Battle rope

Battle Rope

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

Learning to maintain intensity over time helps increase lactic acid threshold in your upper body. This is unique since the majority of conditioning these days focuses on locomotion, running, climbing, and other drills propelled by the legs.

They are fun. The majority of people that I talk to hate the gym and it’s not because they are lazy. Most people are seriously bored at the typical big box gym.  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.

Developing mental toughness. I think that developing mental toughness and learning to overcome obstacles is one of the most important things we can help people do. When people start using the ropes, the idea of maintaining intensity over 1 minute seems like a pipe dream, but consistent training will help them break through mental barriers and come out with a new outlook and confidence.

Unilateral dominance/imbalance – The waves tell a story. If you watch the movements carefully, you will notice that one side of your body may move differently than the other; It may generate a smaller wave, be more uncoordinated, etc. The cool part about Rope Training is that over time, these differences go away. Slowly, you will notice your right and left sides start to balance out.

Battle Rope

How to Use Battle Ropes

Relax – Learning to relax under stress is vital. Many people grip the ropes hard and tense up their bodies, leading to quick exhaustion. Grip the rope lightly, relax your arms, shoulders, torso, and even your face; you will be able to move faster and maintain intensity for longer periods of time.

Breathe – This goes hand and hand with being able to relax. Rope exercises are 100% output, meaning that there is no rest. 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 your movement with your breathing pattern; as speed and intensity increases, your 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 a critical role in generating power into and through the arms. This is important for all movements, especially sports and athletics. When doing the Waves, be conscious of your feet, legs, hips, and shoulders. Make sure to avoid standing too stiffly, 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 you have to hold, making it more challenging on the grip.

Distance from the Anchor – Ideally, you 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, meaning that you have to generate 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. As you go 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, we use a 15 m rope that is 3.5 cm thick for the wave series. They also have 5 cm ropes available, but because of its added girth and weight, it is much more challenging.

Wave Size/Velocity/Pace – The size and speed of the waves can also be counted. This is no different than pacing yourself for kettlebell lifting or running. The faster you go, the harder and more intense it becomes. Try to maintain 120-150 alternating waves per minute and see how you fair.

Battle Rope

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, if done correctly, the exercises have zero downtime; 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. You can use this information to design distance workouts (400m, 1 km, etc.).

Time, distance, reps, etc. can all be manipulated to a variety of workouts and goals. Your imagination only limits the possibilities. 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 will feel like an eternity. Over time, people quickly adapt and can maintain a consistent pace and intensity for 5 minutes to over 45 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
6. Rainbows

Battle Rope

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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