Don't be intimidated by those giant ropes at the gym. This battle rope workout will take you from rookie to pro with just eight simple strength training moves

By Sara Angle
Updated June 26, 2019

Wondering what to do with those heavy battle ropes at the gym? Luckily, you're not in Phys. Ed., so you don't have to climb them—but there are plenty of killer battle rope exercises you should try instead. (And, FWIW, you should consider making the rope climb one of your fitness goals.)

Don't just walk right past the battle ropes just because you aren't sure how to use them or think they're reserved for more advanced exercisers. You could be missing out on some major body benefits (in fact, battle rope exercises are among The Best Metabolism-Revving Strength Moves, According to Science). One study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that 30-second bursts of battle rope exercises followed by one-minute rest intervals are the best way to maximize your cardio and stoke your metabolism. Exercisers who did eight sets of these work-rest intervals burned up to nine calories a minute. (Hellooo, benefits of HIIT training!)

Ready to throw it down? Justin Flexen, group fitness director at Crunch, designed these battle rope exercises to create the ultimate fat-burning battle rope workout, and we got Beth Lewis, strength coach at Body Evolved in Manhattan and program director at City Row, to show you how to perform each move so you can feel comfortable and confident picking up a set of battle ropes next time you hit the gym. Because it's easy to scale-down battle rope exercises (you just slow down your pace) this battle rope workout is beginner-friendly, but can still be challenging AF.

If you want to include more than just battle rope exercises into your workout, steal some of these moves and mix them with some free-weight and bodyweight moves to create the perfect circuit workout.

8-Move Battle Rope Workout

How it works: Perform each battle rope exercise for 30 seconds, then rest for one minute before moving onto the next move. When you get to the end, rest for one minute. Repeat the circuit three times, and you'll get an awesome workout that's not only quicker than your usual hour-long gym session but way more fun!

Double-Arm Wave

Start with feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward and knees slightly bent. Grip the ropes with palms facing the floor and move both arms at the same time up, then down, using your full range of motion. Keep a brisk pace. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Single-Arm Wave with Squat

With feet hip-width apart and toes pointing forward, sit into a deep squat, thighs parallel to the floor. Grip the ropes with palms facing the floor. Maintain the squat position as you move each arm one at a time, making two waves up, then two waves down. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Single-Arm Wave with Jump Squat

From a deep squat position, start single arm waves. Jump into the air, landing softly back into a squat position. Continue jumping while moving arms. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Reverse-Grip Wave with Lunge

Start with feet together. Grip the ropes with palms facing up, keeping elbows close to rib cage. Begin single arm waves, then step the left leg back into a lunge. Step feet together and lunge on the left leg with arms still moving. Continue alternating while moving arms. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Hip Toss

Grip the ropes with palms facing inward, keeping hands close together. Move ropes from right hip up and over in a rainbow shape towards left hip. Focus on keeping torso upright and abs engaged. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Double-Arm Wave with Burpee

Start in a deep squat position. Do three quick double-arm waves, then drop the ropes and jump into a push-up position. Complete one push-up before jumping back up and grabbing the ropes. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Arm Circles

Grip the ropes with palms facing the floor, arms extended, keeping elbows close to rib cage. Circle arms inward three times, then outward three times. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Power Slam

Start in a deep squat position. Grip the ropes with palms facing inward and bring them up overhead before slamming the ropes to the ground in one powerful motion. Focus on keeping chest upright. Repeat for 30 seconds.


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