One of the hottest fitness trends of the past 12 months involves the use of Ropes and incorporating them to existing routines as well as to blast out new motions for a more intense all-over body burn and workout.
At first, many thought it was just a gimmick or a fad that would prove to be nothing but unmet promises and money down the drain. However as time went on, the results were there for all to see and now form a critical part of the training for professional athletes across a range of sports.
So let’s break it down:
What is a Battle / Heavy / Power Rope?
Well firstly, as you may have guessed the name does vary depending on where you’re reading about it. As far as my knowledge goes on the name, the word ‘battle’ derives from the MMA and UFC scenes. ‘Heavy’ and ‘power’ more within the fitness industry. Whether you use the word battle, heavy or power rope…it doesn’t really matter.
As the name suggests power rope training is exercising with ropes. Not only is power rope training highly effective in burning fat and losing weight, but it’s also extremely fun to do! The great thing about rope training is the fact you don’t need the gym to workout. You can train with ropes in your back garden, the beach your local park – anywhere where there’s enough space.
Battle Ropes come in various sizes. For most people a diameter of 1 ½ – 2 inches and a length of around 50feet. For those starting out in their training the smaller size ropes will be suitable for you to use, and then as your body conditions itself to their use and your fitness improves, you can push yourself to the bigger ropes for bigger results.
If there’s one thing your workouts need it’s diversity. If you’ve been exercising for any period of time you will know that performing the same workout routines day in and day out, will not only become boring but there’s also a very good chance you’ll hit a plateau – that’s where using a heavy rope comes in handy.
What are the Benefits of training with Heavy Ropes?
Diet aside, the keys to weight loss is a high intensity workout complete with real sweat, combined with strength training using real weights that work your whole body. Enter Battle Ropes.
High Intensity – Throwing those ropes around is hard work. Utilising a full range of motion and real muscles as opposed to the limited range of motion that barbells and dumbbells offer, work even the smallest muscles in your body and increase your metabolic heart rate at the same time. You’ll be raising a sweat in no-time and the longer you go for the more calories your body will burn. Battle Rope Training Burns around 10 calories per minute. Measured on the same scale that is a higher per minute burn than Burpees or Squats.
Resistance Training – Unlike other forms of cardio vascular exercise that may actually cause you to lose muscle mass, Ropes add a real resistance level to your workout that will not only protect your muscle mass, but may help you increase your strength. This is important because it’s well documented that the more muscle mass you have, the more calories it takes to contract them so you burn more calories throughout the day than you would with less muscle mass. Tip:` The more slack you allow the rope to have the more resistance it will give. Adjust to suit your level and challenge yourself to go higher when ready
Unrivaled range of motion – Don’t just limit yourself to a basic up/down. Long strokes up, short strokes up, short lateral strokes and longer lateral strokes. Incorporate Burpees into them, or lunges. The wider range of movement you allow yourself to use, the greater the benefits to your Core strength and body balance.
Battle rope exercises can be a greater finisher to your workouts. Once your standard weight workout is complete you can top yourself off until your muscles are fully exhausted using. The joints are not under any undue pressure and it hits you all over. Alternatively, think of including Ropes in your general exercises. Burpees and lunges are great examples where you can add Waves to the routine.
For casual fitness seekers who may not have enough time to make it to the gym, these ropes can be tied to any fixed or heavy item in your house or yard (or better still, take them out to the park or the beach) and you can give yourself a 20-30 minute all over workout with them and they don’t take up too much storage room when not in use.
Now that you have the basic understanding of how Battle Ropes help with your weight less, it’s time to get technical and scientific.
Physiological Benefits include;
- Your Body will produce a larger level of hormones which will increase metabolic activity during the workout, and the EPOC (Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption) will keep it high for the next 3 hours – AKA The Afterburn Effect.
- Help Reduce your subcutaneous fat levels (the stuff just under your skin) for a ripped look
- Increased Muscle Glycogen whilst resting. Glycogen produced by the body acts as a secondary long term energy storage source for your body
How do I use them?
The 2 basic movements are the single handed up / down motion and the side to side / cross over actions.
Below you’ll find a great video that showcases some of the exercises you can
A lot of the exercises will work different areas of your upper body, such as your biceps, forearms and shoulders, however add in a few squats and lunges and you’ll be working the whole body – perfect conditions for maximum fat burning!
Here’s a quick video that highlights some of the exercises you can do with a set of heavy ropes.
9 Rope Training Exercises
- Exercise One: Alternating Arms – Small Waves
- Exercise Two: Alternating Arms – Big Waves
- Exercise Three: Alternating Arms With Burpee
- Exercise Four: Double Arm Slams With Burpee
- Exercise Five: Wide Arm Slams With Burpee
- Exercise Six: Arm Circles
- Exercise Seven: Wide Arm Circles
- Exercise Eight: Double Slam With Alternating Lunge
- Exercise Nine: Rope Flips
There are different ways in which you could perform these exercises, you could perform them in a Tabata style circuit workout, you could perform each exercise for a certain number of reps or seconds – you could even join 2 different exercises together.
Like I mentioned before rope training can be done almost anywhere – meaning you don’t have to be stuck in a box gym on a sunny day.
