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Six Heart-Pumping Battle Rope Moves

By Kristy Godso

By Kristy Godso

Build strength and spike your heart rate with these six simple workouts.

Battle ropes are one of the few pieces of equipment that can provide a cardio and strength workout at the same time. In this article, Nike Master Trainer, Kirsty Godso takes you through the basics of using ropes and shares her top six workouts for seeing results—fast.

Odds are you feel one of two ways about battle ropes: They’re totally badass, or they’re totally intimidating. Regardless of where you stand, there’s no denying that training with these thick, long ropes can skyrocket your heart rate and work your muscles to exhaustion—making battle ropes one of the few pieces of gym equipment that can help you reap cardio and strength benefits in a short amount of time.

Whether you’ve slammed ropes a hundred times before or need just a little help generating the confidence to pick them up, check out these tips and creative moves from Nike Master Trainer Kirsty Godso.

“Battle ropes are one of the few pieces of gym equipment that can help you reap cardio and strength benefits in a short amount of time”

Nike Master Trainer, Kirsty Godso

Two Important Things to do Before You Get Started

  1. Choose the Right Rope
    Battle ropes come in varying thicknesses and lengths, and it’s important to choose the right one for your workout. If you’re new to battle ropes, opt for the thinnest option (typically a 1.5-inch diameter), which will be easier to hold than a thicker rope (a 2-inch diameter is more likely to fatigue your grip faster). The thicker the rope, the heavier it is, so size up if you’re trying to pack on muscle. Battle ropes are typically 30-, 40-, or 50-feet long. Longer ropes require more space but tend to be the most versatile.
  2. Anchor the Rope
    If you have access to a gym, find a weight machine or rig that’s bolted to the floor and thread one end of the rope around a leg of it. Back away from the rig, pulling the rope until its ends are even. You could also weave the rope around a heavy kettlebell or dumbbell, put a sandbag on top of it, or something heavy you have around the house if you’re at home, just make sure whatever you use is heavy enough that it won’t move when you go all out.
6 Fast-Result Battle Rope Workouts

Six Moves to Do With Battle Ropes

This mix will get you moving in multiple planes of motion, boost your stability and power, and challenge your coordination. Generate power from your lower body and engage your core to get the most out of each rep. If you want to ramp up the intensity, move closer to the anchor point: The more slack you have in the ropes, the harder you have to work to get height during slams and waves.

If you’re new to ropes, try doing any of these moves for 15 to 30 seconds. If you’re experienced, shoot for 30-second to 1-minute sets. Regardless of your fitness level, you can do 1 to 3 rounds of all 6 movements for a quick cardio-strength session, or incorporate your favorites into any workout. The less rest you take between sets, the more metabolic your workout will be (that means you’ll burn more fat).

01. Alternating Waves
Muscles worked: shoulders, lats, biceps, triceps, abs, glutes

Stand facing the anchor point, holding the rope so your palms face each other like you’re shaking hands with the rope ends. Step back until the rope is taut. With your feet slightly wider than your hips, do a quarter squat. Keeping your back straight, chest up, and feet flat, quickly raise and lower the ropes, alternating between your left and right arm. Try to send small, fast ripples all the way to the anchor point. Continue alternating arms as quickly as you can.

02. Power Slam
Muscles worked: shoulders, lats, chest, biceps, triceps, abs, glutes

Use the same setup as the alternating wave. Rise onto your toes and raise both arms as high as you can, then come back down, lowering your heels, as you slam both sides as hard as you can. Continue as quickly as possible.

03. Rotational Slam
Muscles worked: shoulders, lats, biceps, triceps, abs, glutes

Hold both rope ends together with an underhand grip. Step back until the rope is taut. With your feet slightly wider than your hips, do a quarter squat and bring your hands to one side of your body. Rise onto your toes as you whip the rope up and over to the other side (it should make a big arc), pivoting your feet to face the direction of the rope ends. Immediately switch sides and repeat. Continue alternating sides as quickly as you can.

6 Fast-Result Battle Rope Workouts

04. Arm Circles
Muscles worked: shoulders, lats, biceps, triceps, abs

Use the same setup as the alternating wave. Rise onto your toes as you simultaneously start to make a big counter-clockwise circle with your left arm and a clockwise circle with your right arm. Lower your heels as the ropes come toward one another. Continue making circles as quickly as you can.

05. Single-Arm Plank Slam
Muscles worked: shoulders, lats, biceps, triceps, abs

Facing the anchor point, do a plank with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Grab one rope end with the same-side hand and do single-arm slams as quickly as you can. When you’ve completed your set, switch arms and repeat.

06. Russian Twist
Muscles worked: Shoulders, biceps, triceps, abs, obliques

Facing the anchor point, sit with your legs together and bent and your heels on the floor. Hold both rope ends together with an underhand grip and bring your hands to one side of your body. Whip the rope up and over to the other side (it should make a big arc), rotating your upper body to face the direction of the rope ends. Immediately switch sides and repeat. Continue alternating sides as quickly as you can.

Build strength and spike your heart rate with these six simple workouts.

Battle ropes are one of the few pieces of equipment that can provide a cardio and strength workout at the same time. In this article, Nike Master Trainer, Kirsty Godso takes you through the basics of using ropes and shares her top six workouts for seeing results—fast.

