Which ropes have brought about a revolution to fitness? Battle ropes!
It turns out you can do much more than tie knots with ropes. Nowadays ropes are being creatively utilised as decorating accessories for homes and fashion. They are maintaining their functional benefit as tools for sailing and climbing. And if you have walked into a modern-day gym recently, you have probably noticed thick ropes lying around. We assure you they aren’t there for tying up dumbbells and treadmills. Ropes are now used to tighten up the body, deliver intense workouts and challenge professional athletes.
In this article we will go over everything you need to get started with battle ropes, you may finally be convinced to implement them for your fitness goals.
Table of contents:
- What are Battle Ropes?
- What are Battle Ropes for?
- The Benefits: Why Should You Use Battle Ropes?
- How to Use Battle Ropes
- The Basics of Battle rope Exercises: Double Wave
- 9 Exercises You Can Do With Your Battle Rope
- Do battle ropes burn belly fat?
- Do battle ropes build muscle? – Muscles Worked
- What size battle ropes do I need?
- Battle Ropes For Sale
Battle ropes are thick ropes, usually 35mm to 50mm in diameter. You may have heard them being referred to as muscle ropes, exercise ropes or heavy ropes.
Your choice of battle rope will depend on where and how you plan on using it. Though they may vary in length, you will find the 10m, 15m and 20m rope are not too difficult to find. They can also be made out of different materials ranging from synthetic and non-synthetic fibres.
Battle ropes are used for an extensive range of rope exercises, drills and stretches. Even though you may be under the impression that there is not much you can do with a single rope, the truth should impress you.
Implemented by professional boxers, swimmers, mixed martial artists and other elite athletes, battle ropes have become popular fixtures in many modern sports and fitness facilities. They are a favourite of high-intensity interval training enthusiasts who are using the equipment in varying ways: shaking, slamming, pulling, whipping, spiralling, climbing, etc.
More athletes are choosing battle ropes for their range of utility and effectiveness.
Heavy ropes are typically used for body conditioning routines that introduce the body to different stresses which promote strength and stability. They can also be laid on the ground as markers for shuttle runs. For weight resistance training, ropes are slid through sandbags or kettlebells.
They are adaptable to all sorts of exercises and environments.
You can only lift a dumb bell up and down for so long before you need to try something new. You should use battle ropes because they are fun and versatile. At some point, you are going to want to mix things up in the gym.
Plus, thick ropes are also tough on muscles, but gentle on joints. The nature of rope training takes less of a toll on the knees and other joints, lowering the chances of injury during exercise.
You may also physically benefit from the many ways in which you can use these ropes. Not only will your arms and shoulders reap the rewards of a heavy rope regimen, but your entire body also will too. The battle rope is the multi-purpose equipment that delivers results.
But perhaps the ultimate benefit of the battle rope is that you can take it anywhere. It only requires a fixed and sturdy object which serves as an anchor.
Some people like to wrap their rope around the sturdy rack in the gym. Many use a work out buddy to hold on to the ends of their ropes while they perform team drills. We have seen others wrap their battle rope around trees in a park or lifeguard posts at the beach. But today we are going to keep things simple for the beginner.
We are going to pretend you are starting your battle rope adventure with a wall anchor. You can purchase battle rope anchors for your home. They usually come with fixings that you can bolt into your wall. Fix the anchor a few inches above the ground.
The large eyelet of the average anchor is suitable for just about just about any battle rope. For the exercises described below, you only need to slide one end of your rope through the loop then hold both ends of the rope tightly in your hands.
Double Wave Battle Rope Exercise
Distance: Do not stand too far away from the anchor, you do not want your rope to be too tight. Ensure that there is enough slack on the rope to make waves.
STANCE: Facing the rack, keep your head steady by facing the anchor, be careful not to jerk your head upward. Keep your knees slightly bent, your feet shoulder-width apart. Lean forward slightly. Extend your arms out in front of you with the ropes in hand.
THE MOTION: With both hands together, palms facing each other, whip the rope up and down. Get a rhythm going with the momentum of the rope making vertical waves. Don’t forget to maintain your form, if you notice one arm is moving out of synch, slow down.
Do not Swing your hips: Your hips will want to sway a bit because of the natural momentum of the rope but keep your body steady.
Do not reach over your head: The point of the battle rope workout is endurance and stability. Keep your arms in front of you as you whip the rope. Being careless can lead to unnecessary injury.
Starting position checklist:
HEAD: Straightforward, facing the anchor.
CORE: Firm and used to keep your form steady.
GRIP: Hold the rope with your palms facing down.
KNEES: Slightly bent.
FEET: Flat on the ground and shoulder-width apart.
- Alternating Wave
This exercise is very much like the double wave described above except you are making waves by alternating the motions made by your arms. When the left hand is whipping up, your right hand should be lowered.
- Outward circles – A killer shoulder workout
For those looking to strengthen their shoulders, this battle rope routine offers the ideal challenge. Trying to maintain your form as your shoulder muscles throb in anguish is one of the indicators that outward circles are pushing your limits.
From the starting position raise your arms till they are over your shoulders. With your arms spread at a slight angle, away from your body, make spirals with the length of your battle rope. Make circles in a clockwise motion for a duration of time and then repeat in a counter-clockwise motion.
- Power Slam
Everything you have to know about the exercise is in its name. From your starting position, you are going to be pulling the gym rope overhead and slamming it into the ground. As you bring the rope to the floor, be sure to lower your hips into a comfortable squat. Then with your feet still flat on the ground, spring back up into your starting position, and repeat.
- Russian twists
Begin by sitting in the sit-up position with your feet together, your heels raised an inch off the floor, and your knees almost shoulder-width apart. Hold the rope in front of you. Begin by twisting your core so that your hips turn to one direction while you swing the rope toward the other side.
