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A Beginner’s Guide
to Battle Ropes

A Beginner’s Guide to Battle Ropes

The rugged rope is a surprisingly effective muscle-building and fat-burning tool

Battling rope exercises

Fitness blogger and Ninja Warrior, Nathan McCallum, is a battle rope beast. Follow his Instagram for daily tips and motivation.

There’s a reason why you’ve been seeing those old school ropes (you know, the ones most commonly found in boxing gyms or high school football training rooms) all over lately. It's because when it comes to burning fat and building muscle, they can be a hell of a lot more effective than lifting weights and hitting the treadmill.

Battle ropes (also called battling ropes) make for an efficient and fun way to workout. You'll strengthen your core and carve out your abs while toning your arms and shoulders. You'll activate your leg muscles and increase both upper and lower body strength and stability. Perhaps even better, you get the benefits of high-intensity conditioning at the same time. Plus, you can tailor each exercise to any fitness level.

So the next time you see those rugged ropes curled up in the corner of the gym, head over and whip them around for 10 minutes. According to the latest research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, that's all you'll need to achieve a vigorous full-body workout with this old school fitness tool. Ready to slam your way into shape? These three moves will get you started.


Getting Started
with Battling Ropes

Alternating Waves

This is the move you always see. The fluid ripples of the ropes make it look easy, and while it's not a hard move to master, the intensity gets your heart pumping and really works your core and back while engaging each arm independently.


Hold the end of each rope at arm's length, bend slightly at the knees and maintain a tight core.


Bring the left rope up as you move the right rope down. Immediately, bring the right rope up and move the left rope down.


Keep repeating these alternating waves while remaining in the squat position for as long as you can.

Alternating Waves battle ropes exercise

Side to Side Swings

This snake-y move is a killer shoulder workout that also works to build up and tone your biceps and triceps. The back to back movement also engages and strengthens your core and ab muscles—including the obliques which keep spare tires away.


Take a battle rope in each hand, then bring your hands together at your waist.


Bend slightly at the knee and in one motion, forcefully swing the ropes to the left while keeping your legs braced and knees slightly bent.


Swing the ropes in the opposite direction and continue swaying the ropes side to side, always engaging your core to steady your stance.

Side to Side Swings battle ropes exercise

Jumping Double Arm Slam

These slams offer a total-body burn that tires your muscles out fast but offers some serious muscle toning benefits. Everything from your back and arms to your abs, glutes and legs start firing.


Grip the ends of the rope and stand with feet shoulder-width apart and lower into a squat.


In one quick explosive movement, bring the ropes upward to your shoulder level as you jump up, raising both hands slightly overhead.


As you land, immediately come down into a squatting position and slam the ropes down onto to the ground as hard as you can.


Repeat the movement for at least 30 to 45 seconds.

Jumping Double Arm Slam battle ropes exercise

How to Adjust the Resistance: The amount of slack in the rope is what determines your resistance. Want to increase the intensity? Simply step toward your anchor point. Want to decrease the resistance? Back away from the anchor point.

Enhance Classic Moves With Ropes: Perform these old school moves while holding the ropes to add a whole new dimension and challenge to your workout: Jumping jacks, squat thrusts, Russian twists and shoulder presses.

Prep for Battle

Training ropes come in various lengths and thicknesses, but we recommend this 50-foot option from AmazonBasics. It's got grippy ends and is backed by a one-year warranty. Then loop it around a sturdy pole or use an anchor strap kit to secure it to your weight rack.

AmazonBasics 50-Foot Battle Rope

50-foot battle rope,
$58.82 by AmazonBasics

Eclipse Fitness Battle Rope Anchor Kit

Battle rope anchor kit,
$13.99 by Eclipse Fitness

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