The battling ropes might look easy, but when executed correctly your whole body will be screaming in fabulous-workout-pain! I find that they challenge me in ways that are totally unlike other equipment, and can yield transformative results from a ‘toning’ perspective. They’re ‘tough fun’, can help develop power, explosiveness, muscular and cardiovascular endurance, build functional strength and toast fat! By design, they’re slightly too cumbersome and heavy to take around with you anywhere in the Prada – so on this occasion I opted for the Omnia installation at my local Virgin (no, these are not paid links, just good practise!). Find out why and how, here…
PLANE SAILING: The human body was not designed to move on a single linear plane alone. Battling ropes enable you to move on many different planes, thereby working a host of stabilisation muscles, encouraging stability, balance and ultimate ‘functional strength’ – which is somewhat of a holy grail to me. The ropes are effective at working each arm independently, as opposed to a bar which works in a linear, synchronised movement, whereby the dominant arm likely bears most of the load. Ropes are supreme at eliminating strength imbalances. You’ll also get a killer ‘crush grip’ from grasping the rope as you flail your limbs about!
LOW IMPACT, HIGH INTENSITY: If you’re looking for low impact cardio and muscular workout [but don’t fancy aqua aerobics] then these ropes could be you’re NBF! When executed properly they’re low impact on your joints and can take you well into the aerobic as well as the dreaded anaerobic zone. Also they help train a broad span of the neuromuscular system, as the power starts at the core and is then communicated through your legs and arms. They are super versatile you can use them as a full body worker, or a workout finisher or just pick your favourite exercises to compliment your training.
First off, find a rope that’s suitable for you; this will depend on rope length, thicknesses and ultimately weight. I think that the best way to estimate it is as follows: if your form/technique feels like its loose, switch to an easier rope. I’d never pick a heavier weight at the expense of form, because that way injury lies! The resistance is determined by how much slack there is in the rope. If you move further away from the attachment point you’ll find that it decreases the exercise intensity. If you step toward the atachment point it will increase the intensity.
On days when you don’t have a huge amount if time but want to get a great workout in (and not leave the gym feeling as though you could’ve done more) I think battle ropes deliver in spades. A quick 15 minute workout (interspersed with some press ups and burpees) can leave you utterly drenched! Adjust the rope and the amount of slack so you’re being challenged and introduce some HIIT TRAINING – it’s time efficient, challenging and gets your metabolism firing during as well, as an afterburner! (more on this here) Alternate between 1 minute closer to the anchor point (this will be your recovery time) and one minute farther away where you’ll be working at maximum heart rate for one minute! Here are my two favourites:
Battling-Rope Waves (as below picture)
a. Grip the ends of the rope at arm’s length in front of your hips with your hands shoulder-width apart.
b. Engage your core and start by alternately explosive slamming each arm.
Battling-Rope Simultaneous Slams (as below picture)
a. Stand up tall and grip both ropes at the end,
b. Pull the ropes up high into the air and as you slam them down get into a half squat position.
c. After you slam, stand up and return to the starting position.
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