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Nowadays you don’t have to visit a CrossFit gym to see battle rope exercises in use. What used to be reserved for specific fitness niches and professional athletes is now utilized in home gyms, outdoor workouts, and boot camps.
The simplicity of battle rope exercises are what makes them a popular choice for overall body conditioning; all you need is two ropes and you’ll be shedding fat, building lung power, and gaining strength and stamina.
This head-to-toe training method is perfect for people of all fitness levels and ages. “The battle ropes are even great to use for senior citizens, and they can be performed seated in a chair until enough strength is built to over time support yourself,” explains Athena Sprouse, certified personal trainer, and stretch therapist.
So, whether you’re an avid athlete, just starting out, or simply want to add conditioning training to your lifting routine, the battle ropes are a fantastic tool to boost your fitness level.
If you’ve never battled ropes, or are wondering how to include them into your routine, Sprouce lays the foundation to help you battle your way to a stronger body!
Battle ropes made their first appearance in 2006 when John Brookfield, a multiple world record holder in strength and fitness, holding records in nail bending, card tearing, and pulling semi-trucks for the distance of one full mile, developed the system around his backyard.
And as impressive as that is, so are the benefits of battling ropes. This low impact, high intensity training method not only increases grip strength but come with a host of benefits for the body.
“There are numerous benefits of using battle ropes including fat burning, building muscle, full body strength training, endurance training, coordination, and stability,” says Sprouce. And the great thing is, you can use them in the comfort of your own home gym, garage, yard, and gym.
When beginning battle rope training, it is good to start with the basics. “The first important focus should be to maintain a good, strong posture,” says Sprouse. This will help avoid injury and provide a solid range of motion.
Proper posture should look like this: “Maintaining a neutral spine position and holding a tight core at all times through the exercise, while making sure you’re breathing,” says Sprouse.
If you’re one to hold your breath during reps, keep breathing at the forefront of your mind when battling ropes.
And although it may be tempting to just start slamming your heart out, it’s best to start slow and maintain a steady pace. When first starting out, Sprouse recommends starting with intervals of 30 seconds while maintaining a steady pace. Over time, increase your time and pace to continue your progress.
For battle rope beginners, Sprouce recommends incorporating it into your workout at least one to two times per week. “Start with alternating single arm slams at the end of your workout as a great finisher, then add variation exercises (jumping jacks, double arm slams) by week two to further challenge yourself,” she says
Over time, increase your intensity and the time you spend on your workouts to about three times per week to continue progression. “There are no set rules for how often they should be performed,” says Sprouse. However, a great rule of thumb is about three alternate days per week as this allows for recovery after such an intense workout.
Although people of all ages and fitness levels can benefit from battling ropes, there are some contraindications. “Battle ropes are not recommended for anyone with compromising shoulder or back injuries,” says Sprouse. Consulting your doctor or physical therapist before hitting the ropes to prevent further injuries.
“Limiting motion at the trunk and maintaining a correct posture in any exercise is key to injury prevention,” she says. Placing a reminder that proper form is important to any and every exercise.
There are a wide variety of battle rope moves, but here are some top-ranking exercises and how to perform them.
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