Develop Full-Body Strength and Conditioning With Battling Ropes

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Is there a simpler, yet more complete, training device than a 50-foot piece of rope? We're "a frayed knot."

But seriously, if you're looking to add a fun new twist to your workout, check out Battling Ropes, a relatively new equipment technique for full-body training that engages the core while training the central nervous system to resist fatigue.

"The ropes will kick your butt," says Mike Berenger, founder of Rapid Sports Performance and trainer to Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham. "It jacks your heart rate up and activates your core."

In addition, rope training strengthens your legs, hamstrings, back, shoulders, and grip.

What separates Battling Ropes from more traditional forms of strength training with barbells or dumbbells? In a word, velocity. Here's how it works. Imagine performing a Dumbbell Bench Press. When pressing the weight, you're engaging your chest, shoulders, back and arms. As you return to start position, momentum takes over, which gives those muscles a chance to relax.

With the Battling Ropes, you must maintain power throughout the exercise to create a wave effect with the ropes. In short, they force you to train at a higher level of intensity over a longer period of time. "The key is to keep the ropes moving fast," says Battling Ropes System certified specialist Dave Morgan. "The wave has to get to the other end. If the wave doesn't get to the other end, you're not going hard enough."

Rope training is easy to add to your workout. For wave training exercises, the 50-foot rope is wrapped around an immovable object to create two 25-foot segments. The athlete holds an end in each hand and swings the rope up and down to create the wave effect.

According to Morgan, training with a standard one-inch-diameter rope has effects similar to hitting a speed bag. (The ropes are also available in one-and-a-quarter-inch, one-and-a-half-inch and two-inch diameters.)

What started as a training system for strongman competitors has spread across all sports. And as you will see in the videos, Battling Rope variations are endless.

Photo:  Danny Vega

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock