By Stephanie Van Ness, CSCS
You've seen them. Probably used them a few (hundred) times too. Those thick ropes anchored horizontally to the bottom of the wall in the back of the gym. Seems most ARXers have a love-hate relationship with the battle ropes. Why? When used properly, they will kick your ass.
But that's why you should love them. They offer a host of benefits, not the least of which is developing mental toughness. When you first start using the ropes, accomplishing 15 slams non-stop is a major challenge. Anything more seems patently ridiculous. But of course, that's not the case. Even though your lungs will burn and your muscles will scream from the lactic acid build up, you'll be able to push harder and harder with consistent training. Soon, 50 slams will seem manageable. Want to try a 100? Sure, why not????
So enjoy your training time on the ropes and check out these benefits:
Ropes place minimal stress on the joints.
The high intensity, rapid nature of battle rope training helps torch fat, as well as develops exceptional muscular and cardiovascular endurance.
Consistent training will help you increase your power output, which translates into improved performance in sports and other exercises, as well as develop a killer grip. Farmer walks won't seem as challenging!
Total body fitness
Battle rope training involves the entire body, allowing you to apply force that begins at the core and extends through both arms and legs.
Is your right side stronger than your left? Training with battle ropes helps balance strength/movement discrepancies.
Battle Rope Exercises
The possibilities are practically limitless. Here are a few of my favorites:
Two-hand power slams
This is the go-to move. Hold a rope end in each hand, get into a quarter-squat position with your arms at rest, raise your arms and slam the rope into the ground as you squat, and then return to the starting position. (Pretend you're driving a team of horses.) Do it continuously with as much force as you can muster.
With a rope end in each hand and sitting in the quarter squat position, alternate quickly like you're a drummer in a '80s metal band. The waves should undulate to the wall.
In a quarter squat, swing your arms together side-to-side and make your rope slither like a snake.
Hold the ropes with a reverse grip and do a jumping jack. Or 50. Your shoulders will beg for mercy!
In a quarter squat, move your arms in and out like you're clapping your hands together. Another shoulder burner.