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7 Reasons Why You Should Use Battling Ropes in Your Workouts

Written by: Nick Jack
Category: 2014
on 07 October 2021
Hits: 625

One of the best additions to the strength training world in recent years is the use of battling ropes. They are a very simple and versatile piece of equipment to that are suitable for all levels of fitness and experience.  They can be used in an infinite number of ways only limited by your imagination and can provide that edge in your training that may be missing. Battle ropes are thick, heavy ropes with one end of the rope wrapped around an anchor at its midpoint so that 2 evenly lengthened ends can be held in each hand.  The ropes are usually waved, slammed, or pulled and there are a seemingly endless amount of different exercises and variations to choose from. In this article, I will explain the 7 main benefits to your health and fitness when using ropes in your workout. Also make sure you check out the workout video at the end of the article that features 10 versions you can try.

1. Battling Ropes Improve Cardiovascular Fitness

Everyone wants to improve their cardiovascular fitness and the ropes can be one of the best ways to do this. We all know how important exercise is for our heart health and the ropes is one of the safest and easiest ways to improve our overall cardiovascular function. There are as many as 20 other beneficial biochemical changes that occur during exercise, some that help you burn calories and lose body fat, while others help stabilize your blood sugar and maintain testosterone and cortisol levels. Basically, being a healthy weight and exercising regularly creates a good cycle that optimizes and helps maintain healthy glucose, insulin and leptin levels.

Also you do not need a long time to train to feel the benefit, as opposed to running or cycling that often take a long time to do. A tough ropes workout is all over in the matter of a few minutes with each set usually lasting between 10 and 20 seconds.

The best part with the ropes is it can be a great addition for the person who cannot run or do much with their legs. Running and jogging can put significant stress on your knees, hips, and lower back and for this reason it turns people away from most cardio activities. The ropes are the perfect alternative as they provide a low-impact version of cardiovascular exercise that people of any age and ability can try.

2. Battling Ropes Improve Power & Speed

If there is one skill many people find extremely difficult to improve it is the ability to move fast. I never find it hard to make people move slowly, but it find it really hard to help someone move with high speed and power. Many of the exercises we associate with power training are very risky for the average gym enthusiast, such as box jumps, plyometric training, Olympic lifting, and even sprinting itself. The battling ropes is a great way to get around this problem as there is very little danger or risk of injury.

We lose our ability to generate power much faster than we lose muscular strength. Many studies indicate we lose power 2-3 times faster than strength. The fact that power declines so fast has a lot to do with our fast twitch fibres and the “use it or lose it” theory.

Fast-twitch fibres, also known as ‘white’ or ‘type II’ fibres, contract 2- 3 times faster than their slow-twitch counterparts, producing 30-70 twitches per second, compared with 10-30 for slow-twitch. Activating fast-twitch motor units is the key to improved strength, speed and power. Unlike slow-twitch motor units, which are responsible for most of our day-to-day muscular activity, fast-twitch units are quite lazy and tend to slumber until called to action.

Interestingly, the inability to move fast becomes an even greater problem as we age if we do nothing to stop the decline.

From the age 65 to age 89, our ability to produce power with our legs declines 3.5% per year. This is much faster than our rate of decline with strength, which is 1-2% per year. That is 2-3 times faster! This is a huge contributing factor with falls with older adults. There is literally tons of research in this area that proves that muscle power is of more importance than strength for preventing falls. Leg power relates specifically to getting out of a chair, walking fast and walking up stairs.

A study by Skelton, Kennedyt and Rutherford (2002) found that women who fall have 24% less explosive power in their weaker limb than women who did not fall.

3. Battling Ropes Improve Grip Strength

One of the key factors with the battling ropes is the need for incredible grip strength. You simply cannot perform any of the exercises with a weak grip. Grip strength has been proven in many studies to be a good predictor of future injury and even overall body strength. Therefor it makes sense that we should always be looking at improving grip strength using exercises that are completely dependent on this.

Usually we associate exercises like the deadlift or the chin-up for improving grip strength as the incredible loads force the body to grip the bar hard. While the ropes do not weigh that much, the grip strength is necessary for you to be able to complete the complex movements at high speeds without letting the rope go. This is something that many people underestimate with regards to strength development and the ropes can be a great way to improve this with beginners who are unable to lift big loads with deadlifts or chin-ups.

4. Battling Ropes Improve Core Strength

I have covered the topic of core strength so many times with multiple articles on my website and also with You Tube videos that I am getting sick of repeating myself. Ask someone what makes up the core? And the answer is often, your abs. This is what most people think the core is, when in reality it is so much more than just your abdominal muscles and you get greater benefit from using functional integrated movements than sit-ups and planks. I even wrote an extensive article that showed EMG analysis with several core exercises to prove this.

