Heavy Rope Workout for Big Gains

These battle rope exercises and rope slams build serious muscle. This heavy rope workout is not for the faint of heart!

We have a wide variety of training techniques and tools at our disposal to enhance our workouts and maximize their training effects. The heavy rope is one such tool, which, if used correctly, offers a true cross-training effect with gains in strength, power and endurance.

In my opinion, a heavy rope workout has characteristics that make it unique and effective. For one thing, unlike fixed machines or bars, the rope offers constant dynamic feedback through subtle but continuous changes in length, tension and position, which require constant adjustment by the athlete. The thickness of the rope calls for a strong and consistent grip, effectively encouraging central stabilization from the trunk, through the shoulders and into the wrists and hands. 

RELATED: The Importance of Grip and Total Body Strength

If you are familiar with my previous articles, you know that I advocate training the body as a system, or kinetic chain, instead of training in isolation and expecting global changes. In keeping with this approach, the heavy rope calls for a solid base, alignment and synchronized breathing to properly control, absorb and produce adequate power. If you lose your center of gravity or base of support through faulty or "disconnected alignment," you will stumble or fall forward. Like the Turkish Get-Up, yoga and other modalities, a heavy rope workout is a great way to promote the co-existance of controlled breathing and body alignment.

RELATED: Learn More About the Power of the Turkish Get-Up

Finally, I believe a heavy rope workout offers a great risk-to-reward benefit, meaning the degree of improvement one can expect to gain in power, strength and endurance exceeds the potential for injury risk. With that said, there is still a need for appropriate screening, coaching and exercise progression when using the heavy rope. I feel better teaching athletes who may not have access to a strength coach to use the Heavy Rope Double Slam for lower-half ground force production, compared to a more conventional Power Clean. Are the two exercises exactly the same in execution or results? No. But a heavy rope workout can create an enhanced neutral load environment and yield positive results in strength, power and endurance that far exceed a training session lacking explosive movements altogether.

Below is a sample total-body heavy rope workout. Countless exercises can go into your program design, and this is by no means a complete program. But it is a great place to start using the heavy rope.

Heavy Rope Workout

Start with eight to 10 minutes of Foam Rolling.

Walking Lunges with Overhead Rope Lockout

Walking Lunges with Overhead Rope Lockout

Sets/Reps: 4x8 per side. The longer the rope gets, the more resistance you encounter during the Lunge, as well as enhanced grip demands in the overhead position.

Double-Handed Slam

Double-Handed Slam

Sets/Reps: 5x20. Total-body power incorporating both flexion and extension patterns.

Split Squat Jump with Diagonal Slams

Split Squat Jump with Diagonal Slams

Sets/Reps: 4x20.

Boat Sit with Drum Roll

Boat Sit with Drum Roll

Sets/Duration: 4x30 seconds.

Side Plank with One-Arm Slams

Side Plank with One-Arm Slams

 Sets/Reps: 4x10 per arm

Reverse-Grip Jumping Jacks

Reverse-Grip Jumping Jacks

Sets/Reps: 5x50

RELATED: WATCH: Travis Kelce's Split-Squat Jump with Battling Ropes


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: UPPER BODY | WORKOUTS | COACH | POWER | EXERCISE | ENDURANCE | HEAVY ROPE | ROPE WORKOUT