If you’ve seen people using long heavy ropes at the gym and have wondered what are battle ropes good for, you’re in for a treat. Battle ropes benefits are vast and practically everyone can use them to improve their fitness.
Battle ropes are another tool in the arsenal of popular functional fitness training.
“High-intensity functional training (HIFT) is an exercise modality that emphasizes functional, multi-joint movements that can be modified to any fitness level and elicit greater muscle recruitment than more traditional exercise. As a relatively new training modality,” (Sports Journal)
This type of training in general helps to improve your metabolism, cardiorespiratory abilty, carbohydrate metabolism, muscle enzyme activity, endurance, strength, and flexibility.
Battle ropes benefits include all of these plus their own unique powerful contributions to your health and physique.
25 Battle Ropes Benefits
1. Works all major muscle groups
One of the best battle ropes benefits is that they work so many muscle groups at once. You can manipulate the ropes to work every major muscle group in your body.
Muscles that are particularly activated by the most popular movements used with battle ropes include all of the muscles in your core, including your abdominals, shoulders, back, and glutes.
Your anterior delts will be screaming after a few rounds of double-arm slams, waves, or alternating single-arm slams or waves.
2. Improves core strength
As mentioned above your core muscles will be working overtime. Battle ropes benefits your core by activating your rectus abdominus, obliques, erector spinae, and glutes.
Motions that activate your core most include anti-rotation ( when your core is forced to resist the motion of side-to-side force order to perform a controlled movement) and anti-lateral flexion (any unbalanced loads or lateral loads will force the opposite side of your core to engage in order to keep yourself upright and resist the lateral force) which are both utilized when performing battle ropes exercises.
Read more about core exercises that actually work plus a core workout.
3. High-calorie burn
Another one of the most coveted battle ropes benefits is the ability to burn a massive amount of calories in a short period of time. You’ll need to use a lot of stamina and strength, as well as effort to perform most battle rope exercises.
Much of your time spent using battle ropes will be performed using your anaerobic energy system. This takes a massive amount of energy and can only be done for short bursts of speed and power.
High-intensity work like this forces your body to utilize energy stores it doesn’t typically tap into, which leads us to…
4. Increases metabolism
An increase in metabolism, even after you’re finished working out. Another way battle ropes benefits your entire body is that the workouts are often performed at high intensities.
When you finish working out, your body has to work overtime to return to its normal resting state (homeostasis).
This is called the EPOC effect (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) and it results in a higher calorie burn for hours after your workout.
Check out the kettle bell hiit workout for more!
5. Build functional strength
Using battle ropes in your exercise regimen helps to build the functional strength that you need to perform everyday life activities and to keep you strong, healthy, and fit as you age.
Battle ropes benefits functional strength due to the ability for it to strengthen your muscles, increase strength endurance, increase cardiovascular output and endurance, increase stability and mobility, and help you build stronger bones and joints.
All of these factors increase your ability to function in daily life.
6. Improves balance
The nature of battle rope training requires you to brace your core as you move your arms, together or independently, in order to maintain stability. Your core works overtime to keep you grounded in place as you move your arms at the shoulder joint.
This functional activity helps improve your balance. Greater balance means better posture, less risk of falls, and enhanced performance.
7. Improves mobility
Moving fluidly and strongly through your full range of motion while using battle rope benefits your mobility.
Building strength through the full range of motion in a functional, natural movement pattern will increase your ability to be stable and strong while you move.
Battle ropes are fantastic for mobility precisely because they require you to move functionally while building strength.
Also see: How to Do Mobility Work at Home
8. Prevents injury
Because training with battle ropes benefits your strength, balance, mobility, stability, and coordination, you’ll be much less likely to suffer from injuries, especially due to falls.
You’ll be less likely to be injured during other sports, training, and daily activities and better able to handle the risks that come with aging.
