Watch Tracee Ellis Ross Power Through a Battle Rope Exercise

Plus, the benefits of battle rope exercises that will make you want to add the equipment to your next workout.

Tracee Ellis Ross
Photo: Getty Images

Judging by Tracee Ellis Ross' Instagram profile, she likes to switch up her workouts. The actress seems to have done it all, based on the video clips and images she's shared with fans and followers on the app over the years. She's struggled through home workouts during the pandemic, she's worn cuffs on her thighs that restrict blood flow, supposedly allowing you to get the same results while training with lighter weights, and she's long embraced the Gyrotonic method (aka low-impact exercises that focus on fluid movement against resistance).

For her latest fitness-focused post, Ellis Ross shared a 13-second clip of herself using battle ropes. In the video, she's wearing striped leggings with a black tank top and her hair slicked back into a bun and performing unilateral waves with the ropes. Maintaining a squat, she repetitively swings her right arm up as she swings her left arm down and vice versa.

Toward the end of the clip, Ellis Ross seems to become fatigued. A voice — likely that of personal trainer Jason Walsh, who the Pattern Beauty founder tagged in the post — assures her that she has just five seconds to go, helping her get to the end of the exercise without stopping. "Battle rope business," wrote Ellis Ross in the caption of her post.

Not only do battle rope exercises look pretty badass (see exhibit A above), but using the fitness equipment offers serious benefits. While battle rope moves may seem like they work just your upper body at first glance, they actually engage your whole body. "You're in a squat position and then you have to brace your core to keep from falling over, and then your shoulders and arms are working the ropes so you're really using your entire body," Colleen Quigley, Team USA Track & Field standout and 2016 Olympian, previously told Shape.

Using battle ropes also involves elements of resistance training (lifting and lowering the weighted ropes is no easy feat) and cardio (expect your heart rate to elevate). Doing 30-second intervals of battle rope exercises with one minute of rest in between will maximize cardio benefits, according to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. You can also customize your workout with the equipment based on your goals, doing low-impact moves, such as a slow single arm thrust, or mid-to-high impact moves, including two-handed rope slams that burn more energy, Shape previously reported.

Before you order a set of battle ropes online or seek them out at your gym, it's important to learn proper form to prevent injury and get the most out of your workout. You want to keep your feet planted on the ground, engaging your abs, and keeping your lower back tucked, Ben Walker, personal trainer and owner of Anywhere Fitness previously told Shape. You'll also want to bend your knees and avoid gripping the ropes too hard. Leaving room for some slack allows you to create higher waves with the ropes, which will then generate more force, he added.

Feeling inspired by Ellis Ross to give battle ropes a try? Check out this beginner friendly battle rope workout.

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