes as a way to improve their endurance and strength, but that is not to say a regular gym goer can’t reap the benefits of a killer battle rope workout.
Battle Rope Benefits
There are many benefits to incorporating battle ropes into your fitness regimen. For starters, the workouts are brief. So if you’re short on time, using the ropes is a great way to get in and out of the gym in under twenty minutes.
- Due to the high intensity of battle rope centred workouts, they can only be sustained for a short period of time. You’ll leave the gym feeling like you just spent an entire hour there, but in reality, you’ll be done before you know it.
- Battle ropes offer a full body workout. Not only are you working your upper body, but you’re also activating your core muscles, glutes, and legs. The list goes on.
- You are also strengthening these muscles in a way machines can’t. The ropes help you reach different angles and ranges of motion that the fixed path of a machine can’t beat.
- There are two types of people in the world: those who enjoy cardio and those who can’t stand it. The good news is that cardio doesn’t have to be limited to running on a treadmill. Battle ropes make an excellent substitution since they can get your heart rate pounding and help you to increase your lung capacity.
- Any kind of cardiovascular training is crucial for your heart health. Using battle ropes can help to lower your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Are Battle Ropes Hard?
The short answer? Yes. However, don’t let that discourage you!
Battle rope routines are adjustable for any level of physical fitness. Whether you are a pro-athlete or just starting out at the gym, there are different ways you can go about incorporating this excellent form of exercise.
Battle ropes vary in length and thickness, offering a customizable experience for each individual. They can weigh between thirty and fifty pounds. The lighter and shorter ropes are perfect for introducing a first time user to the exercise whereas the heavier and longer ropes would serve a pro best.
Like with anything new, feeling intimidated is normal. So start slow.
How Do You Use Them?
Form Mistakes You Want to Avoid
To prevent injury, you’ll want to brush up on a few form tips before you try this exercise alone.
- Make sure you are not pulling the ropes back too tight as this can put unnecessary strain on the shoulders. Take a few steps towards the anchor, the tethering point, and make sure you’re giving the ropes enough slack
- Don’t let your shoulders hunch or allow your back to round
- Keep your chest up and shoulders back
- Allow your knees to bend slightly
- Keep your wrists neutral. Locking them will risk injury and restrict your range of motion.
A HIIT Workout For Beginners
A beginner should start with a simple workout to familiarise themselves with the ropes. Here are the steps you would take:
- Walk up to ropes and stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Reach down and grab the ropes making sure you are not pulling them taut. Overhand or underhand grips are both suitable. Select one that feels most comfortable.
- Bend your knees slightly.
- Keep your wrists neutral and bring the ropes up to your chest. Begin to move your arms up and down, creating waves with the ropes. Continue for thirty to forty seconds with no rest.
- Rest for thirty seconds and repeat for ten to twelve cycles.
Once you’ve warmed up to the idea of using battle ropes and feel ready to kick it up a notch, you can try different variations such as:
- Alternating arms – take the same stance. Raise one arm at a time, alternating as you go.
- Spirals – with the ropes in hand, move your arms away from your body in circular motions. The ropes should create spirals instead of waves.
- Lateral waves – swipe your arms left to right to create lateral waves.
Mix up these variations to create a customised workout. Try fifteen seconds of each, back to back and follow it up with a thirty-second rest. Do this for ten rounds.
By definition, a superset is when you perform two exercises back to back with minimal to no rest in between. Using this system with the battle ropes elevates the intensity of your workout and will challenge the muscle groups you want to target.
For a lower body workout, grab the ropes and come down into a low squat. Use the ropes for thirty seconds using any variation you find most comfortable, making sure to keep your quadriceps, glutes, and core engaged. Immediately after, perform thirty seconds of bodyweight jumping squats or box jumps.
Rest for thirty seconds and begin the next set. Performing these exercises back to back will keep your heart rate elevated and burn more calories in the process.
Full Body Circuit
If you feel like you need more of a challenge, use the battle ropes in a full body circuit for maximum intensity. Instead of only performing two exercises back to back, complete four to five that work different parts of your body with no rest in between. It can look something like this:
- Begin with thirty seconds of burpees.
- Use the alternating arm variation with the ropes for thirty seconds.
- Follow this with twenty weighted lunges.
- Perform a thirty-second plank.
- Finish with twenty Russian twists, using the battle ropes as your resistance. Start on your knees and lift the ropes overhead. Hit the ground beside you, alternating sides, and repeat for thirty seconds. This move works the obliques or what many refer to as the ‘side abs.’
- Rest for sixty seconds.
- Repeat the entire circuit for the desired amount of repetitions.
Advantages of Using Battle Ropes
If you’re still on the fence when it comes to incorporating battle ropes into your fitness routine think of what you will gain.
You will burn more calories in a shorter amount of time
Battle ropes are a form of HIIT cardio or high-intensity interval training. Due to the intense nature of this exercise, activity can only be sustained for thirty-second bursts. A recovery period is always needed afterwards to continue.
HIIT has been proven to burn more calories than low-intensity steady-state cardio in a shorter amount of time.
You will burn fat even after your workout
Studies have found that drills incorporating HIIT, like the battle ropes, keep your body working hard even after you’ve left the gym.
Since HIIT keeps your metabolic rate high for a prolonged period of time, you’ll be reaping the benefits throughout the entire day.
They can help you reach your fitness goals
If you are overweight and are trying to lose a few pounds or are aiming for strength gains, battle ropes are the way to go. They can be easily incorporated into your current plan and can help you reach your goals even faster. Workouts can be performed anywhere from one to three times a week.
How To Anchor Battle Ropes
Battle ropes are easily available for purchase online if your gym doesn’t have access to them. All you need is an anchor to tether the rope to.
Ideally, you want something sturdy so you can focus on performing the exercise correctly.
If you’re outdoors, a tree or fencepole can work. Just wrap the rope around the anchor and begin your workout.
If you’re working out indoors make sure you have adequate space before you begin. Sandbags and kettlebells make great anchors. Make sure they are heavy enough so that the ropes are well grounded. Slip the rope through the handle of the kettlebell or around the handle of the sandbag, and you’re good to go.
Battle ropes are a brilliant investment for any home gym since they offer a total body workout and have a cheap and easy setup. You’ll be able to do without the bulky equipment when you have this multi-purpose tool.
As you can see, there are many ways of utilising battle ropes into your fitness plan. They can help you reach a wide variety of goals no matter what you’re striving to accomplish.
They require no previous athletic experience or skill, are easily adjustable and can help you build strength, burn calories, and provide a stimulating form of cardiovascular exercise.
Though commonly believed to only train the upper body, specifically the shoulders, battle ropes actually work the entire kinetic chain. The key to maximising the effectiveness of this full body workout is to keep your core contracted and to squat down low. You can create high-intensity drills or superset this exercise with another that targets the desired muscle group.
If you’re in the market to try something new and out of your comfort zone, consider using battle ropes for your next workout session for a unique and challenging experience.