If you’re looking to add diversity to your training, but still want to work key muscle groups, turn your attention to battle ropes. Also known as heavy ropes, these ropes of varying lengths and widths that are coiled around a beam are becoming increasingly popular at gyms and training studios.
What makes battle ropes so appealing is that they can be used by anyone. Crucially, they’re fun and come heaped with fitness benefits. You could be forgiven for assuming that battle ropes only target the muscles in the arms and shoulders, but when used correctly, they can exercise muscles in the abs, back and buttocks, and they are superb for the core. If you add lunges, squats and jumps into your battle ropes routine, your legs will also get a workout. Unlike other exercises, there’s no rest phase when using battle ropes, so the exercises will quickly get your heart rate going, thus they are a fantastic source of cardio training.
To reap the maximum fitness benefits from battle rope training, it’s important to know how to use them effectively. You’ll be able to maintain longer workouts if you relax your muscles and grip the ropes lightly. Once you get going exercises can be intensive, so you also need to learn to breathe correctly so you don’t fizzle out prematurely. Match your breathing pattern to the movements you make. Remember to use your legs when using battle ropes. Keep them bent at the very least and avoid standing stiffly.
There are lots and lots of different ways you can use this apparatus. Infinitely versatile, you can use battle ropes at the beginning or end of your training session, or as a complete standalone exercise.
Creating wave patterns with each rope is a popular technique that exercises each arm independently, but you can also move the ropes from side to side to work your hips and core. If you want to focus on your shoulder muscles, make circular movements with the ropes. You can also slam the ropes or whip them to boost your strength and hone your core muscles.
If you’re a fan of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), battle ropes can be used to great effect with this style of training. For example, you could carry out whip movements with the ropes, followed by wave movements for 30 seconds each, with a rest of 60 seconds. This set could be repeated around 10 times, two or three times per week.
How far away you stand from the anchor point of the ropes and how slack they are held also influences the intensity of your workouts. The further away you are from the anchor point, the less intense your workout will be, but the closer you are, the harder you will train. Alternate the distances to adjust the resistance of the ropes, moving further away as you wind down your routine.
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