There are dozens of reasons you should be integrating a battle rope into your workouts. For starters, battle ropes will challenge you in ways no other cardio or free weight exercise will. Additionally, battle rope workouts do wonders for your forearm strength, are serious calorie burners, and are just a fun, new way to exercise. If your box doesn’t have battle ropes, or if you work out at home, you should seriously consider picking one up.
Let me explain what a battle rope is for those who are unfamiliar. A battle rope is just that, a rope that you battle. While the dimensions of this rope can vary somewhat, the standard is about 50 feet in length, roughly 2″ thick, and weighing in at about 20-25 pounds.
To use a battle rope, you anchor the rope by wrapping it around a heavy beam, pole, or tree, then pull the ropes out so they are straight and equidistant away from the anchor. You then grab each end of the rope and get about 20 feet away from the anchor point, leaving some slack in the rope. Finally, while holding one end of the rope in each hand, you whip each end of the rope up and down in a waving motion creating ripples that travel all the way to the anchor. Maintain this as long as you can then rest, rinse, and repeat.
Even if you’ve never done this before, there is a good chance you’ve seen someone rope battling on TV or in the gym. While it does look a bit silly, I can assure you this is an amazing workout. I like to think of it as sprinting for your upper body; and like sprinting, when you first begin rope battling you will get fatigued in a surprisingly short period of time; it’s that tough.
One of the best selling points for using a battle rope is the amount of calories you can burn in such a short amount of time. You can burn upwards of a thousand calories an hour rope battling. While it is unlikely that you can whip a 25 pound rope around for anywhere near an hour, if you can do it for even 20 minutes (with rests) then you’ve just burned off 45 minutes worth of jogging calories; and probably had more fun doing it.
Rope battling will also improve your forearm strength and grip. No matter what your normal workout consists of you will see almost immediate gains due to your rope battling sessions. So if you are finding that your forearms are failing you in your deadlifts, your long Crossfit sets, pull-ups, or even activities like rock climbing, you will feel a difference after rope battling.
It’s not just your forearms that will get stronger. Rope battling works your arms, shoulders, back, glutes, quads, and core just to name a few; and it’s all low impact! It takes focus and stamina to whip ropes around even for a couple minutes at a time. It will be a while before you can maintain a set for more than a minute or two. Even if you get to that point, don’t worry; they make heavier ropes and some folks have even upgraded to battle chains!
Maybe you’re thinking that rope battling sounds great, but also kind of boring to whip ropes around for any length of time. Well it might interest you to know that there are dozens of different exercises you can do with battle ropes. Yes, there are plenty of ways you can whip a rope around besides the basic alternating up and down so you will never get bored. A quick search on YouTube will yield many results of videos that show you all the various exercises.
Battle ropes are a killer workout and one that you should definitely consider adding. It’s the cheapest, most effective piece of cardio equipment you’ll ever buy after a jump rope. It’s light weight, portable, and possibly the most fun you’ll have burning calories. Give it a shot – unless you have a problem being trim and sexy.