Battle ropes offer benefits for anyone looking to improve their conditioning and overall work capacity. The accessibility to battling ropes, which are now found in most training facilities, and the flexibility of training attributes make these ropes a valuable tool to enhance performance. Battle ropes are also easy to set up and have a low learning curve and risk of injury.
Great for sports requiring prolonged use of the upper extremities. Studies have shown that late-game free throw performance improved after using battle ropes in an 8-week training program (1). It’d be reasonable to expect these benefits to also carry over to sports such as tennis or pickleball, where athletes are required to perform precise movements with the upper body under fatigue to achieve success.
Because battle rope training is predominantly upper-body focused, it allows athletes to improve their conditioning without the joint impacts incurred through many other cardiovascular activities, such as running and jumping rope. This can be extremely beneficial for athletes who may have lower-body injuries. These athletes can perform the exercises seated without sacrificing fitness levels during this time of limited activity.
In addition to the cardiovascular benefits of holding onto a battle rope, it is also a fantastic method to improve grip strength for sports. This happens as the width and weight of the rope, which comes in various sizes, causes your forearms and hands to work harder to hold on to the rope. Having high levels of grip strength is vital in sports like wrestling and basketball, particularly when it comes to rebounding or keeping an opponent in a cradle. Using the three battle rope training protocols below at the end of your strength training workout can help you boost your fitness leading into the season.
Grab the battle rope and go all out for 20 seconds using any variation you prefer, and then rest for 10 seconds. Perform 8 intervals totaling 4 minutes.
30 for 30
With this circuit, you’ll complete 2 rounds totaling 10 minutes. Each exercise will be performed in succession with 30 seconds rest in between exercises.
A) Double Arm Slams x 30 seconds Rest x 30 seconds
B) Low Waves x 30 seconds Rest x 30 seconds
C) Side to Side Slams x 30 seconds Rest x 30 seconds
D) High Waves x 30 seconds Rest x 30 seconds
E) Jumping Jack Slams x 30 seconds Rest x 30 seconds
The 3-minute all-out test is a great test to look at an athlete’s power endurance, and if the title isn’t enough of a hint, you will grab the rope and go as hard as you can for 3 minutes in a simple pattern like double arm waves. This works as a phenomenal baseline test for athletes to look at heart rate data or from a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) standpoint at the beginning and end of a training block. Because of its simplicity, it can also serve as a benchmark test that’s easily repeatable to track progress over time. This helps train both the anaerobic and aerobic energy systems as the source of energy transitions throughout the assessment.
1) Chen WH, Wu HJ, Lo SL, Chen H, Yang WW, Huang CF, Liu C. Eight-Week Battle Rope Training Improves Multiple Physical Fitness Dimensions and Shooting Accuracy in Collegiate Basketball Players. J Strength Cond Res. 2018 Oct;32(10):2715-2724.