Odds are you feel one of two ways about battle ropes: They’re totally badass, or they’re totally intimidating. Regardless of where you stand, there’s no denying that training with these thick, long ropes can skyrocket your heart rate and work your muscles to exhaustion—making battle ropes one of the few pieces of gym equipment that can help you reap cardio and strength benefits in a short amount of time.

Whether you’ve slammed ropes a hundred times before or need just a little help generating the confidence to pick them up, check out these tips and creative moves from Nike Master Trainer Kirsty Godso.

“Battle ropes are one of the few pieces of gym equipment that can help you reap cardio and strength benefits in a short amount of time”

Nike Master Trainer, Kirsty Godso

Two Important Things to do Before You Get Started

  1. Choose the Right Rope
    Battle ropes come in varying thicknesses and lengths, and it’s important to choose the right one for your workout. If you’re new to battle ropes, opt for the thinnest option (typically a 1.5-inch diameter), which will be easier to hold than a thicker rope (a 2-inch diameter is more likely to fatigue your grip faster). The thicker the rope, the heavier it is, so size up if you’re trying to pack on muscle. Battle ropes are typically 30-, 40-, or 50-feet long. Longer ropes require more space but tend to be the most versatile.
  2. Anchor the Rope
    If you have access to a gym, find a weight machine or rig that’s bolted to the floor and thread one end of the rope around a leg of it. Back away from the rig, pulling the rope until its ends are even. You could also weave the rope around a heavy kettlebell or dumbbell, put a sandbag on top of it, or something heavy you have around the house if you’re at home, just make sure whatever you use is heavy enough that it won’t move when you go all out.
6 Fast-Result Battle Rope Workouts

Six Moves to Do With Battle Ropes

This mix will get you moving in multiple planes of motion, boost your stability and power, and challenge your coordination. Generate power from your lower body and engage your core to get the most out of each rep. If you want to ramp up the intensity, move closer to the anchor point: The more slack you have in the ropes, the harder you have to work to get height during slams and waves.

If you’re new to ropes, try doing any of these moves for 15 to 30 seconds. If you’re experienced, shoot for 30-second to 1-minute sets. Regardless of your fitness level, you can do 1 to 3 rounds of all 6 movements for a quick cardio-strength session, or incorporate your favorites into any workout. The less rest you take between sets, the more metabolic your workout will be (that means you’ll burn more fat).

01. Alternating Waves
Muscles worked: shoulders, lats, biceps, triceps, abs, glutes

Stand facing the anchor point, holding the rope so your palms face each other like you’re shaking hands with the rope ends. Step back until the rope is taut. With your feet slightly wider than your hips, do a quarter squat. Keeping your back straight, chest up, and feet flat, quickly raise and lower the ropes, alternating between your left and right arm. Try to send small, fast ripples all the way to the anchor point. Continue alternating arms as quickly as you can.

02. Power Slam
Muscles worked: shoulders, lats, chest, biceps, triceps, abs, glutes

Use the same setup as the alternating wave. Rise onto your toes and raise both arms as high as you can, then come back down, lowering your heels, as you slam both sides as hard as you can. Continue as quickly as possible.

03. Rotational Slam
Muscles worked: shoulders, lats, biceps, triceps, abs, glutes

Hold both rope ends together with an underhand grip. Step back until the rope is taut. With your feet slightly wider than your hips, do a quarter squat and bring your hands to one side of your body. Rise onto your toes as you whip the rope up and over to the other side (it should make a big arc), pivoting your feet to face the direction of the rope ends. Immediately switch sides and repeat. Continue alternating sides as quickly as you can.

6 Fast-Result Battle Rope Workouts

Train With Us

Tap into the ultimate training resource with the Nike Training Club App. From expertly designed workouts to holistic tips on nutrition, mindset, recovery, and sleep, NTC has everything you need to perform your best.

04. Arm Circles
Muscles worked: shoulders, lats, biceps, triceps, abs

Use the same setup as the alternating wave. Rise onto your toes as you simultaneously start to make a big counter-clockwise circle with your left arm and a clockwise circle with your right arm. Lower your heels as the ropes come toward one another. Continue making circles as quickly as you can.

05. Single-Arm Plank Slam
Muscles worked: shoulders, lats, biceps, triceps, abs

Facing the anchor point, do a plank with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Grab one rope end with the same-side hand and do single-arm slams as quickly as you can. When you’ve completed your set, switch arms and repeat.

06. Russian Twist
Muscles worked: Shoulders, biceps, triceps, abs, obliques

Facing the anchor point, sit with your legs together and bent and your heels on the floor. Hold both rope ends together with an underhand grip and bring your hands to one side of your body. Whip the rope up and over to the other side (it should make a big arc), rotating your upper body to face the direction of the rope ends. Immediately switch sides and repeat. Continue alternating sides as quickly as you can.

Train With Us

Tap into the ultimate training resource with the Nike Training Club App. From expertly designed workouts to holistic tips on nutrition, mindset, recovery, and sleep, NTC has everything you need to perform your best.

6 Fast-Result Battle Rope Workouts

Join Nike Training Club

Access our world-class experts and trainers to help you stay active and healthy.

6 Fast-Result Battle Rope Workouts

Join Nike Training Club

Access our world-class experts and trainers to help you stay active and healthy.

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