Battle Rope Workouts

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Battle rope workouts are an all new way to give your upper body an excellent workout and your muscles a great push too.

Battle ropes are an extremely versatile and rugged piece of equipment and can be used in a gym or a park or even at home. Battle rope workouts are a multidimensional training tool that can be beneficial to increase rotational and multi planar strength, stability and power. It is also used as an ideal conditioning tool when performing exercises at a high intensity.

The Specifics

According to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, swinging battle ropes can burn up to 112 calories in just 10 minutes. When done properly, battle ropes are a low impact aerobic activity, reducing the strain on joints. Ropes easily cater to different fitness levels. “Go longer and harder for a more intense workout. Battle ropes are one of the fitness tools which can be carried anywhere,” says Dr. Indumathi, Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation at Narayana Multispecialty Hospital, HSR Layout, Bangalore. This workout uses all the muscle groups in the upper body. Battle rope workout is a good way to condition your body. The exercise should be done for a minimum for 15 seconds at a stretch. Then a take a break for a 30 -60 seconds and repeat it for around five to fifteen times. It can be a very good cardio vascular movement and also helps in toning your muscles. You can use the battle rope for warm up, interval training and as a post workout finisher. It can be also used for a core workout as your ab muscles are engaged, especially since it can be used in different angles, enabling a good workout. “Battle rope workouts are combination of movements using heavy ropes. It is a great tool to provide an upper body dominant power and endurance based training stimulus. This helps in increasing metabolic demands,” says Anupam Popli (Strength and Conditioning(S&C) – Country Head) Cult.fit.  Heavy ropes exercises are often done after a comprehensive resistance-training workout. Some variations include power slams where you stand with feet hip-width apart and grasp the ends of the rope in each hand.

Battle Rope Workout courtesy Cult
Battle Rope Workout courtesy Cult

Advantage Ropes

Ropes create a dual-force dynamic effect, the force of gravity and the force created by rope waves. “It amplifies and improves all of the human systems physiological response. It strengthens the weak muscles of shoulders, core, hips, knees, feet, ankles, and grip,” adds Dr. Indumathi. Kunal Kapoor, Co-Founder, FitNut says, “a battle rope workout can be moulded to fit your fitness needs and goals. Context is everything. It depends on what the purpose of your exercise is. One universal Do is that always make sure your form is right and you’re never compromising on it. Most people think it’s just an upper body and arm workout. There’s a lot more to it as it utilizes multiple muscle groups. If you are using it for high intensity purposes then not more than 15-30 seconds. Different energy systems require different time periods. My suggestion would be to start at shorter time intervals and work your way up to spending more time on variations.”

Do it Right

Your body needs to be mobilized before starting the workout as it is an unstable accessory that engages multiples joints: shoulder joint, hip joint and ankle joint. It involves a lot of core activations, so, before starting, you should stabilize your core. “Do not attempt the movement without proper warming up. People with heart conditions shouldn’t attempt this workout as it is an intensive movement. Do not attempt the exercise without proper supervision. We can use it as a warm up, inter workout and even post workout. Since it’s a high intensity movement, you should use the rope in a time bound frame. For example, 30sec movement 30 sec rest,” says Prosenjit Biswas, Fitness Manager, Skulpt Kolkata. Training ropes come in various lengths and thicknesses; one should know what they are dealing with before starting an exercise. There are various home options available to buy as well. The amount of slack in the rope determines the load, and therefore the resistance. Make sure your form is correct when working with heavy ropes. It is important if you want to avoid injuries. Battle ropes bring in a lot of fun to your workouts and provide a whole host of benefits at the same time so try and incorporate them into your program because there is no point doing things you do not enjoy, especially in a gym.

Variants

  • Alternating waves
  • Alternating waves with burpees
  • Double slam with jacks
  • Coil circles
  • Wide circles
  • Chest fly
  • Power slam
  • Single-arm slam
  • Russian twists
  • Boat pose
  • Crunch
  • Side plank
  • Kneeling rotating slam
  • Lunge alternating wave
  • Reverse alternating wave

Tips

  • Do not lean backward – instead sit.
  • Do not pull rope tight; enough slack is needed to create smooth waves.
  • Keep an athletic stance with the core engaged and a straight back.
  • When standing, keep feet shoulder width apart.
  • When standing, lean slightly forward and bend knees- weight off heels.

This story first appeared in Healthcare India’s Jan 2020 issue here:

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