The Best Battle Rope Arm Exercises
Working out with Battle Ropes puts you on the fast track to a super ripped physique, increased core body strength, super charged aerobic fitness and great real world strength. Oh yeah, and Killer Arms too.
The beauty of Battle Ropes is that your arms get a great workout in pretty much every exercise. Your hand strength improves out of this world as your body adapts to gripping the rope firmly throughout. Your forearms get a great burn as it stabilises the hand from the reverberations of the rope whilst performing the exercises.
So what are the exercises that are best of developing the shoulders, biceps and triceps? Here are my Sexy Six!
- OUTSIDE CIRCLE WAVES
How to perform them: Standing in a half squat position with your weight slightly towards the balls of your feet. Careful not to lean too far forward though. Raise our right arm and swing the rope in a clockwise motion. At the same time, raise your left arm and swing the rope, this time, in a counter-clockwise direction (If it helps, picture the Wax on, Wax Off scene from The Karate Kid)
Recommended Sets & Reps: 3 Sets of 15-20 Reps, using a heavier thicker rope is ideal for strength endurance and conditioning.
How to perform them: Standing in a half squat with your arms out in front holding each end of the rope about hip height and shoulder width apart. The goal is to get the ropes to look like snakes on the ground so from this. Move your arms quickly side to side in a whipping motion to generate the pattern. Once the snaking pattern is achieved you can keep it narrow, or give a greater range of arm motion for varying degrees of workout you can also move your hands closer to knee level so that that snake stays low and along the ground
Recommended Timing: Start off with 15second sets and work your way up to one minute sets. If you are looking to finish your routine with this exercise, then try the last set until muscular exhaustion. This will depend upon your own fitness level as well as the length and weight of the rope that you are using
- ARM WAVES
How to perform them: Holding the rope in each hand move in so that the rope is able to be held at waist height with it vertically dropping to the floor and then along the ground to where it’s anchored. We do this so that we can get sufficient slack in the rope to create the wave motion. Again starting in the half squat position, with your palms facing downmove your arms up and down in a whipping motion to create the wave. This exercise can be done with both arms working up and down at the same time, or alternating. You can vary the size of the save by either keeping your arm movement in small sharp whips, or you can allow a greater range of movement by raising your arm high and then back down (Paint the Fence, if still thinking of that scene from Karate Kid)
VARIATION – The Palm down aspect of this exercise helps to focus the workout on your triceps. Changing the grip on the ropes so that your palms are facing upwards holding the hope will change the focus on the workout to your biceps.
Recommended timing: 3 sets of 30-60 seconds or Longer if your fitness allows or you are looking at using this exercise as a finisher to your arm workout
How to perform them: Facing the anchor with the rope out in front of you, hold the ropes in each hand with your palms facing inward. Raise both your arms high in the air and then slam that rope down with full force into the ground, and repeat. This exercise can also be done singularly by raising one arm high in the air repeating the slamming motion.
Recommended Sets & Reps: 1 set of 15 Slams where both arms are raised. 1 set of 15 using a right armed slam and then 1 set of 15 with the left handed slam
- GRAPPLE THROW / HIP TOSS
How to perform them: Grip the rope with each hand held close together. Start off with your hands on one side of your body and then flip the rope over and slam it in to the ground on the other side, and then repeat the motion back to the original starting point. Picture yourself in throwing something across your body on to the floor. It’s important to keep both feet grounded during this motion and pivoting your torso from side to side. Your opposite leg can pivot also, but keep it in contact with the ground at all times.
Recommended Sets & Reps: 2 sets of 20 (10 to the left, 10 to the right)
- TRICEP EXTENSION
How to perform them: Lift the ropes high in the air with each hand. Twist your body 180 degrees so that your back is towards the anchor. Keeping your elbows high bend your arm backwards at greater than 90 degrees. Keeping your upper arms still, extend the rope upwards as you straight your arms. Control your movement back to the bent position and then repeat the extension for the full duration of your set.
Recommended Sets & Reps: 3 Sets of 10-15 Reps
Does Power Rope Training Work?
Well it’s like anything really, if you put the effort in, plan your workouts (and making sure you eat right!) you will start to see results from rope training. The great thing about this type of training, is the way it works every single muscle in your body – no better way to burn fat than to work the whole body.
Where Can You Buy Battle Ropes?
Battle Ropes are easily available for purchase online as well as some selected retail outlets. Websites like www.Onnit.com and www.Amazon.com are widely recognised and trusted sites for you to purchase from
One of the best value ropes on Onnit.com is the 40feet, 2” Battle Rope at $119.95. This Rope weighs 21lbs. The website easily caters for ropes of different sizes just by clicking on the drop down menus. The total weight of each rope can be found within the same page.
Amazon.com have the same dimension rope with more of a plain design for $102.95 & Free Shipping. Again they have the same easy to view drop down menu making rope selection easy. Amazon also allows you to check out the Reviews from people who have purchased the product previously which may help you with your decision.
All in all heavy rope training is hugely beneficial for both your physical and mental state.
Not only can they be carried around wherever in the world you are, but training with heavy rope can be extremely fun!
Be adventurous and give your workouts some variety by adding rope training into your workout routines.
Let me know how you get on!
Until next time,
Take Care – Stay Focused – and burn a lot of fat with battle ropes!