Battle Ropes: The Best Exercise You're Probably Not Doing

Why You Should Add Battle Ropes to Your Workout Routine

Are you looking for an exercise that can build both strength and endurance? How about one that requires just a single piece of fitness equipment (that you can easily store when not in use), an anchor point, and some open space? Look no further than battle ropes.

Battle ropes are traditionally what you would see being pulled between two teams in a tug of war, but now you'll find them in many gyms. They are often used during a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, followed by a low-intensity exercise or complete rest.

To make a battle-rope workout more intense, you can adjust the length of the rope, use thicker ropes, adjust the positioning of the anchor points, change the speed of the move, and more [1]. One small study found that in both male and female athletes, increasing the weight of battling ropes during HIIT training led to increased core strength and shoulder flexion, and extension strength, plus improved push-up and sit-up endurance [2].

This guide will bring you up to speed on everything you need to know about battle ropes, how to add them to your training routine, and the health and performance benefits of a battle-rope workout.

What Are Battle Ropes?

You'll typically find battle ropes in a gym, but they also add to your home workouts if you have enough open space. There are many exercises you can do with battle ropes with a little creativity and an anchor point, such as a door frame.

The good thing is battle ropes take up very little room when they're not in use, and they last for years (being made of a durable material that comes in various lengths). Typically, the ropes are between 1 and 2 inches thick and 50 feet long (though they come in shorter lengths, too).

What Are the Benefits of Battle Ropes?

Battle ropes are a great addition to your strength training routine. When combined with other exercises, you can get a great workout. Depending on the battle rope exercise you are doing, you'll always work your upper body, especially the shoulder muscles. Most battle rope moves also work your whole body, as your legs anchor you.

Also, using battle ropes increases your heart rate and relies on anaerobic glycolysis, making them a great HIIT cardio exercise to aid in fat loss. Additionally, consistent use of battle ropes will help strengthen your grip for exercises like the barbell deadlift.

Another benefit of battle rope training is that it's a low-impact exercise (while being high-intensity). While it's common for the battle rope to be used in a standing position, you can use the rope sitting as well; intuitively, sitting places more emphasis on the upper-body [3].

What Battle Rope Exercises Can I Do?

First, let's talk about proper posture. To use the battle ropes, you'll start with one rope in each hand and feet hip-width apart. Hold one end of the rope in each hand with a solid grip at arms length, palms facing in.

With your knees slightly bent, hinge forward and brace your core. Pumping your arms up and down in unison, moving the ropes quickly to lift them off the floor and make a wave pattern. This is the basis of all battle rope moves. Once you've mastered battle rope waves, you can move on to other exercises that build strength in different body parts.

Battle Rope Waves

How to do it: With knees slightly bent, hinge forward and brace your core. Pumping your arms up and down in unison, moving the ropes quickly to lift them off the floor and make a wave pattern.

You can also hold both ends of the rope in one hand, working one arm at a time.

Bi-Lateral Waves

How to do it: With knees slightly bent, hinge forward and brace your core. Raise your right arm up and move the rope in your right hand into a wave pattern. As you swing your right arm down, lift your left arm, so your arms are pumping in an alternating motion.

Battle Rope Crossovers

How to do it: With knees slightly bent and both feet flat on the floor, move the ends of the rope in an arc above your head. First, lift them to your right and cross them over your body to slam them down hard to your left. Repeat on the opposite side and continue to alternate.

Power Slams

How to do it: With knees slightly bent, hinge forward and brace your core. Push through your legs to lift your heels off the ground. Pumping your arms up and down in unison, slam the rope to the ground, then lift it up and repeat.

Jumping Battle Rope Slams

How to do it: With knees slightly bent, hinge forward and brace your core. As you lift your arms overhead, jump off the ground. Land softly as you slam the ropes to the ground. Repeat.

Alternating Circles

How to do it: With knees slightly bent, hinge forward and brace your core. Swing your right arm out to the side to create a circle. As you return the rope back to starting position, swing your left arm out to the side to create a circle. Return to starting position and repeat.

What Is a Good Battle Rope Workout?

As mentioned above, battle ropes work your upper body, and you'll definitely feel the burn in your deltoids (shoulder muscles). You'll be slamming, lifting, and swinging the ropes to work your muscles and get your heart rate up. Adding some of the above battle rope exercises to your HIIT circuit is a great way to change things up while working towards your muscle-building and fat-loss goals.

Battle rope moves can take some getting used to initially, so start with either a time goal or a rep goal for each exercise and slowly try to progress each session. As you perfect your form, you can perform the moves for longer. Eventually, you'll want to graduate to a longer rope or thicker rope for an advanced challenge.

Where Can I Buy Battle Ropes?

There are many types of battle ropes you can use in your home gym. Most battle ropes come in a durable polyester blend, so you can have a reliable piece of workout equipment for years to come. Generally, the best battle ropes have high tensile strength and won't fray, even after extensive use.

For example, the Geardo battle rope comes in a protective sleeve to keep the rope from fraying. As the best budget rope, reviewers love the Amazon Basics battle rope.

Additionally, decide if you want heavy ropes or lighter ropes. Remember, the heavier and longer the rope, the harder your workout will be.

Final Verdict: Battle Rope Workouts

Adding battle rope exercises to your HIIT workout is a great way to improve both strength and endurance. The best battle rope exercises are worth consideration regardless if your goal is to build muscle or lose weight. You can also use battle ropes to warm up before resistance training, adding some functional cardio to your workouts.

Overall, the battle rope is an excellent way to mix up your workouts and cardio routine that'll pay dividends for your physique and athletic performance. On that note, check out our 8-Week Body Recomposition Guide for an in-depth diet and workout routine that will help you build muscle and get lean!

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