So, why am I so into Fitness Ropes (also known as Undulating, Power, Training, or Exercise Ropes)? After all, I’m known for saying that one of the many benefits of Bodyweight Training is that it can be done anywhere, without a single piece of equipment. There are a few pieces of equipment however that I consider a luxury, which can be incredibly useful and effective: a chin-up bar is my favorite, and I typically recommend throwing together just a Swiss Ball, Gymnastic Rings and a set of Parallettes for a fully outfitted gym. But I have to admit, Fitness Ropes make a great addition to that set-up!
There are lots of ways to use fitness ropes, and it is easy to continually modify your workout so you are always increasing your challenge. (Click here to jump to a summary of suggested uses).
More and more we are seeing old-school training techniques making their way back into modern gyms. At the GBT Gym we use climbing ropes, heavy jumbo jump ropes and finally the focus of this post, the Fitness Rope. Fitness Ropes usually range from 1.5 – 2 inches in diameter and 25 to 100 feet in length with handles at both ends. The rope is used by actively moving the arms and body explosively to create “waves” that travel down to the anchor point.
Although the weight of the rope does play a role, it’s the action of the body that I credit in classifying the fitness rope as a bodyweight training tool. Try it for even 30 seconds and you’ll see that there isn’t a single muscle in your entire torso that isn’t working. It will also leave you gasping for air. You can change the techniques to emphasize different muscle groups as well as add in lower body movements like squats, jump lunges and lateral movements. In addition to the great benefits for muscular endurance, cardiovascular conditioning and fat burning, using the ropes for timed intervals can be a low impact substitute for sprints if you are trying to increase your anaerobic threshold.
This is an invaluable tool for speed and endurance, but don’t take my word for it, try it yourself. You can check out the instructional video below for tips (many thanks to Lena Makurath and Dave “Lebo” LeBatard for being such great fitness models with the ropes!). And of course you can pick up your own ropes right here on our site:
LOTS OF WAYS TO USE FITNESS ROPES
The most common ropes exercises include making Waves and Slams, where you are using total body flexion and extension as you slam the ropes down for strength, power and endurance. Waves can be varied in nearly infinite combinations of a wide range of elements:
- Up-and-Down Waves, Alternating/Reciprocating, Criss-Cross movements;
- Grappler Toss moves, where you are creating internal and external rotary movements;
- Incorporating Squats and Lunges, including forward, reverse, and lateral movements as well adding in lower body plyometric movements like jumping squats, lunges and lateral hopping movements;
- Adjusting your reps and durations, with high intensity interval training being particularly effective with ropes;
- Train solo and with a partner; you can have another training partner “call out” movements to keep the exercise unpredictable and fresh, increasing your reaction time;
- Even changing the grip to where the end of the rope is facing up is a great variation with an added challenge;
- Vary your training position, from standing and kneeling to sitting on a stability ball, or even laying face down doing single arm waves;
Ropes can also be used for more than undulating. You can also use your ropes for more traditional strength exercises like rows and pull-ups by throwing it over a firm anchor and using it to pull yourself up. This poses an excellent grip challenge with to improve both grip and pulling/rowing strength.
And, the longer ropes are excellent tools for pulling and dragging sleds and heavier objects – even a game of tug a war can prove to be quite a full body challenge.