You walk into the gym one day and you notice a pair of ropes that look like they could be used to tie up a cruise ship docked at port. But you know your surroundings and know that you are in fact in a gym not at the marina!

So what are these nautical looking bundles of twine?

I can confidently say, if you indeed find yourself at the gym and encounter this scene, they are Battling Ropes. If you are not familiar with battling rope exercises, then let me introduce you to a new world of possibilities.

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Battling rope exercises are good for three things:
1. Developing power
2. Developing core stability
3. Increasing heart rate (which is good for fat loss)

So whether you are an athlete looking to get a little more explosive, or someone looking to lose a few pounds, battling ropes are a great option you should incorporate into your programs.

Why choose Battling Ropes?

When it comes to power development Battling Ropes offer something a little different than say, a medicine ball. The main difference being that each time you slam or move the ropes, you have to brace your body to absorb the kinetic energy caused by the ropes, whereas with a medicine ball once you let go of the ball the ground is taking all that energy.

This makes for a great stability and core workout but also teaches you how to use the whole body to absorb energy properly.

Ropes are also a great option for people looking to lose weight, but are dealing with a knee or hip injury or just have to stay away from higher impact activities like running. Since the ropes use mainly upper body movement with little to no impact on the lower body, they are great for getting the heart rate elevated and saving your knees and hips.

Coaching Points

When working with battling ropes, it is important to remember to brace your abdominals. Think about driving your ribs down and exhaling all of the air from your lungs with each breath out. By keeping your abs braced, you are less likely to excessively bend or extend your lower back.

Remember to absorb the force with your entire body not just your arms and shoulders. When you slam the ropes don’t just think about moving your arms, instead think about your hips and knees bending slightly to properly transfer the force across your hips and legs, not all through your arms and back.

It is ideal to program battling rope exercises on a day that is not overly shoulder dominated. I like to put them at the end of a leg-heavy day. If you are having shoulder pain or tennis elbow, I would recommend avoiding these exercises while you let your joints heal.

Sets and Reps

3-5 x 15-30 seconds

Favorite Battling Rope Exercises:

  • Rope Slams

The Rope Slam is great for overall power development and getting your heart rate up.

  • Kneeling Rope Drum Rolls

I use this variation a lot for runners and people who need work on their stability in a Lunge position. The kneeling position is the same as a running stance, but a little more stable.

  • Plank Drum Roll

A challenging progression from the Front Plank.

  • Plyo Lunge with Slam

Great for single leg balance, lower and upper body power, and elevating the heart rate.

  • Rope Drum Roll with Side Shuffle

This variation is great for getting the heart rate up and getting you to move in the frontal plane. It’s also great for athletes that have to move side to side in their sports, like tennis, basketball, and football.

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