Also see: 5 Stretches for Middle Back Pain
9. Low risk of getting injured
Battle ropes are also a low-risk activity. You are not lifting or moving around heavy weights and the form required to use battle ropes is fairly easy to learn with a low chance of hurting yourself.
10. Easy to progress from beginner to advanced
Progression using battle ropes is fairly easy. If you can’t use heavier or longer ropes, simply increase your intensity or duration of training.
Use more powerful, full movements. Instead of slow lunges, try jumping lunges holding the ropes. You can create bigger waves, circles or slams, or take fewer and shorter rests.
11. Useful for cardiovascular training
Research performed at Windsor University shows that using battle ropes benefits VO2 Max and average peak VO2. This means that battle rope cardio training increases your ability to perform high-intensity exercise.
Also See: 30 Day HIIT Challenge (+ 8 Reasons to do HIIT)
Results were seen in four weeks. The effort needed to use battle ropes is guaranteed to get your heart rate up.
Using the ropes, you can plan any type of cardio workouts such as HIIT training, Tabata, or steady-state cardio where you keep intensity lower but do not take rests.
The results of a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggest that an acute 10-minute bout of rope training is a vigorous workout, resulting in very high heart rates (86% of age-predicted max heart rate) and energy expenditure.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine standards for cardiorespiratory fitness, the cardiovascular and metabolic demands of rope training would be classified as vigorous-intensity exercise.
Read more: Why You Don’t Need 10,000 Steps a Day
12. Improves coordination
Everyone knows that practicing something is the best way to get improve at it. Coordination is the same. With battling ropes, you need to utilize coordination to move the ropes in synchronicity or in opposite motion from each side.
You need to get the timing, pace, and intensity right in order to move the ropes properly.
Many athletes such as swimmers and rowers use the battle ropes benefits to their advantage in their sport, adding an extra tool to help them get an edge on the competition when it comes to coordinating their movements.
Working your upper and lower body together as one coordinated machine, against resistance is a powerful tool to improve in your sport.
13. Improves muscular endurance
In order to get in a good workout, you’ll have to use your battle ropes for at least 10 minutes or more.
The constant use of your arms, shoulder, core, glutes, and back means that you will inevitably build muscular endurance.
A study performed with battle ropes measured strength endurance in volleyball athletes using battle ropes compared to a control group.
The group who used battle ropes showed improvements in strength endurance, arm strength, and performance compared to the control group.
14. Busts boredom —they’re fun!
Never underestimate the power of a fun workout! Finding workout motivation can be difficult at the best of times but when you get stuck in a rut, it’s even harder to find that inner drive to lace up and get a sweat on.
Challenge yourself to a new workout with battle ropes. One of the best benefits of battle ropes is that they are super easy to use as part of a circuit with other equipment such as sandbags, kettlebells, bodyweight, jump ropes, dumbbells, or really anything!
15. Portable and easy to use
One of the most fantastic battle ropes benefits is that they are pick-up-and-go. You can bring them in a bag to a field or any open space and loop them around a post, fence, or tree.
Create intervals with a park bench, outdoor sprints, or any other bodyweight exercise. Once you get the hang of the form, you can easily start using them without a lot of instruction or training.
16. Improves grip strength
The creator of battle ropes, John Brookfield, is also an expert on grip strength. In fact, he literally wrote the book on it. So, it’s no surprise that battle ropes benefits grip strength and there are studies to prove it.
When measuring EMG (electromyographic) response in the grip muscles (palmaris longus), contraction of over 75% occurs during all battle rope exercises.
Improving your grip strength will help you improve other lifts such as deadlifts, farmers carry, pull-ups, and sports such as rock and wall climbing. It is also important to note that grip strength is positively correlated to living a longer and healthier life.
17. Can be done outdoors or at home
Battle ropes can easily be transported outside to a park, used in your backyard, or even in your home if you have the space. I use mine mostly outdoors because my home gym is not very big.