From the starting position, swivel your hips side to side and swing the rope across the floor from left to right, as if you were sweeping the floor with a horizontal double wave. Keep your toes planted firmly onto the ground as you allow your heels to raise and lower slightly depending on your body position as you turn.
- Jumping Jacks (Roping Jacks)
Starting with the ropes in your hands, palms together, perform jumping jacks. Jump with the ends of the rope and your hands above your shoulders, your legs spread apart. As you bring your hands and legs together again, whip the rope so that it makes waves as you open and close your body.
- Alternating Wave Lunges
Get a leg workout from your rope by incorporating lunges. Perform the alternating wave with your rope. Once you have a steady rhythm going, take a step back while maintaining the momentum of the ropes, lower your centre of gravity onto your lunging knee then alternate.
Adjust your starting position by lowering your hips into a slight squat, your feet flat and spread a bit more than shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees till you are dropped into a squat. You are going to be creating a moving similar to the double wave except instead of whipping the rope up and down, you whip it side to side by clapping the ends of the rope together. This will create the effect of a snake running away from you.
- One Arm Plank waves
Get into a plank position with one arm extended in front of you, palm flat on the ground. Hold the rope with the other hand. Begin the exercise by whipping the rope gently to make low vertical waves as you keep your body straight.
Yes, battle ropes burn belly fat. Many people opt for the battle rope routine because they see it as a more exciting form of cardiovascular activity.
The key to fat and calorie burning, as it pertains to exercise, is not to run further than you have ever run before. It is essential that you identify the range of heart rate that is your fat burning zone (typically 60% of your maximum heart rate). Hence, though battle ropes are great for high-intensity workouts, it would be more productive to maintain a reasonable pace to burn body fat.
If your entire workout consists of rope routines, burn belly fat by moderating your circuit. E.g. Instead of going for thirty repetitions in a thirty-second interval of the power slam exercise, fifteen slams may keep you within the ideal range for belly fat burning. Decide based on your fitness level and fat burn zone.
Battle ropes are also an excellent complement to cardio you may already be doing at the gym. To burn belly fat, you ought to run at a moderate level (keeping in mind your fat burning heart rate). You may also want to spend some time on the rowing machines before finally finishing the day with abdominal toning rope exercises like the one arm plank waves or the Russian twists.
Yes! You can build muscle with battle ropes.
Battle ropes are being adopted in various gyms all over the world because athletes are starting to realise the muscle building advantage of rope routines. These exercises create tension in muscle groups in unique ways. The element of surprise for muscles is crucial for achieving gains in the gym. Battle ropes stress muscle fibres from different angles when compared to the usual weight training techniques.
Muscles Worked during Rope Training
The muscles worked by battle ropes are your shoulders, triceps, biceps and especially your core. Because most rope exercises train your ability to maintain the momentum of heavy ropes, you are forced to keep your body steady, training your abdominals.
To see exactly why many athletes consider battle ropes as the ideal tool for body conditioning workouts, let’s take a close look at the body parts directly impacted by the double wave exercise. By bending your knees as you whip, you are stretching and pulling the gluteus maximus (glutes) and the latissimus dorsi (back). Your anterior deltoid (shoulder) muscles extend as the weight of the rope swings upwards, contracting as the rope falls. Your abdominal muscles are tightened to maintain the balance of your workout as the erector spinae (spinal erectors) are made stronger. You are also working on your grip and forearms as you continue through the exercise. The upper and lower trapezius (traps) experience a moderate workout as well. From a single exercise, you see how a rope may be the missing link between you and your next level of fitness.
Also, keep in mind that varying exercises will be more strenuous on different body parts. For example, if you want to get into it, throw some lunges or jumping jacks into your routine to get your hamstrings, glutes and quads screaming in delight.
One thing worth considering when deciding on your preferred thickness of rope is your desired workout and comfort level. E.g. If you plan on performing jumping jacks or outward circles, a 35mm to 38mm battle rope may better fit your needs depending on your physique.
Still, beginners should start with a 35mm to 38mm battle rope. A thicker rope will require relatively bigger hands and a tighter grip. You will spend more time concentrating on your work out and less time worrying about losing your rope.
As an added tip, if you are focused on burning fat with battle ropes, it is worth noting that the 35mm to 38mm Battle ropes lend themselves to more heart-pumping workouts. 50mm Battle ropes lend themselves to muscle building workouts.
Does length matter?
The simple answer is yes. The length of your battle rope makes a difference. The simplest way to understand this is to remember: the longer the rope, the more you have to whip/slam/alternate, resulting in more of a workout.
If space is a factor in your decision making, go for the shorter gym rope.
Battle Ropes for Sale
At Ropes Direct, we offer two ideal sets of battle ropes, the polyester battle rope and the manila battle rope. Each type comes in three sizes, 10m, 15m and 20m.
For the traditionalists, the manila battle rope is made from a 3-strand natural fibre rope and is suitable for use indoors and outdoors. It is surprisingly comfortable to grip, flexible and being a darkish brown will not show dirt and scuffs.
Our second category of battle rope (the braided polyester battle rope) is made from a 3-strand natural fibre rope and is suitable for use indoors and outdoors. It is surprisingly comfortable to grip, flexible and being a darkish brown will not show dirt and scuffs. As with all our Battling Ropes, the ends are finished with a glued and heat set black PVC end cap which will protect the ends from even the most vigorous workout!
The ends of both categories of battle ropes ends are finished with a glued and heat set black PVC end cap which will protect the ends from even the most vigorous workout.
Invest in a battle rope today. You would be surprised by how much your fitness levels can improve by investing in one rope.
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