Battle ropes are one of those pieces of equipment that most people will have seen in a gym, but many will have no idea what they are for or how to use them.
With so many gimmicky pieces of equipment available, that often leads to them being written off as nothing more than a fad.
However, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Battle ropes are an incredibly versatile and effective piece of equipment which, if you know how to use them correctly, can help you to produce incredible results.
With that in mind, I want to help give you a better understanding of battle ropes. I will explain exactly what they are, the benefits they offer, and how to go about using them.
So, if you’re looking to add something new to your repertoire and spice things up, I highly suggest reading on.
What Are Battle Ropes?
Battle ropes are a piece of fitness equipment that offer a combination of cardiovascular training and resistance work for the entire body.
They were first developed in 2006 by John Brookfield, a fitness instructor who has a history training people such as NFL stars, Olympic wrestlers, and members of the special forces.
Battle ropes are usually made from synthetic fibres, such as Dacron, elastic, nylon, and polypropylene.
This is due to the fact that they shed very little material and are equally well suited to both indoor and outdoor use.
The average length of a battle rope is 50 feet, however there is a wide range available, starting from as short as 10 feet.
The longer you can find the better, as this will add more weight, which equals more resistance.
You will generally only need a single battle rope, as you will wrap it around some sort of pillar or post, to give you two battle ropes of equal length.
That said, if you have suitable anchor points available, you can use two of the shorter battle ropes instead.
What Are The Benefits Of Battle Ropes?
Battle ropes are a great piece of equipment, as they add variety to a side of training that many people find boring.
They are also incredibly versatile, as they can be used to achieve a number of different goals.
Battle ropes can help you burn fat, increase strength, improve cardiovascular conditioning, and use up more calories.
While primarily known as a full-body cardio workout, a battle rope routine can easily be customised to target either the lower or upper body.
What Are The Best Battle Rope Exercises?
There are an almost endless number of battle rope exercises, as little adjustments can easily turn one exercise into another.
However, there are a few that have proven their worth and stand out above the rest.
- Double Arm Waves – Move both hands in sync with one another to create a wave effect with the rope.
- Alternating Waves – Alternate hands, forming waves with each rope that are the opposite of one another.
- Plank Waves – From a plank position, perform waves with one arm at a time.
- Alternate Waves Squat Jump – Perform alternating waves while including a squat jump at predetermined intervals.
- Side Shuffle With Alternating Waves – Perform alternating waves while you sidestep back and forth.
- Alternating Waves With Jump Slams – Perform alternating waves and periodically include a jump slam at predetermined intervals.
- Alternating Waves To Burpee – While performing alternating waves include a burpee after a designated number of waves, then continue as quickly as possible.
- Regular Slam – Raise the rope above your head with extended arms and slam it into the ground with as much force as possible.
- Jumping Slam – The same as a regular slam, except you jump in the air each time you raise the ropes.
- Side Plank Slam – Perform a side plank at a 90-degree angle to the rope and use your free hand to perform regular slams. After a set duration or number of reps, change sides.
- Side Lunge Slam – With feet shoulder width apart, perform a regular slam and lunge forward as the battle rope comes down. Alternate legs on each repetition.
- Forward Slam With Step Back – Perform a jump slam but move forward with each jump. After 3 reps, shuffle back to the starting position while performing alternating waves.
- Figure Eight Slams – Perform regular slams diagonally across your body, alternating direction on each rep.
- Floor Side To Side Slams – Sit with your legs out in front of you and perform slams to the sides of your legs, alternating side on each slam.
Circles / Whips
- Circles – With a rope in each hand, about shoulder width apart, extend your arms in front of you and rotate them to make circles with the battle ropes. Change direction after a set amount of time.
- Lateral Whips – Raise both arms out to your sides, as if you were performing a lateral raise, before whipping them down towards the floor.
- Wrestler Throws – Take a rope in each hand and hold them as if you were performing hammer curls, with the ends of the battle rope pointing at the ceiling. Whip the rope up and twist your body to the side, before driving them down towards the floor knuckles first, in a motion that looks like a suplex.
- Alternate sides on each repetition.
- Tabata Rope Whips – Perform a double arm wave, only go side to side instead of up and down.
Modified Battle Rope Exercises
- Lying T – Lie on your front with your arms out in a “T” shape, holding a rope in each hand. Raise them up and down to create small waves, making sure not to smash your hands on the ground.
- Battle Rope Russian Twist – Perform the same action from the floor side to side slams above, only this time keep your feet off the ground and move them in the opposite direction to which you slam the rope.
- Battle Rope Jumping Jacks – Perform regular jumping jacks while holding a rope in each hand.
Example Battle Rope Circuit
While battle ropes circuits can include any of the exercises we have looked at, as well as numerous others, a well-rounded battle ropes workout will include exercises from all of the above categories.
The routine should target both the lower and upper body, helping to build strength throughout, while providing a substantial cardiovascular workout.
A good example would look something like this:
- Side Lunge Slam
- Forward Slam With Step Back
- Alternating Waves
- Wrestler Throws
- Lateral Whips
- Lying T
- Plank Waves
- Side Plank Slam
- Battle Rope Russian Twist
Perform each exercise for 10 seconds before immediately moving to the next.
After completing the circuit rest for 1 minute, then repeat for another 5 rounds. In total, the routine will take 15 minutes to complete.
The exercises and the order they are in ensure that not only will you work your entire body during the session, but you will also be able to flow seamlessly from one exercise to the next.
The battle rope is a simple yet incredibly effective tool for anyone looking to slim down, tone up, or improve their cardiovascular conditioning.
Its versatility means you will always have ways to keep things fresh and even those who find cardio boring will have options to keep themselves engaged.
Admittedly, they do take up quite a bit of room, which is usually the main reason for a gym not having them.
That said, being fairly cheap and easy to set up means you can always purchase your own and use them in locations like a park or garden.
However you have to go about it, battle ropes are an incredible tool to change your body composition.
I would highly recommend everyone give them a try, and you may be surprised at the results you can achieve from such a simple and understated piece of equipment.