Common in many gyms now is battle ropes. You know, those ropes you keep tripping over, the ones that someone smacks up and down every few minutes.
Admittedly, they’re obnoxious. Nothing seems to say look at me more unless you’re lifting up your shirt to see your abs every five minutes. [BTW: Please don’t do that.]
Instead, grab some battle ropes and plan to burn some calories.
Battle ropes are pretty easy to get the hang of, but there are some things you want to avoid. There aren’t too many variables with the ropes unless you add in other moves, which we will cover.
It’s easier to talk about what is off the beaten path, what you may want to avoid. The big one is, don’t lean back at any point.
The easiest way to avoid this is to bend your knees and get into an athletic ready stance. This is not a sitting stance. You will tilt forward some.
I can’t stress enough, don’t lean back, even as the intensity increases. You can hunker down further but resist the lowrider lean back.
Hammer Versus Forehand
Both are legitimate grips. Grab the end of the ropes. The more important aspect of your grip is that your shoulders stay positioned correctly.
There should be a constant tension from your fingertips to the bottom of your shoulder. This doesn’t mean you are to stiff arm your grip.
Your arms can move, like the rope, but like the rope, there should be constant tension.
The easiest way to preserve that tension is to imagine driving your shoulder blades down into your back pockets. They can roll up a little, so long as they down stay rolled up or forward. As you whip the ropes, your shoulder blades should retract to pull them down.
One Rope, Two Ropes
The ropes can move interdependently or simultaneously. You can use one at a time to develop your stabilizers, or two to condition your whole body.
Despite what you may think, battle ropes are a total body move, whether you move one or both. It will take every joint, every muscle to do this right.
Yes, you can do them from a wheelchair, but you will need to lock your brakes, using every muscle you can to stay still.
Circles or Waves
Ropes also move in wave patterns or circles. Most stick with the wave as it is the most intuitive.
Circling will use all the same muscles, remember all of them, but just in different patterns of what’s called recruitment. [Think: different order.]
Neither is better than the other. Consider alternating your technique to keep it fresh.
Keep your movement limited to just above your shoulders at the top, and no lower than your knees at the bottom.
There will be an arch as if you are punching your head then pounding your thighs.
Your elbows should always return as close to your body as possible. No chicken dancing.
Because they are a whole body exercise, crossing into cardio modalities as well as resistance training, you could do your whole workout on battle ropes.
Depending on how many sets of ropes are in your gym, you may receive the evil stare if you camp on the ropes. Don’t tie them up for twenty minutes.
Instead, work battle ropes into your routine. Stack other exercises with your rope work. You aren’t limited to the above options.
There is nothing stopping you from picking up the ropes, swinging them, then setting them down to perform a push-up. People mix burpees into their rope work as well leg work, like squats.
Once you get the basic movement down, get creative.
Quit tripping over the battle ropes or avoiding them altogether. Nobody has the corner on any gym equipment.
We are way beyond the days when men lifted weights and women took aerobics. Grab those ropes to show the men just how it’s done.
You’re gonna burn some serious calories.