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Battle Rope Training Techniques, Plus 7 Exercise Variations

Reading Time: 5 minutes

By: ISSA

Date: 2022-06-15


Battle rope training can develop strength, power, and endurance. It also provides you with a full-body workout, makes exercise fun, and is versatile. Battle ropes come in different lengths and weights, which allows clients to constantly switch up their workout routine. You can even take them anywhere, helping you receive a fast and effective workout when traveling or on a time crunch. Let’s start by exploring the benefits of battle ropes.

Benefits of Battle Rope Exercises

Battle rope training burns lots of calories, can supplement a home workout, and build strength. You might wonder, how can a battle rope workout be so effective? Battle ropes improve cardiovascular endurance through an elevated heart rate during battle rope exercise. This leads to a high-calorie burn in a short period of time. 

Battle ropes also increase athletic performance. Due to the combined benefits of strength training and cardio, battle ropes can enhance power output, aerobic endurance, and core strength. One study on the effects of battle rope training on collegiate basketball players showed improvements in aerobic capacity, core strength, agility, shooting performance, and more. 

Although battle ropes sound intimidating or like they should be part of high-level training, they are also low impact. This makes them great for those who have injuries or need low-impact workouts. 

Learn more: High Intensity and Low Impact Training can be very beneficial for some clients. 

Many battle rope exercises can be done with your feet on the floor and still increase your heart rate, giving you an effective workout. If you have clients who are unable to stand on their feet, you can perform battle rope exercises in the seated position. Both standing and sitting provide similar aerobic and anaerobic benefits.

How Do You Master Battle Ropes?

When using battle ropes, you’ll most often grip both ends of the rope. Making sure you have a strong grip on the handles is important. Your palms should face each other to allow the wrist to move correctly throughout each exercise. Once you have a tight grip on the ropes get into position with your knees and hips bent. 

Once you’re in a secure position, begin flicking your wrists quickly to move the ropes up and down. Avoid any type of pulling or tugging on the ropes. Keep tension on the ropes but also avoid stepping too far forward. If you are using a rope that’s too heavy or thick, find a rope that is lighter and thinner to start.

Always maintain postural alignment during battle rope exercises. To do so, keep your core engaged, shoulders back, chest up, and knees and hips bent appropriately for each exercise. 

What Exercises Can You Do With Battle Ropes?

Battle rope training techniques and exercises can be tailored to target cardio, grip strength, conditioning, and even strength. You can target specific areas of the body through different battle rope exercises. Start with fundamental exercises like battle rope waves, then progress to complex exercises such as jumping lunge slams.

Try to start with a lighter and shorter rope. As you gain strength and endurance, increase the thickness and length. There are endless exercises that can be modified to best fit your training clients. Here are seven battle rope exercises you can use for your clients.

#1. Battle Rope Waves 

Grab onto each end of the rope with both hands. Bend at your knees and hips so that you’re in a quarter squat position. Keep your chest up and shoulders back to maintain posture. Now begin moving both wrists and use your arms to make waves. 

Increase the intensity by adding more time to your set or make bigger waves. You can modify the exercise by performing small or slow waves. You can even perform them on your knees or in the seated position.

#2. Single Arm Waves

Hold onto both ends of the rope and start in a quarter squat position. Keep the ropes on the outside of your legs or body. Begin making waves with one arm at a time. Perform for a set period of time and then switch arms. Be sure to hold the opposite end of the rope tight while performing the single arm waves. 

Increase or decrease the intensity by making lower or high waves. You can also adjust the speed. Perform for equal time on each arm.

#3. Double Rope Slams

Secure each end of the rope in your hands. Keep the rope and your hands close together. Maintain your squat starting position and begin moving both ends of the rope up and down simultaneously. 

Increase the difficulty by adding jump slams or jump squats to the movement. When you bring both ends of the rope high up, also jump up off the ground. As you land, slam and squat at the same time. 

#4. Reverse Lunge Waves

For this exercise, perform battle rope waves first. When you achieve a consistent motion with battle rope waves, incorporate a step back lunge. Step back with one leg and drop that same knee down to the ground. Stand up and repeat on the opposite leg, all while making battle rope waves. Execute for time. 

#5. Up and Over Slams

Place an object such as a foam roller, approximately halfway down the battle ropes. Similar to performing double rope slams, grab both ends of the rope. Lift the ropes as high as you can, up and over the foam roller to slam it down on the left side of the foam roller. Then up and over to slam it down on the right side of the foam roller. Repeat back and forth over the foam roller, slamming the ropes into the ground. 

#6. Battle Rope Russian Twist

In a seated position, grab both ends of the battle rope. Start with both ends on one side of the body and your feet elevated off the ground. Position your body far enough away from the rope’s attachment point that the ropes are appropriately tight. Bring the ropes over your legs to the opposite side of the body and into the ground. Immediately rotate back to the other side and continue for time. Keep your core engaged and limit excessive leg or foot movement. 

#7. Battle Rope Jumping Jacks

In the standing position, hold each end of the rope to the sides of the body. Keep each end at separate sides. Begin performing a jumping jack while holding the battle ropes. Jump your feet up and out. As your feet jump out, raise your arms and the ropes above your head. Bring them together at the top and then return to the starting position. 

Putting It All Together: Tips for Mastering Battle Ropes

There are endless battle rope exercise options. They can be implemented into an existing workout program or used to create an entirely new battle rope workout routine. They are effective exercise options for workout finishers and HIIT workouts. They can also be used during a warm-up to promote blood flow. 

Check out these additional reasons to add battle ropes to your workouts.

When using battle ropes, it’s important to remember a few things:

  • Focus on form over the weight or speed of the ropes.

  • Incorporate a variety of exercises and increase rope length and weight appropriately.

  • Battle rope training can fit anywhere into a workout routine.

  • Take advantage of the conditioning benefits and use battle ropes to burn out post-workout.

If you love working on conditioning, agility, and strength, get certified as an ISSA Strength and Conditioning Coach! By becoming certified in strength and fitness, you'll be able to pursue your passion for fitness and help coach athletes to reach their peak performance.


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References

Chen, W. H., Wu, H. J., Lo, S. L., Chen, H., Yang, W. W., Huang, C. F., & Liu, C. (2018). Eight-Week Battle Rope Training Improves Multiple Physical Fitness Dimensions and Shooting Accuracy in Collegiate Basketball Players. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 32(10), 2715–2724. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000002601

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