What Are Battle Ropes

Battle ropes are a type of fitness training apparatus created by John Brookfield, a world-record-holding strength and endurance athlete.  More specifically, they’re thick, heavy ropes — usually between 1 and 2 inches thick and 30 to 50 feet long — designed to improve strength and conditioning.

In training, the rope is wrapped around an anchor at its midpoint so that 2 evenly lengthed 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.    

While they first gained popularity amongst professional athletes like NFL players and UFC fighters, battle ropes have now entered the mainstream fitness world, in large part, due to the growing number of benefits that have come to be associated with their use.  

From improving your stability and coordination to enhancing your mental fortitude, we’re going over 15 different benefits of battle ropes in order to demonstrate why everyone from the average fitness enthusiast to the top-level athlete should be incorporating them into their workout routine.  

15 Benefits of Battle Ropes

Photo by Ivan Samkov

1. Battle Ropes Can Improve Your Endurance and Cardiovascular Health 

One of the most well-known benefits of regularly working with battle ropes is that they can improve your endurance and overall cardiovascular health.  While technically a form of resistance training, battle ropes function much like a cardiovascular workout, helping to keep your heart rate elevated while you’re exercising.   

More specifically, battle ropes can help to improve your cardiorespiratory fitness by increasing your maximum lung capacity and oxygen uptake, which are both important factors when it comes to building endurance.

Your muscles need a continuous supply of oxygen when you’re working out and your heart and lungs play a central role in the delivery process. As the exercise you’re doing becomes more demanding, your heart and lungs have to work harder to meet your muscles’ oxygen needs.  When your cardiorespiratory system reaches the point where it’s no longer able to fulfill these needs, physical performance continues to diminish until complete exhaustion sets it.  

However, working with battle ropes can improve how your lungs and heart perform both under physically demanding conditions and at rest.  Over time, a regular workout routine involving battle ropes can help not only to increase your endurance and conditioning but also to decrease your risk of heat-related morbidity and mortality.   

2. It’s a Fast Workout

Another benefit of working with battle ropes is that it’s a relatively fast workout in comparison to a traditional moderate-intensity exercise regimen like jogging on a treadmill for example.  

That’s because battle ropes are a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which is an alternative approach to cardio that shifts between short durations of high-intensity physical activity and brief rest periods.  

As opposed to steady-state cardio, where you’ll be exercising at moderate intensities, with battle ropes and HIIT, you’ll be working at more challenging intensity levels, which ultimately means it’ll take less total time to complete your workout (while still seeing comparable results).  

Some research even suggests that battle ropes and HIIT may be more effective than a traditional moderate-intensity exercise program when it comes to improving your cardiorespiratory fitness — that’s an especially nice perk considering it also takes less time.

3. Battles Ropes Can Help You Burn Fat

In combination with a solid diet plan, you can also shed some serious amounts of body fat with a battle ropes routine.  A well-designed program can substantially increase your daily energy expenditure, helping you to burn off more calories, thus increasing your overall fat-burning potential.  

And not only does HIIT help you to burn up calories while you exercise, but it’s also been shown to keep your metabolism elevated in the hours after your workout, helping to further increase your ability to target even the most stubborn body fat.

Being able to keep your metabolism elevated for long after you exercise ultimately increases your fat-burning potential by heightening your body’s caloric needs. 

When combined with a hypocaloric diet, battle ropes and HIIT can help you target more of your body’s fat reserves during a weight loss program, helping you to shed significantly more fat when compared to dieting alone.  

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4. Battle Ropes Can Also Help You Build Muscle

Not only can battle ropes come in handy when it comes to increasing your endurance, but they can also help you pack on some serious size and strength as well. 

 As a type of resistance training, battle ropes can work much like weight lifting in the sense that in both cases, your body is working against an active form of resistance, and as that resistance increases, the exercise becomes more difficult. 

When it comes to building muscle, finding the right levels of resistance is key, no matter what form of resistance training we’re talking about.  In the case of battle ropes, you’ll need to be working with heavier ropes and more challenging intensities in order to maximize your muscle-building potential.  

