Using Ropes-Rope Battling – to improve fitness



Have you reached a plateau- into MMA- or just saw someone in the gymn doing something different? Whatever the reason, this may be for you!

Originally developed for specific combat sports such as football and Mixed Martial Arts, heavy rope training (or rope battling) is making it mainstream.

The benefits of battle rope training include:

– Low impact training. Minimal stress is placed on the joints, with all the force applied to the muscular system.

– Calorie Incinerator
. Burns just as many calories as sprinting, high-intensity interval training and heavy resistance training

– Athletic
 Performance. Trains the neuromuscular system to apply force that begins at the core and extends through the extremities (both arms and legs) — a must for improving performance.

– Killer core workout
. Works the entire core from above your knees to below your chest by both applying power from the core and stabilising and bracing spinal movement.

– Builds functional strength
. Real world, manly strength. You will develop a grip like a vice, shoulders like a lumberjack and the core of a gymnast.

– Psychological training
. It hurts, then it hurts some more. Push past those barriers and see what you are truly made of.

-Safe to use
. Just drop them when you can’t go any more.

Heavy rope training requires just one sturdy, low-cost piece of equipment–rope. You can use anywhere from 30 to about 50 feet of rope (1.5 to 2 inches in thickness). Some say Manila is best because it’s sturdy and will stand up to the weekly pounding you put it through, others use Poly Dacron- 3 twisted strands always.

You’re also going  to need something to anchor the rope. If it’s a pole, post or tree, loop the rope around it to give you two even lengths, holding one end in each hand.  Whatever anchor you use, be sure it’s secure.

The most common ropes exercises include making Waves and Slams, where you are using total body flexion and extension as you slam the ropes down for strength, power and endurance. Waves can be varied in nearly infinite combinations of a wide range of elements:

    • Up-and-Down Waves, Alternating/Reciprocating, Criss-Cross movements;
    • Grappler Toss moves, where you are creating internal and external rotary movements;
    • Incorporating Squats and Lunges, including forward, reverse, and lateral movements as well adding in lower body plyometric movements like jumping squats, lunges and lateral hopping movements;
    • Adjusting your reps and durations, with high intensity interval training being particularly effective with ropes;
    • Train solo and with a partner; you can have another training partner “call out” movements to keep the exercise unpredictable and fresh, increasing your reaction time;
    • Even changing the grip to where the end of the rope is facing up is a great variation with an added challenge;
    • Vary your training position, from standing and kneeling to sitting on a stability ball, or even laying face down doing single arm waves;

Ropes can also be used for more than undulating. You can also use your ropes for more traditional strength exercises like rows and pull-ups by throwing it over a firm anchor and using it to pull yourself up. This poses an excellent grip challenge with to improve both grip and pulling/rowing strength.

And at a picnic, an ‘old school’  game of tug a war can prove to be quite a full body challenge.

Here are some workouts to try:

 Circuit 1:

  1. Single waves. 20:10 (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off) x 2 rounds
  2. Double waves (both arms creating the same wave) 20:10 x 2 rounds
  3. Reverse lunge with single waves 15 reps x 2 rounds
  4. Wide squat with double waves 15 reps x 2 rounds

Circuit 2:

  1. Double rope slams (pull the ropes up high and slam them down) 20:10 x 2 rounds
  2. Lateral single waves (standing at 90 degrees to the wave – both left and right sides) 20:10 x 2 rounds
  3. Star Jumps with rope pulls 15 reps x 2 rounds
  4. Lateral double waves (standing at 90 degrees to the wave — both left and right sides) 20:10 x 2 rounds

Circuit 3:

  1. Moguls (jump from side to side as you perform single waves) 20:10 x 2 rounds
  2. Jump Slam (jump up and down as you perform double waves) 20:10 x 2 rounds
  3. Crossovers (make horizontal waves by crossing your arms over both left and right) 20:10 x 2 rounds

Big finish: 20 seconds each of single and double waves until complete exhaustion.

Try this out!


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