Battle ropes are some of the hottest pieces of exercise equipment — and for good reason. They not only look cool, they also make for a killer workout, no matter your fitness level.
What Are Battle Ropes?
Battle ropes, also known as heavy ropes or battling ropes, are weighted ropes used to build body strength and cardio conditioning. They're designed to be thick and heavy in order to add extra resistance to your workout without having to place extra weight on your joints. Designed by John Brookfield around 2006, battle ropes have earned quite the reputation. They've been used by the Olympic wrestling team, Special Forces, and countless other athletes. But they're not just reserved for the hardcore fitness crowd.
In recent years, battle ropes have enjoyed more mainstream popularity. They're fun to use and easy to store, making them the perfect addition to any at-home gym.
What are the Benefits of using Battle Ropes
Battle ropes are a unique way to work out, but the benefits are straightforward. We love battle ropes for their wide range of benefits, including:
1. Maintaining Intensity
Most exercises for maintaining intensity are focused on your lower body, like climbing, running, and legs-based high-intensity workouts. Battle ropes provide this benefit, but for your upper body, too. Training your upper body to maintain intensity will help improve your form on a number of other exercises, whether it's weightlifting, pull-ups, or simply moving objects around your house.
2. Creating Balance
It's normal for your body to develop strength imbalances over time. Because battle ropes allow each side to move independently, they're a great tool for building strength and mobility on one side that may be weaker.
3. Challenging Your Body and Mind
Battle ropes are a physically demanding — but rewarding — workout. Many athletes begin their battle rope journey unable to keep up their intensity for a full minute. Over time, you can train your body to maintain intensity on the battle ropes for several minutes at a time. Challenge yourself by incrementally increasing your time as you build up your strength and endurance.
4. Provide a Change of Pace
It's natural for workouts to start feeling stale after a while. Ropes provide a refreshing change of pace for your at-home workout, and they allow you to get an intense burn in a short period of time.
How do you use Battle Ropes?
Learning how to use battle ropes may take some time and patience. Get to know the basics so that you can get the most out of your battle rope workout. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Perfect Your Grip
When learning how to grip your battle ropes, it’s important to remember to relax. Tense muscles will lead to quicker exhaustion. To master your grip technique, remember to:
- Lightly grip the rope in both hands.
- Relax your arms, shoulders, and core before you start.
2. Learn How to Breathe
To maximize your battle rope workout, you’ll need to learn how to manage your breathing. It's harder than you think! During your rope session:
- Avoid holding your breath throughout.
- Attempt to match your movement with your breathing.
- Breathe deeper during the more intense parts of your workout.
- Slow your breathing down as you bring the intensity back down.
3. Use Your Whole Body
One of the keys to proper battle rope technique is using your whole body. Take time to understand how to use your core and back muscles throughout your workout to protect your spine. Beyond this, focus on developing a proper stance without locking your knees or tensing your shoulders.
What are Good Battle Rope Workouts?
Battle ropes are a great way to add an intense burst of cardio or full-body strength training at the beginning, middle, or end of your regular workout routine. Whether you’re looking to activate your abs, strengthen your arms, or try a new high-intensity workout, these five beginner battle rope exercises will do the trick:
1. Power Slams
Power slams offer an incredible total-body burn. For additional lower-body strengthening and coordination-building, add a jump to this dynamic exercise. To execute a power slam:
- Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees bent.
- Hold one rope with each hand and lower them to your sides.
- Bend your knees and get in a low squat.
- Breathe in and engage your core muscles.
- Breathe out while lifting both ropes as high as you can and lifting out of your squat in an explosive motion.
- As you come back down, slam the ropes into the ground in a wave-like motion.
- If you want to incorporate a jump, push off the ground at the top of your explosive motion.
Repeat this cycle for 30 seconds before resting for 30 seconds. Aim to complete 3 to 5 sets.
While battle ropes offer a cardio workout all their own, they're also great alternatives to barbells or dumbbells. For example, to get an excellent core and shoulder workout, try a shoulder press. Without dumbbells, this exercise allows you to work on your form. To achieve a shoulder press with battle ropes:
- Start with your feet about hip-width apart.
- Hold the ropes on your shoulders, similar to a rack position.
- Lower into a square by bending your knees and keeping your chest open.
- As you stand up, press the ropes towards the ceiling.
- Straighten your arms as much as possible.
- Lower the ropes back down as you lower into a squat.
This exercise can be performed with or without the squat, depending on your fitness level. Try this exercise for 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 20 reps, with 1 minute of rest in between.
3. Circle Waves
Circle waves may sound simple, but this full-body exercise will challenge both your grip and back strength. The goal is to create as big of circles as you can manage. To complete circle waves:
- Start with your feet hip-width apart and bend your knees.
- Grab the ropes in each hand.
- Engage your core muscles and focus on keeping your spine straight.
- Swing the ropes outward in a swinging motion.
- To complete the circle, bring your arm back in front of your chest.
- Maintain a circular motion by using the momentum of the rope.
This exercise can be done with outward circles, inward circles, and alternating hands. Try to complete 3 to 5 sets of 30 seconds, with 30 seconds of rest in between.
Also known as slam jacks, this exercise is sure to fire up your heart as well as your shoulder muscles, core, and obliques. To complete a battle rope jumping jack:
- Hold the ropes in each hand.
- Start with your feet about hip-width apart and your elbows slightly bent.
- As you would with a classic jumping jack, jump your feet out wide.
- As you jump, lift your arms out to the side, keeping your elbows slightly bent.
- When you jump back to close, slam the ropes back to the ground.
Repeat this process for 30 seconds. Complete 3 to 5 sets with 30 seconds of rest between every set.
Alternating waves are the perfect end to any workout. This exercise requires coordination and strength, so a short burst goes a long way. To use your battle ropes for alternating waves:
- Start with your feet about hip-width apart.
- Grab a rope with each hand.
- Bend your knees into a partial squat and engage your core.
- With alternating arms, lift the rope with force to create a wave motion with the rope.
This exercise is simple but intense. Try to complete 2 to 5 sets of 30 seconds, with 30 seconds of rest between your sets.
How do you Choose Battle Ropes?
When choosing your battle ropes, there are a few elements to consider. Select a rope that fits comfortably within your grip and choose a weight that is manageable for your fitness level. Some high-quality examples include:
We love that this battle rope can help you become a more explosive athlete. It includes heavy-duty nylon rope, aluminum grips, and an approachable thickness of 1.5 inches. A nylon cover prevents fraying. This rope weighs 20 pounds total, making it a worthy portable addition to your home gym.
Much like its shorter counterpart, this rope features a 1.5-inch thickness, aluminum grips, and a durable nylon sleeve. The 50-foot version weighs 30 pounds and also comes with reinforcing clamps. It's versatile while offering a more intense workout for more developed athletes.
Need Help Finding the Best Battle Ropes?
If you need assistance picking out the perfect battle rope to complete your home gym, the fitness equipment experts at G&G Fitness can help. Whether you’re looking to build a home gym from the ground up or hoping to find a fun, new piece of equipment, G&G Fitness will connect you with the best products for your fitness needs. Contact us today!
At G&G Fitness, we work hard to help you train hard. We’re happy to demonstrate how to use our products and can offer workout suggestions as well. Contact us to learn more!