Battle Rope

The battle rope is an energy system training (conditioning) and muscle endurance exercise . It works muscles in the upper back, shoulders, arms, abs, back, glutes and legs. There are many variations that can be used.

Battle Rope Training Benefits

  • Upper body conditioning tool : Learning to maintain intensity over time helps increase lactic acid threshold in the upper body. This is unique as the majority of conditioning tools focus on locomotion, running, climbing, and other drills propelled by the legs.
  • Fun. Using tools like the ropes is a breath of fresh air for most people; it creates excitement, it is unique, and it gets people “playing” again.
  • Unilateral dominance/imbalance : The waves tell a story. Watching the movements carefully may identify that one side of the body moves differently than the other ( a smaller wave, be more uncoordinated, etc.) With continued use these differences go away.
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How to Use Battle Ropes

  • Relax – Learning to relax under stress is vital. Many people grip the ropes hard and tense their bodies, leading to quick exhaustion. Grip the rope lightly; relax the arms, shoulders, torso, and even the face; This will enable faster movements and intensity for longer periods .
  • Breathe – Typical exercises in other training methods have a rest point, allowing for relaxation and consistent breathing patterns.  Novices to rope training tend to hold their breath and hurt their performance. Try and match the movement with the breathing pattern; as speed and intensity increases, breathing should too.
  • Whole Body Training – While most rope exercises are thought to be upper body movements, the entire body should be utilized to increase power and efficiency. The legs and hips play an important role in generating power into and through the arms, as is the case in most sports. When doing the waves, be conscious of the feet, legs, hips, and shoulders. Avoid being too stiff, and ensure that all areas of your body are active.

Battle Rope Wave Exercise Variables

  • The Handle – Fold the rope over, and it doubles the size to hold, making it more challenging on the grip.
  • Distance from the Anchor – Ideally, start with a little slack on the ropes. By moving closer to the anchor point, it makes it more challenging to get the waves to the end, requiring more power through the rope to get it all the way down.
  • Body Position – Standing, kneeling, sitting, plank position, and moving while doing various exercises adds a whole new list of drills. Going from standing to kneeling, less of the body can work, and it becomes harder to get the waves to the end. Adding a variety of movements (squatting, lunging, jumping, lateral movement, and more) can make a basic movement very challenging.
  • Size of the Rope – Typically a 15 m rope that is 3.5 cm thick is used for the wave series. 5 cm ropes are also available, with the added girth and weight making it much more challenging.
  • Wave Size/Velocity/Pace – The size and speed of the waves can also be counted. The faster the waves, the harder and more intense it becomes. Try to maintain 120-150 alternating waves per minute.

Battle Rope Training: The Wave Series

The Wave Series is typically what you see battle ropes being used for. The most challenging aspect of the wave series is that they are hard work with little rest; Waves require 100% output. These exercises can be used in a variety of ways, including various intervals for a particular time and/or for distance. A 15m rope, wrapped around an anchor, makes 2 x 7.5m lengths. Use this to help design distance workouts (400m, 1 km, etc.).

Time, distance, reps, etc. can all be manipulated to a variety of workouts and goals. Imagination is the only limit. Use the following variables to increase or decrease each exercise to fit your client’s ability levels and goals. When trying the waves for the first time, 20 seconds is a good time. Clients quickly adapt and can maintain a consistent pace and intensity for up to 5 minutes.

Battle Rope Wave Exercises

Here are six wave exercises, each stressing the body in different ways, using different muscles.

  1. Stage Coach
  2. Alternating Waves
  3. Outside Circles
  4. In-Out
  5.  Sidewinder


Battle Rope Variations

Rope Pull Exercises

  1. Facing Pull
  2. Side Pull
  3. Front Pull

Partner Rope Exercises

  1. Plank Pull (forward)
  2. Plank Pull (side)
  3. Plank Pull (reverse)
  4. Double-Rope Movement
  5. Tsunami Battle

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