Refresher Course: Battle Ropes

Battle ropes are a high-intensity, full-body cardio and strength workout all in one.
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“Battle ropes are a high-intensity, full-body cardio and strength workout all in one,” says Garland Shields, trainer at O2 Fitness Club in Wilmington, North Carolina. Commercial ropes are one long length that is looped through a heavy kettlebell or an anchor attached to a wall. They are sturdy and thick and have taped ends for easy gripping. “The ropes are also ideal for high-intensity interval training and are great for targeting your core and upper body,” Shields adds.

Technique — EMOM (every minute on the minute)

In an EMOM, you perform one or more exercises for a certain number of reps at the top of every minute and rest any remaining time before starting again at the top of the next minute. With this format, you squeeze more work into less time, increasing intensity and time under tension. “EMOMs increase your strength endurance by establishing a stable work pace with a moderate load,” says Heather Farmer, a New York–based personal trainer, CrossFit instructor and national Olympic-weightlifting competitor. “You also learn the power of quick recovery — even a 10- or 20-second break can help recover energy.”

Every minute on the minute, complete the below trio of exercises. Rest any remaining time and repeat at the top of the next minute.

8 Waves (each arm)

8 Slams

8 In-and-Outs

Battle Ropes Wave

Battle-Rope Wave

Battle-Rope Wave

Stand with your feet outside shoulder-width apart and hold a rope in each hand at hip height. Bend your knees and kick your hips back to come into a low, stable squat position, and hold here as you alternately and quickly raise and lower the ropes in opposition so they make a wave pattern in the air.

Battle Ropes Slam

Battle-Rope Slam

Battle-Rope Slam

Stand with your feet outside shoulder-width apart and hold a rope in each hand at hip height. Bend your knees a little and brace your core as you raise both ropes to head height, then slam them down into the floor with force, using your entire body to perform the slam. Repeat in a rhythmic pattern.

Battle Ropes In and Out

Battle Rope In-and-Out

Battle Rope In-and-Out

Stand with your feet outside shoulder-width apart and hold a rope in each hand at hip height. Bend your knees a little and brace your core as you quickly whip the ropes out and away from one another, then back in together. Repeat in a rhythmic pattern.

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