I can even set mine up on my deck, using the bard of the deck fence as anchor points. You can use trees, park benches, sign poles, or any stable vertical object to anchor your battle ropes.
Read more: How to Choose a New Workout Routine
18. Affordable or DIY
Battle ropes are not super expensive for how versatile they are. As with any piece of exercise equipment, there are more expensive options but affordable and durable options exist.
You can buy them for $45 at a big box discount store or spend a lot more at a specialty shop ($200+). You can buy mountable anchors for $20 or less or make your own. You can even DIY a battle rope!
Make your own battle ropes using:
- Garden hoses filled with sand or water, capped at the ends
- Fire hose that’s been decommissioned (check with your local fire department)
- Old out of use climbing ropes (call your local wall-climbing gym) that are braided together and secured with duct tape
19. Correct muscular imbalances
If you have a more dominant arm or side of your body, using battle ropes benefits your ability to find and correct these slight differences.
You may notice that one arm tires faster than the other or creates smaller waves and loops. Keep pushing through, using both sides of your body in harmony to help fix these imbalances.
You can even work one side at a time in equal sets and reps to ensure equal time under tension and work load for both sides of your body.
20. Bring up lagging body parts
If you normally perform traditional lifts with weights, functional training like battle ropes benefits your ability to reach the underused supporting musculature that can go untrained for many of us.
Small muscles and deep muscles may be underused due to larger muscles compensating and taking over during lifts.
With battle ropes, the functional, natural movements of your body will not let these small muscles go unused. You’ll need to recruit all of your smaller muscles in your core, shoulders, and hips to perform the exercises.
21. Can be done with a partner
The most fun anchor you can use for your battle ropes is a friend!
If you have two ropes, you can hold one end in your hands and they can hold the opposite end. Perform the same exercises together for an extra challenge to your balance and coordination.
Check out these battle rope partner workout ideas from ACE.
22. Low impact workout
Battle ropes do not require you to jump or perform any movements that are high impact or hard on your joints.
If you make sure to warm up properly, your joints will become stronger and more mobile from using battle ropes.
You can get a fantastic, functional workout without the risk of pain or injury.
This makes battle ropes a fantastic option for older individuals or those with limiting factors like their weight, arthritis, or joint pain.
23. Great for warm-ups
If you start out slow and steady, battle ropes benefits your warm up by offering a very functional, full body start to your workout.
Performing 10 minutes of waves, arm circles, squats, and slams will have your heart racing and will bring blood and nutrients to your muscles so you’re ready to crush your workout.
24. Fantastic for finishers
Use your battle ropes for metabolic finishers after your workout. Spend all the gas you have left in the tank, helping to fully deplete glycogen stores in your muscles, boosting muscle growth and fat loss.
Try adding an intense session with battle ropes for 10 minutes after your workout, particularly on days where you’ve worked shoulders and core, to really give them a final blast.
Read more: Summer Shoulders Supersets Workout
25. Can be used by wheelchair users or those with lower body impairments
As long as you have sufficient strength and mobility in your upper body, you can use battle ropes to get a full cardio and strength workout from a sitting position. This can also be great for seniors, using a lighter and shorter rope. Check it out!
Battle Ropes Form and Muscles Worked
- Feet shoulder width apart
- Knees slightly bent
- Back straight
- Slight forward lean of the torso
- Elbows extended
- Handles held with a handshake grip
Battle ropes can and will work every muscle in your body. In particular though, with the most common movements, you’ll especially work the muscles of your lower and upper back, shoulders, arms, 6-pack muscles, obliques, deep internal core muscles, hips, and glutes.
Here is an awesome live-action video demonstration!
Our polypropylene ropes are originally designed to withstand the rigors of the shipyard. Whereas manilla ropes can rot retain water and usually leave a trail of fibers our battle ropes provide excellent weight while remaining virtually water weather
*Find printables for FREE workouts plus tons more in my Free Resource Library*
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