Battle Ropes
A Powerful Tool for Total Body Strength Endurance
by Jesse Seal

Battle Ropes

Battle ropes are a unique strength and conditioning training method designed by John Brookfield, a writer of several bestselling books and a famous world record holder.

John invested over a year creating this technique stringently for himself. He has been using this innovative training system to take his endurance to new levels, despite the fact that John is nearly 53 years old. Once the program met his standards, John released battling ropes conditioning to the world of athletic performance training.

What Are Battling Ropes?

Before we discuss why this system has received so much buzz, let's talk about what they are exactly. Battle ropes are an essential tool for full body strength and conditioning. They are hefty ropes specially designed to be heavy so that they take effort to control and move. They come in many different styles and lengths, but there are two primary styles available; 25mm and 44mm. Most ropes usually come in lengths of 5m, 10m, and 25m.

A Plethora of Benefits

Training with battling ropes develops strength endurance, core stability, and explosive power.

First, you need the whole body to move the rope line, so you will build core power. While battling ropes will increase core stability, they also increase grip strength and upper body endurance. Battling ropes are great for burning fat as well when used for high intensity interval training (HIIT).

Compared to other training tools, battle ropes exceed in that they don’t just stop at burning fat and increasing your level of conditioning. They also increase stability throughout your entire body, including your spine and lower back. This is important because spine and lower injuries can take months to recover from (if not longer).

Rogue Fitness, a leading authority in the industry, has 50' battle ropes for $125. Made in the USA. Check them out in the link below.

Rogue Fitness Battle Ropes

How to Use Battling Ropes

There are so many battling ropes exercises, but the wave, battle rope slams and battle rope pulls are the most popular among athletes who use them.

  1. The wave - in this exercise you have to create the continuous wave with battling rope. You can also alternate the waves between your left and right hand. With rope in hand, a full range of motion is from your thigh to your head. The wave and alternating wave are explained in the video above.
  2. Battle rope slams - very similar to the wave, but in this you have to slam the rope every time. Think med-ball slams, but with a long, heavy, ass-kicking rope.
  3. Side-to-side pulls - in this exercise you need to pull the rope towards you as quickly as possible. You can pull the rope to both sides at once, or pull both ropes to one side and alternate sides (think of a skier).
  4. Jumping jacks – this variation is great for shoulder endurance. Jumping jacks have never been more fun or challenging.

These are just a few of the movements that can be done with battling ropes. We’re not mentioning partner drills, one-arm variations, or integrating the rope with sled training (sled pulls, etc). Some athletes will combine these with lower body movements, such as a lunge or bodyweight squat. 

Sport Specific Training

The aim of sport specific training is to engage core muscles in an explosive way with a wide range of motion. Skip Schumaker, second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, uses battling ropes in such a way that the motions he uses mimic swinging a bat or throw a baseball. These principles can be applied to any sport. Take mixed martial arts or any combat sport as an example; you could do explosive punching drills with the battle ropes in hand.

Integrating Ropes into a Circuit

Athletic performance coach Todd Durkin puts his athletes through "Hurricanes," five-minute circuits to challenge your strength and conditioning. Likewise, conditioning class at The Forge also consists of circuit training, often times integrating the ropes between different “stations” (one station being push-ups while another is committing suicide on the battling ropes).

What makes things interesting at The Forge is that the amount of stations you’re put through during circuit often depends on the amount of people who show up.

Training for Power lifters and Strongman Competitors

Similar to the circuit training the athletes of Warrior Sciences go through, you can also integrate ropes into circuits designed for heavy lifters and other heavy athletic competitors. Conditioning tools and exercises such as tire flips, heavy logs, and heavy sleds go extremely well with battling ropes.

Battling Ropes, Kettle Bells, Sleds, and Sandbags…

All have one thing in common: they are the latest fitness tools used by top strength and conditioning coaches who aim to develop athletes with durability, crushing power, never-ending stamina, and rock solid muscle. They're used by police and military personnel, mixed martial artists, and those looking to get outstanding results from their training. It goes without saying that mixed martial artists and other combat sport athletes looking to take their training to the next level should consider adding these training tools to their arsenal.

Though Battling ropes are relatively new, they are becoming increasingly popular among coaches and their athletes. Its popularity is testimony enough that battling ropes simply work, and they work for everyone.

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About the Author

Jesse Seal is the assistance Combatives Instructor, and has been training in Combative Sciences since 2008. He has also been training and learning through Bullock's Irondom Performance Systems since 2010.

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