You’ve heard all of the hype and probably seen these battle ropes in action at your local gym. But, you’re wondering what’s with all the hype? What are the benefits of these battle ropes? Do the battle ropes benefits really shred fat and tone up the body like everyone says?
Exercising with Battle Ropes
There’s no doubt that the name battle ropes can be intimidating for those coming across it for the first time, but even before making its way into mainstream gyms it was a staple in many professional athletes’ workouts.
The reason battle ropes are gaining popularity is the fact they are able to build strength and endurance at the same time; an achievement few other exercise methods or equipment can proclaim.
So instead of hitting that elliptical machine for a cardio workout and then lifting some weights to increase strength, you can kill two birds with one stone by exercising and reaping the benefits of battle ropes.
My favorite benefit of battle ropes is that they are a low-impact exercise. By low-impact, I mean an exercise that doesn’t strain the joints; suitable for those recovering from an injury, or simply those with bone or joint problems.
Battle ropes are available in different weights and length but are all made of a thick braided rope, with rubber tips at either extremity.
Battle Rope Exercises
Before you actually start experimenting with battle ropes, keep in mind that just because it’s a low-impact exercise, does not mean you can’t injure yourself from it; like any other type of workout, maintaining proper form is essential.
When dealing with battle rope exercises, the key points to consider are:
- a wide stance
- tight back and abs
- always looking straight.
Also, it’s easier for beginners to keep a little bend in the knees and breathe properly whilst performing the movements.
With muscle fatigue, your shoulders may round forward, putting more pressure on the lower back. Once this happens, immediately rest for 60-90 seconds and restart, whilst keeping your posture in check. It might be difficult for the first few times, but with time, you’ll master the battle rope stance.
This is a simple rope workout that serves in getting you used to handle the ropes. Start by placing some weight on the far end of the rope, to anchor the ropes. Grab the other ends with each hand, keeping feet shoulder width apart. Move your arms up and down in a quick motion to produce consistent waves in the rope. You will feel the burn in your arms, abs and legs as you use the muscles to keep your posture tight.
Shoulder circles which hit the 3 heads of your shoulder muscle at the same time are particularly popular with swimmers and boxers. Grab the rope ends with a shoulder width stance and knees slightly bent. Next, raise your arms over your shoulders and start rotating them in a clockwise motion. Switch to an anti-clockwise motion after 20 seconds to engage the whole muscle group.
Snakes on the floor:
A more intermediate exercise that will engage your whole upper body is snakes on the floor. Start by anchoring the ropes, and then standing to face the anchor, feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Grab the ropes and assume a squat position. Now keep your arms close to the ground and move them in a way that will make the ropes mimic the movements of two snakes on the floor. To keep your whole upper body engaged, your arms should not cross at any point during this exercise.
Don’t expect to be able to do more than a few reps of this exercise if you’re still new to battle ropes. It takes a lot of strength and stamina to complete a workout that has power slams in it. To perform this exercise, stand straight facing the anchor with feet placed hip-width apart. Simply raise your hands and slam the ropes to the ground with all your might, lowering your body to a squat position. Stand up, take a breath, and repeat.
Wood choppers are a very effective cardio exercise on their own; it’s common to feel drained and tired after a 10-minute workout. Start by holding ends of the battle rope, palms facing each other, standing with feet hip-width apart.
Step right leg back and bend left knee 90 degrees as you twist torso to the left, bringing extremities of rope by your left side. Raise your arms overhead toward the right as you twist torso to the right, simultaneously switching leg positions. Whip the rope down, bringing hands by right side, in a wood-chopping movement. Reverse motion and keep it going for 30 seconds.
Alternating Wave Lunge Jump
Let’s up the ante a little more to make things more exciting. Begin with the double wave motion. Place your right leg back into a reverse lunge, followed by a jump, switching legs upon landing with the other leg extended back. Keep alternating between your legs while keeping perfect form throughout the movement.
Shift your whole body to the left with your feet perpendicular to the anchor. Hold the battle rope tightly as if you were holding a baseball bat — hands on top of each other. Raise your arms in an up and down movement as fast as you can. Throughout it, switch your stance and face the right, and reverse your hand grip to switch the position of your hands. Continue the movement for at least 15 seconds.
What Muscles do Battle Ropes Work?
As previously mentioned, the benefit of battle ropes is their ability to build strength and endurance at the same time.
This can only be achieved by engaging most of your major muscles in one single workout session.
Since all exercises involve you grabbing the ends of the ropes, your forearms, muscle groups with limited exercises to target them, as well as your grip strength, are improved. Keeping good form while pulling the rope can help you target your back muscles.
Other forms of exercise that involve rotation, designed especially for your shoulders, will hit your trapezius muscles hard enough to stimulate them heavily.
Luckily, your abs and lower back muscle have to be tight during the entire workout, which means they are also being worked to their maximum potential. Finally, your legs, glutes, and calves are the driving power behind many of the explosive exercises with battle ropes, therefore, are getting extra benefit from all the stress placed upon them from many demanding exercises, mainly those that include squatting.
Now that you have acquired the basic knowledge on how to use battle ropes as a workout alternative and as a hack towards improving lean muscle mass while dropping body fat, let’s try putting all these exercises and info together to create a workout plan to maximize the benefits of battle rope in an efficient way:
Just like any new exercise routine, make sure you’ve familiarized yourself with the exercises and practiced them before performing them back to back. The best circuit with battle ropes is similar to the High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) concepts: Perform each exercise for 30 seconds followed by a 30-second rest. Once you’ve done all sets, cool down and stretch.
A good beginner routine should follow this sequence of exercises:
- Double Waves
- Shoulder Circles
- Power Slam
- These 3 exercises are good enough to give you a feel of a battle rope workout. It will take you about 15 minutes to complete this routine, but you will definitely feel exhausted.
Your total workout would look like this:
– Warm up (Stretching your muscles)
– 30 seconds Double Waves followed by 30-second rest
– 20 seconds Shoulder Circles in each direction followed by a 40-second rest
– 20 seconds of Power Slams followed by a 20-second rest
Repeat for a minimum of 3 times or a maximum of 5 times.
– Cool down
As this becomes easier, try adding other exercises or simply increasing the number of sets done at each workout to increase the intensity.
There you go. We’ve armed you with enough battle rope ammunition to do some major damage on those muscles! Time to get to work!