BATTLE ROPES HAVE several things going for them. They train cardiovascular capacityOpens in a new Window., muscles big and small, and balance.
Plus, they’re almost injury-proof and hard to do incorrectly—if you’re moving, it’s working. “One guideline: The ropes should make nice waves or circles when you’re swinging,” says Cliff Robertson, a trainer at Performance Lab by The Wright Fit in New York CityOpens in a new Window.. (The gym with a killer roof to work out on, as you’ll see.)
Robertson put together the moves on the following pages, sorted by skill. When choosing exercises, pull from all three of the categories. You can also superset battle rope intervals into a weights workoutOpens in a new Window., switching between dumbbell presses, sled push/pulls, and kettlebell swings.
The first few times you battle the ropes, the force generated may wane in the final set. As you progress, try to maintain intensity for longer.
One more selling point? It’s so fun, you won’t realize that you’re totally out of gas until the end.
Pick 6 to 8 moves. Do each for the time prescribed in each grouping. Go through the circuit 3 times. Can also be used as a conditioning finisher—8 moves: 15 seconds on, 15 seconds off.
Group 1: Square Stance
These generate power. Start with feet wider than hips, knees soft, core strong. Work 15 seconds, rest for 45. Use longer or heavier ropes.
A. Jump Slam
Start standing, holding ropes near thighs. Then drop into a shallow squat, and jump as high as possible, swinging arms up overhead, and slamming ropes as you land. Quickly reset after each jump, focusing on maintaining the same height on each rep.
B. Squat Wave
Start with knees slightly bent, and get a continuous rope wave going, hands traveling between shoulder and hip heights. Then, keeping chest tall and maintaining full foot contact with the ground, slowly squat, and take the same amount of time to return to standing.
C. Side Arm Flutter
Reverse hand grip, holding rope ends like ice cream cones in front of chest. Maintaining a slight bend in the elbow, reach arms out to sides, then draw them in, with elbows leading the movement.
D. Jumping Jacks
Start with feet closer than hip-width apart. Explosively jump, reaching hands up and out, and landing with feet wide. Then bounce to return to start, and jump again.
Group 2: Lunge Stance
The challenge is maintaining the positions as the ropes try to throw you off. Work 30 seconds; rest 60. Pick lighter or shorter ropes.
Start in a right foot lunge. Extend arms out into a V-shape, hands at shoulder height. Powerfully draw in elbows, so right forearm crosses over left, then reverse. Do 10 reps like that, then switch to right arm over left. Reverse lunge position each set.
Start in a squared-off stance, hand grips reversed so the ends of the ropes point up. Hold hands close to each other, near right hip. Keeping elbows close to the body, forcefully rotate hips to the left, shifting weight into the left foot, pivoting on right, and swinging hands next to left hip. Quickly reverse, pivoting right. Continue alternating sides.
Start in a squared-off stance, creating waves with the rope. Drop into a shallow squat, shift weight into left leg, and reach right leg to the right, lowering until left knee is at a 90-degree angle. Reverse to a shallow squat, then repeat on the opposite side.
D. Air Circles
Start in a right foot lunge, left foot maintaining balance. Keeping a slight bend in elbows, begin circling arms. Play with making bigger and smaller circles as you go. Halfway through the set, reverse leg positions.
Group 3: Floor Moves
These are an abs and arms killer but also a neuromuscular test, as the brain works on controlling form while your arms move the ropes. Work 30 seconds; rest 30. Heavy or light ropes—your choice.
A. High Plank
Start in a high plank, holding the ends of the ropes and leaving some slack. Squeeze glutes and, keeping hips level, lift right hand and make 10 waves with the rope. Return to start, then make 10 waves with left hand. Continue switching sides.
B. Alternating Backward Lunge
Stand tall, making waves with the ropes. Then step right foot back and drop right knee, hovering it just above ground until left knee forms a 90-degree angle. Press through left heel to return to standing. On next rep, step right foot back. Continue switching sides with each rep.
C. Pushup to Slam
Start in a high plank, rope between hands. Do a pushup, then jump feet between hands, grab ropes, explosively jump and slam ropes, then drop them to the ground and go into the next pushup.
D. Side Plank
Start in a left forearm plank, feet stacked, one rope in right hand. Maintaining a high hip, make 30 waves, then switch sides.
Author: Marjorie Korn