Battle Ropes. They’re an exercise that even sounds awesome! How can you not want to take part, with a name like that? But there’s more to exercise than a cool name, so today we will be getting to grips with this new fitness apparatus and trend, and giving you the lowdown on the dos and don’ts for this sport.
What are Battle Ropes?
Besides sounding awesome, Battle Ropes are one of the hottest new functional fitness trends. There was a time when you’d barely see them, but they’ve sprung into popularity in the last few years and now every gym and Addidas advert boasts a pair, as well as great home systems being available.
The downside of that awesome name is that it’s very easy to dismiss them as a faddish trend. A Battle Rope system doesn’t look like much, either- in fact, you’ve probably passed it in the gym and presumed it was the maintenance man’s leavings! The ropes are- quite literally- ropes.
They vary from 30 feet up to 50 feet in length, usually have a circumference of 2.5-5 cms, and can weigh between 7.5 and 20 kgs, depending on the exact specs of the rope. The ropes will be attached to a sturdy fixed point somewhere. And there you have it.
Sounds simple, right? For all the idea of waving some rope up and down may sound ridiculous, simple fact is it’s a proven upper body [and core] workout of note. And if you’re looking for endurance training, you have it. As power workouts go, this one is right up there.
So, what does a Battle Rope workout offer?
- While it’s probably not top of your priority list if you’re a serious exerciser, it’s worth noting one particular feature that Battle Ropes re-introduce to the workout mix- fun and variety. It’s very easy to get stale in your workout routine, and adding some fun back into the mix is a great way to ensure you keep working at maximum intensity. Their versatility of drills means you can cover a wide range of exercise combos too.
- Because they’re high intensity, you can also make workouts short without compromising on quality.
- They’re an insanely easy piece of equipment to set up, so if you’re new to the home gym idea, or you simple want a no-sweat assembly, Battle Ropes are for you. They’re incredible easy to store and transport, too, and make a great outdoor workout option.
- Battle Ropes offer a low impact exercise option with a high calorie burn- practitioners claim the same burn as for sprinting and heavy resistance training! All while stressing your muscles rather than your joints.
- They’re also a great core workout. They can contribute towards building up your performance in general, too, as they encourage you to work from the core in all moves. If you’re tough enough to keep going through a Battle Rope workout, there can be a significant contribution to mental stamina too- the ropes will not be kind to you for all they are low impact.
- What’s rather nice about Battle Ropes is that they build ‘real’ strength. This isn’t a dead weight or barbell type strength, but one based in grip and working through day-to-day positions, leaving you with muscle strength that translates easily to the outside world.
- Lastly- but not least- they’re a particularly safe choice for a home gym. Not only are they incredibly easy to store [though you need a lot of space to use them] they’re also easy to simple drop if you find yourself in difficulties- there need be no concern about dangerous positions or heavy weights falling on you.
Should I have any concerns?
There are a few downsides to Battle Ropes as a piece of home gym equipment, as there is with most things. Luckily, if you’re using them at home, you miss one of the primary downsides of gym-use, which is the exhibitionist nature of this particular piece of gym equipment. If you’re naturally shy, blithely occupying 30 feet of your local gym to wave the ropes around will probably not appeal to you- but at home, you only need to worry about the dog watching!
Whilst they’re a doddle to store, though, you need space to use them- and lots of it. From the anchor point, you will be pulling them out to almost full length- so you need up to 20 feet of clearance. It’s also important that that is clear space- there’s no point if you’re going to be hooking the best china off the shelf and snagging the ceiling fan every time you ripple a rope. You need a floor type that won’t damage the ropes, too.
Also give good consideration to how and where you’re intending to anchor your system. Remember, the whole point of the Battle Ropes is to generate force for you to [literally] battle with. The anchor point is also going to be bearing the brunt of that force too, whilst stabilising the whole thing- it’s no use if it’s going to rip out chinks of your drywall with it.
How exactly do I use them?
- After making sure your ropes are firmly anchored, you’ll want to pull them out straight.
- Make sure you brace your legs at slightly wider then hip distance apart and keep your core engaged and shoulders down. Practice good joint posture at all time in your workout. Consult a trainer if you need help with your form.
- Battle Ropes lend themselves to interval style training. There’s a literal ton of move combinations you can try, but the most common is the wave, created by squatting and rising whilst lifting the arms to create a rippling wave down the rope. Slams are also popular- performed by swing the rope over skipping style to slam into the floor. But the world is your oyster when it comes to your personal goals- you can use them in any direction and pattern that suits you.
What makes a good Battle Rope System?
Let’s be honest, the concept of the Battle Rope is so simple, that it would be tough to mess this one up. Unlike many types of gym equipment, there aren’t a huge variety of features or qualities to look out for- they’re heavy durable ropes you will be pitting yourself again.
It’s not standard practice to ship a Battle Rope System with an anchor point or weight, either, so it’s not even as though there is a lot of variation there- you are expected to source and supply your own anchor point. That said, you’re probably going to get a surprise when you look at pricing on these systems!
While there are some cheap brands out there, the average rope will be in the region of $150 or higher.
So, for what is an incredibly tidy price tag for a really simple idea, let’s look at where things to differ- and why they matter.
- Anchor point: As mentioned, mostly this will be your responsibility. Some systems will ship with an iron bracket to attach as anchor though. Whilst it’s mainly going to hinge on attaching it firmly and to a suitable surface, be sure the bracket is well made and sturdy too- you don’t want it snapping off. It should be smooth to prevent snagging on the rope
- Handles: Your ropes should be well finished at the cut ends, as these ends will take a lot of squeezing stress from your hands and you don’t want it fraying immediately you use it. High end models will come with more comfortably designed handles to make it more pleasant- and easy- to grip and to protect your hands from friction burn and sweat slicking.
- Materials: You want a tightly woven rope made of tough materials- mostly, you will want to look for an artificial fabric, as natural rope tends to separate too easily to withstand a lot of stress and may also shed. You don’t want a rope that will wear at the attachment point or fray in your hands- be sure to check reviews as this is the most important sign of poor quality. Some rope types are bull-jacketed, a nice touch but not necessary. Make sure the jacket is firmly attached to prevent shifting if you go for this option.
Now you know just what to look for, let’s focus briefly on some great brands of Battle Ropes that meet high approval from Amazon shoppers. They’re a great benchmark to use to evaluate your choice, and a fabulous place to start if you’re in the market for your first set.
The Perform Better range all meet customer approval, and they score high star ratings on Amazon. Experienced users recommend starting with the 1.5 inch range, and graduating to the 2” later. Another nice feature is the fact they colour-code their rope handles, so if you’re investing in 2 lengths, you will easily be able to tell them apart. The company ships quickly and as ordered.
The Soozier options are entry level- they’re 30 ft long, and may not hold up as well as more heavy duty ropes. However, consumers are very happy with them, and they score tops in their budget category. Remember, if staining is a consideration for you; choose the black rope not the white. It’s an excellent beginner rope and great for older kids too.
A military grade fibre structure sets these ropes apart. Purchasers also recommend the DVD that ships with this one, if you’re new to Battle Ropes or want to switch up your workouts. The company provides great customer service, and users praise their durability and toughness. A great choice.