Chances are, you've seen those long ropes in your gym. And chances are you haven't tried using them yet. If you have, you probably went with some basic movements—a simple wave, an alternating wave, or a side-to-side, snake-like pattern.
These battle rope exercises are far from basic, and performing them will build strength, endurance and power while challenging the body in unfamiliar ways.
Note: These exercises can be performed with a variety of set and rep schemes. For example, you can perform all five in a row in a circuit-style workout (30 seconds apiece), or incorporate them individually into a full-body routine.
Jumping Jacks1 of 7
Remember gym class?
These are just like the jumping jacks you did as a child, but with an added challenge of stability. Maintain an upright posture throughout the exercise and don't let the weight of the ropes pull you forward.
Benefits: Great to add to a dynamic warm-up routine or as a part of a finisher at the end of a workout.
Grappler Slams2 of 7
Since we all move in three planes of motion, it's important to train all three in the gym.
Stand in an athletic stance with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Hold the handles with your thumbs up and the top of the rope pointing up to the ceiling.
Slam the ropes and rotate your shoulders and hips to bring the handles down to your side. As you bring the handles back up to begin the next rep, think of drawing a big arc (like a rainbow) with your hands. At the same time, rotate your shoulders and hips to face the opposite direction and bring the handles down to your other side.
Benefits: An explosive rotational exercise that trains the entire body.
Circle Slams3 of 7
The circle slam is a twist on the common rope slam. Instead of slamming the ropes straight up and down, you'll move your hands in a tight, circular motion.
Stand in an athletic stance with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Your left hand should move counterclockwise, and your right hand should move clockwise.
If you're doing it correctly, the rope should form circles that move away from you. Your shoulders should be on fire, too.
Benefits: Targets the shoulder and biceps.
Plank Pulls4 of 7
Set up in a push-up (or plank) position with one end of the rope within arms reach. The other end of the rope should be attached to a weight (sled, kettlebell, etc.).
Begin by reaching forward and pulling the rope toward your waist. Alternate arms and pull the rope until the weight reaches you.
Fight to minimize shifting and rotating your body from side to side. There will be some lateral shift, but do your best to brace the midsection and keep it minimal.
Benefits: Targets the core, lats and biceps.
Vertical Pulls5 of 7
This movement is best done with a partner.
Throw the rope over a pull-up bar or squat rack and stand underneath with one end of the rope in your hands. With your partner on the opposite side providing moderate resistance, reach up and pull the rope down towards your chest.
Every time you pull the rope down, bend your hips and knees slightly to incorporate the entire body. Alternate your hands with each pull to work both sides.
Benefits: Targets the lats and biceps.
Doug BalzariniAuthor Bio 6 of 7
Doug Balzarini is a personal trainer, fitness writer and creator of DB Strength. He's currently offering his services in Beverly, Mass., at Iron Village Strength & Conditioning.
Doug has several certifications, ranging from MMA to CrossFit. You can find out more on his website, DBstrength.com.