Battle ropes are popping up everywhere: on social media, Globo gyms, CrossFit boxes, and even in the park (we’ve seen it, at least). They’re a great fat burning, aerobic, and strength building tool, but most people have no clue how to use them or where to start. In fact, they can be intimidating, and even when you muster up the courage to try them, you pick them up and they’re heavy! Yikes, what did you just sign up for? Lucky for you, because battle ropes are a relatively easy-to-learn piece of equipment for exercisers at all levels.
Battle Ropes Are More Than Just An Upper Body Workout
In truth, battle ropes are so much more than just an aerobic tool for the upper body and arms. When done correctly, battle ropes are actually a great tool for all levels and types of athletes, ranging from functional fitness athletes (like cross fitters) to Olympic weight lifters, everyday health enthusiasts, and even those looking to shed a few pounds.
What Is The Battle Rope Good For?
Battle ropes shouldn’t just provide an upper body and arm workout, but more rather, an effective full-body workout delivering high-level results in a pretty short amount of time. These ropes can help people develop power and fast twitch muscles, helping them explode out of their lifts or off the start line, they can help people develop strength for bigger PRs, shred fat to build lean body mass, and even improve aerobic capacity (trust us, you’ll be gasping for wind pretty quick)!
Using Battle Ropes: Tips & Tricks
Tip #1: Move Every Which Way
You aren’t just limited to moving the ropes up and down. Plus, after a few minutes, this can get pretty boring. When you move different ways with battle ropes, you work different areas of your body, demanding more and increasing your results. For example, when you move side to side, you’re working on stability, as well as increasing the demand from your core section and hips.
Tip #2: Adjust The Slack
When you’re beginning to get familiar with battle ropes, we suggest starting at the end point, the furthest part from the anchor. The reason? The amount of slack in the battle rope will determine how intense the workout will be. Father away decreases the intensity of your exercise, while moving closer to the anchor increases it. By adjusting the slack of the battling ropes you are in control of the workout challenge.
Tip #3: Use Battle Ropes As A Full Workout
Mix it up! Sometimes workouts can get boring, we totally get it, which is why we suggest not just using battle ropes as an accessory workout to the rest of your workout. Set apart a dedicated day during the week to just do battle ropes movements and try to work every aspect of your body. Not only will it challenge you mentally, but it’ll demand more from you mentally while building strength and shredding fat.
Battle Ropes: 5 Movements To Shred Fat
There’s nothing quite like a fat burning battle ropes HIIT workout that’ll knock you on your booty and leave you feeling as accomplished as ever from your efforts. The following movements are designed to help you increase your overall work capacity, strength, power, and aerobic conditioning in both the upper and lower areas of your body. Plus, battle ropes workouts are way more entertaining than other methods of cardio, like a long treadmill session, but that’s just our opinion.
Pro Tip: The idea with battle ropes movements to shred fat is to peak your heart rate, actively focusing on moving the ropes in a variety of both linear and circular motions.
Battle Ropes Movement #1: Alternating Waves To Burpee
In case you didn't like burpees enough, adding them into your battle rope workout might just make you fall in love! Okay, don't be scared, you'll be fine.
TO DO THIS MOVEMENT: Wave the ropes in a squat position 3 times each side, then while holding the ropes, drop down into a burpee, and pop back up into a squat position, resuming your waves. Repeat 5 times then take a 45-second break. Do this for 5 total rounds.
Battle Ropes Movement #2: Figure 8 Slams
Exactly how they sound - incorporate a figure 8 into your rope movement.
TO DO THIS MOVEMENT: Stand with feet about shoulder width apart in an athletic stance, knees slightly bent and core engaged. Swing the ropes from one side to the other, in a figure-8 fashion, slamming the ground as you go. Aim for a consistent, fluid movement. Try to do this movement for 15 straight seconds, rest for 30, then get back at it. Repeat movement 6 times through in total.
Battle Ropes Movement #3: Side Shuffle Alternating Waves
Practice the low, squat stance side shuffle before you grab the ropes. Aim for speed, then add in the ropes. This movement challenges you mentally as well as physically, counting on your coordination to come into play. Not great at it? That's okay, you will become great over time!
TO DO THIS MOVEMENT: While alternating arms in quick, tight waves, shuffle from side to side in a low squat, like you're playing defense in basketball. Set yourself a 10-foot side to side space and don't forget to breathe! Keep your core tight, back engaged in good posture, and focus forward.
Battle Ropes Movement #4: Seated Rainbows
Similar to Russian twists with a medicine ball, this movement incorporates a ton of core control and strength.
TO DO THIS MOVEMENT: In a seated position, legs bent in front of you, grab the rope with the handles facing up and the rope facing down. Move the ropes swiftly over your knees, aiming to tap the ground on the sides of your hips, in a rainbow movement with the rope.
Battle Ropes Movement #5: Snakes
TO DO THIS MOVEMENT: Feet should be shoulder width apart and there should be slack in the rope. In a horizontal movement, wave the ropes, one in each hand, back and forth. Concentrate on contracting and expanding the chest and core area of your body, while staying rooted in your heels and strong in your hips
Are Battle Ropes Bad For Your Shoulders?
We’ll just clear this from the beginning - anything you do with bad form is going to be bad for your body. Rather than trying to power your ego through battle rope workouts, work on form and pay attention to your body’s movement. Aim for consistent movement through the ropes, generated with your body, and if something hurts, stop. Better yet, ask someone in the gym, like a coach or a trainer, to give you a quick rundown on the movements and ask them to watch your form, before suffering through a painful workout, potentially causing an injury.
Correct Form For Battle Ropes
Similar to swinging a kettlebell, the power of the movement is derived from your overall body and core strength. Use your hips, move your chest in the direction you want to go, and don’t rely on small joints (like your shoulder sockets) to do the work. let them just be along for the ride. Think of your body as one solid machine, working together to produce a result, generating force and power.
Battle Ropes: The Takeaway
Battle ropes are no joke. One of the neatest things about battle ropes exercises is that as much as they challenge your body, they challenge your brain! In fact, battle ropes are a crucial movement for strengthening your brain health, because you’re creating a whole-brain connection. Both hemispheres of your brain (left and right) are working with your lower limbic and upper cognitive systems, demanding your brain to engage every aspect, from a central nervous standpoint.
Long story short, stop letting those battle ropes sit in the corner on the floor at your gym any longer. Go over, pick them up, and give the 5 exercises that we talked about today, a go! Generate force, develop energy pathways and turn your workouts into an enjoyable building session that you can walk away from knowing you just became a fat-burning machine.
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