More specifically, you’ll need to be working with a size and length of rope that you’re able to perform no more than 6 – 10 repetitions within the span of 20 – 30 seconds (1 set).  in order to see the greatest increases in size and strength, you’ll need to do multiple sets, with limited rest in between to keep the intensity high.  

Furthermore, you’ll also need to incorporate multiple exercises and variations in your battle ropes routine in order to truly maximize your muscle-building potential.  

5. Battle Ropes Are A Full Body Workout

Another benefit of battle ropes is that they’re one of a relatively limited number of training apparatuses that can single-handedly target just about every muscle in your entire body depending on how you use them.  With the right routine, you can squeeze an incredibly challenging full-body workout out of a surprisingly short amount of time.  

More specifically, by tweaking certain variables such as how you grip and move the rope over the course of your workout,  you can potentially recruit most of your body’s major muscle groups in one fell swoop.

At first glance, battle ropes obviously engage the upper body as your arms are the primary point at which you and the rope are connected, but everything from your feet and legs to your hips and torso are involved to varying degrees depending on how exactly you manipulate the rope.  

Throwing in variations that include things like jumps and lunges into your regular battle rope routine is an easy way to assure that your legs and torso are also heavily involved in the workout.

6.  They’re Great For Strengthening Weak Body Parts

Battle ropes are also an excellent training apparatus for targeting weak body parts and/or muscles that normally don’t receive a lot of attention from other kinds of exercises.  

That’s primarily due to the fact that the energy that eventually used to move the rope has to be transferred throughout your entire body — i.e. you have to generate force from the ground which must be transferred up through your legs, torso, and arms before it finally reaches the rope.

In order to be efficient at transferring that energy from the ground to the rope, all of the different body parts involved in this kinetic chain have to be sufficiently strong.  Regularly training with battle ropes can help to target and strengthen weak links in your kinetic chain, including things like your feet, ankles, knees, and hips.  

7. They Can Come in Handy For Avoiding Plateaus

Not only can they aid in strengthening weak body parts, but battles ropes can also help you engage your muscles in a new and different way compared to other forms of resistance training, which is the perfect scenario for avoiding plateaus.  

For instance, once you have years of weight training experience and your muscle have become well-adapted to all of the different training stimuli in your workout routine, it can become much more difficult to make substantial gains in size and strength.  

Regularly training with battle ropes, however, can help to assure that you’re continuing to attack your muscles from new angles, keeping them challenged and providing them with the necessary stimulation they need to grow bigger and stronger.  

And because there are so many different exercise variations, it’s easy to constantly switch up your battle ropes routine, which can help to assure that you continue to see real, measurable progress even after you’re well-versed on the ropes.  

8. Your Less-Likely To Get Injured With Battle Ropes

Another big benefit of workout with battle ropes is that your risk of injury is also relatively low in comparison to other forms of training.  On the cardio side of things, battle-ropes are a low-impact form of cardiovascular training, meaning that you don’t get the same kind of stress on your ankles, knees, hips, and back that you do with high-impact exercises like jogging and running.  

When it comes to resistance training, battle ropes allow you to work at high intensities and with lots of resistance without using heavy and potentially dangerous weights, which ultimately means less of a risk of getting hurt in comparison to weight lifting, where injuries are relatively commonplace.  

9. Battles Ropes Are Great for Mobility and Stability

Training with battle ropes is also an excellent way to improve your mobility.  It’s been well documented that dynamic battle rope movements can help to increase the range of motion in your joints.  

They can be incredibly effective for increasing mobility in everything from your hips, knees, and ankles to your wrists and shoulders when incorporated into a normal workout regimen.  

Working with battle ropes can also help you to build stability, especially exercises in which your feet are planted firmly on the ground throughout the movement.  The force you generate when you slam the rope is eventually returned to you, which requires you to maintain your stability throughout the exercise.  