What people fail to understand is that your abs are unable to move you, other than making you wiggle or flop around like a fish out of water. You need your arms and legs to move you for your abdominal muscles are not capable of doing much. Basically the abdominal muscles have very little influence over how you move, for this is not their true purpose. This is very important to understand and will explain why I believe many core exercises are incorrectly implemented.

The CORE is really a combination of both small stabilizing muscles known as the Inner Unit, combined with large prime mover muscles that operate like a series of complex chains and systems to provide stiffness on a greater scale. This known as the Outer Unit. True core strength requires the use of both. And the best way to do this is by using exercises that utilize the myofascial slings.

The ropes are a great training tool to do this as they require total body activation of your muscles but maintaining a steady base while your arms move violently with incredible speed and power. The core must be activated to maintain this steady base and allow the body to move with speed.

Watch the videos below to see more about core strength and how to use these slings.

 

5. Battling Ropes Improve Coordination & Neuromuscular Strength

Evidence from latest studies prove that strength increases in line with the development of the nervous system, which is of more importance to the body in terms of exertion and development of muscular strength. Always remember the brain controls muscles, not the other way around.

Neuromuscular activation is at its highest when the body performs complex movements such as battling ropes exercises. Beginners often struggle with exercise, not because they are weak, but because their timing is off. They lack coordination and skill to complete movements efficiently. The battling ropes exercises demand high levels of coordination, especially when you begin to combine leg movements like squats and lunges with arm movement.

By changing certain variables such as how you grip and move the rope, or even what stance you use, you can potentially recruit most of your body’s major muscle groups all at once! A great training tool to help improve functional movement skills that enable you to enhance how you move in life.

6. Battling Ropes Help Break Through Training Plateaus

We have all got that point in our training where it feels like no matter what you do, nothing changes. This is when you hit the dreaded plateau, and it means it is time to change things up. One of the best ways to do this is using battling ropes. Why? It all has to do with inefficiency.

Whenever you train, you force your body to respond to the stimulus by adapting. This could involve improving nervous system efficiency, strengthening tendons, ligaments, and muscles, increasing muscle size/cross sectional area, or a combination of all these factors. The body wants to find a way to become better at the activity you are doing so it uses less energy. It wants to become efficient, and it wants to find an easier way fast!

This is why it is important to keep changing your workouts with different exercises, sets, reps and tempos to keep your body guessing. However, sometimes even when you do this it still feels like the same old workout as your body is so used to the constant training methods you use.

This is where the value of the ropes comes in for it is one of those exercises that is really difficult to become efficient at. The inefficiency is what makes it so hard, and why you can barely do a set for more than 20 seconds. This is a great piece of equipment to smash through a training plateau and get your body back on track.

Read this article to see more about this – Improving fitness is all about inefficiency

7. They Are Great Fun!

Exercise should be fun, but for many people they see it as a bore and something they have to get done. Often these people will find strength training really boring and hard to find motivation to get out there and get the workout done. However, when it comes to the battling ropes this can breathe a new life into their training and the way they look at exercise.

Check out the video below that features 10 different versions you can try.

The ropes are so different to other types of exercise equipment and they can be great fun to use, especially the first time you try it out. Everyone has a smile and a bit of a laugh the first time they ever use the battle ropes. It feels like something you would do when you are a kid and not something you would associate with strength training.

If you feel you are getting bored with your normal routine and are sick of using the same equipment and exercises each day then try adding the ropes into your workout one or two times per week. Trust me, you will find this a great addition and it might give you that spark you were missing.

Do You Need More Ideas?

And if you want even more circuit workouts, strength programs and even cardio and sporting workouts, make sure you get a copy of the Little Black Book of Training Secrets where I share 101 amazing programs just like the ones shown in this article. Click here to see more about what is inside this special report and download your digital copy instantly.

Summary

There is no doubting that the battling ropes are an amazing training tool that provide incredible benefits to people of all ages. The fact it is so versatile and comes with minimal risk makes it the ultimate training tool for helping people to build the ability to move fast. Combined with the benefits of strength and fitness it is really the all-in-one training tool. The best part is you don't need to spend very long doing exercises with the battling ropes to achieve great results. I hope this article gives you some great ideas of how you can use this to improve your health and fitness.

For more ideas and information on specific topics I may not have covered in detail be sure to check out our INDEX PAGE on the website that has over 300 of our best articles. These are all sorted into categories for quick reference so you can find what you are after more easily. You can also subscribe to our FREE fortnightly newsletter by clicking here.

If you do need specific help with your exercise program please feel free to reach out to me for help and we can set you up with your individualised program.

About The Author

Nick Jack is owner of No Regrets Personal Training and has over 15 years’ experience as a qualified Personal Trainer, Level 2 Rehabilitation trainer, CHEK practitioner, and Level 2 Sports conditioning Coach. Based in Melbourne Australia he specialises in providing solutions to injury and health problems for people of all ages using the latest methods of assessing movement and corrective exercise.

References:

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