Over time, training with battle ropes can help you to build a more sound and supportive stance, helping you to develop more stability in both your upper and lower body with regular adherence.    

10. They Can Also Help Improve Your Coordination, Balance, and Timing 

In addition to bolstering your stability, battle ropes can also help to improve your coordination, balance, and timing.  While this might be especially beneficial when it comes to athletics, making such improvements also has plenty of application to everyday life as well.  

One of the biggest limiting factors both when it comes to sports and everyday life is imbalance.  The fact of the matter is that many of us are simply more in tune with one side of our body than the other, which ultimately impinges on things like our coordination, balance, and timing.  

However, another benefit of battle ropes is that they can help you to become equally in tune with both sides of your body.  With battle ropes, each of your arms is worked independently, which over time, can help to target and neutralize any imbalances that you’ve developed. 

Adding in some more complicated movements that involve things like jumps, squats, and lunges into your battle ropes routine, can also help to further improve your coordination, balance, and timing.  Mastering multi-faceted movements like these will not only offer transferable benefits in the world of sports but also in everyday life.  

11. You Can Build Mental Fortitude With Battle Ropes

On top of helping to improve your strength and conditioning, working with battle ropes can also help you to develop your mental fortitude.  There’s no getting around it, a battle rope workout is tough; as little as 30 seconds at a time of intense effort, can be enough to set your lungs, along with every muscle in your body, on fire, no matter how experienced you are.    

When you’re first starting out, just making it to the next 30-second exercise block can seem impossible, let alone making out of the entire workout alive.  But after you’ve conquered the challenge a few times, you’ll be overwhelmed by a sense of fulfillment that will keep you coming back and over time, you’ll notice that what once felt impossible, is no longer all that daunting. 

Regularly working with battle ropes can help you get comfortable with pushing yourself harder and further than you thought possible, which, at the end of the day, can help you to build a kind of mental toughness that extends far beyond just your workouts.  

12. Battle Ropes Can Keep Your Workout Fresh

One of the big drawbacks to traditional steady-state exercises like riding a stationary bike or jogging on a treadmill is that there’s simply not a whole lot of variations to choose from when it comes to working out. On the treadmill, for instance, you can change the speed or switch up the incline but other than that, there’s not really much you can do to keep things feeling fresh and exciting.

The issue is that unless you’re a real enthusiast, it’s probably going to get more and more difficult to maintain your cardio routine in the long run if you’re just doing the same basic thing day in and day out.   

However, because of all the variety that battle ropes have to offer, it’s incredibly easy to keep things in your cardio routine fresh.  On top of being able to change up things like the size and length of the rope you use, there are a seemingly infinite amount of different exercises and variations to choose from, which can help create a continued sense of excitement about your training.  

13. They’re Relatively Inexpensive

Another benefit of battle ropes is that they’re relatively inexpensive as far as exercise equipment goes, making them accessible to just about anyone with some expendable income.  And when it comes to a single apparatus that can give you an intense full-body workout, there’s just about nothing that’s better.

A quick look on Amazon reveals that there are plenty of well-reviewed products in the $50 range,  although a product of the highest quality will cost you over $100.  At any rate, that’s still significantly cheaper than the annual rate you’ll be paying at a gym.  

14. You Can Set Them Up Anywhere

On top of their relatively modest price, battle ropes also provide you with the flexibility and convenience of being able to workout anywhere.  

Whether your schedule’s too busy to get to the gym or you just want to spend some time working out in the good ole’ outdoors, with battle ropes, all you need is a rope and something to anchor it to and you’re ready to go.  The options are literally endless.  

15. Battle Ropes Are Just Downright Fun

The last benefit of training with battle ropes is that once you get a hang of them, they’re tons of fun to use.  It might seem like a little thing, but the average exercise routine can be pretty monotonous, which is one of the reasons so many people start off the new year with good intentions but end up falling out of their routines within the first few months. 

However with battle ropes, you get to slam and wave the ropes around in all sorts of fun patterns, and better yet, you get to take out some serious aggression in a healthy and beneficial way.