Battle Bodyfat with Battle Ropes

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Battle Bodyfat with Battle Ropes


|By Nadine Shaban|

Today, I’d like to expand on a previous article that I wrote about High Intensity Interval Training.  I think every fat loss article we read supports the value of interval training for fat loss. In fact, the term H.I.I.T. is thrown around so much that many people just assume they know what it is.  However, most of the articles I see tell you the exercises, but none of them explain why it is beneficial and/or what type of adaptations one can get aside from fat loss.  It is important to note that there is also L.I.I.T. (Low Intensity Interval Training).  I’m sure you can figure out what the differences are between the two.


Interval Training – Are You Doing It?

Before beginning any type of exercise regimen, it is important for YOU to know the benefits and value of such a program.  Why are you doing what you are being told, or why is the program in a certain magazine beneficial to you.  The answer should go beyond weight loss, increased muscle mass and feeling better.

In my previous article, all about high intensity interval training I went through the physiological mechanisms of why HIIT is beneficial for mostly everybody! You can read it HERE.

To recap:

  • Interval training is a time-efficient form of exercise that generates similar benefits to long duration, steady state exercise.
  • In the simplest sense, interval training is nothing more than a method of exercise that uses alternating periods of work and rest.
  • The complicated part of interval training may be figuring out how to use it.  How much work do I do? How hard should I do it? How long should I rest before I do it again?

A few physiological benefits:

  • Increased Metabolic Enzymes
  • Increased Resting Muscle Glycogen
  • Increased GLUT 4 Content
  • High intensity resistance training will elicit a greater post-exercise oxygen response than lower intensity resistance training.
  • Increased activity of the heart and respiratory muscles
  • Elevated levels of hormones and enzymes that increase metabolic activity
  • Greater reduction in subcutaneous fat (fat under the skin)
  • Increased EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) raised metabolism for 3 hours after the session.

Sounds great doesn’t it?  It is time efficient and has similar benefits to steady state cardio.  Well guess what? Even H.I.I.T. can get boring eventually.  So some time ago, I ventured out into the world looking for some other form of cardio rather than the treadmill, bike, StairMaster or elliptical.  I stumbled across something that I had seen only in passing, Battle Ropes.


A Note on Battle Ropes:

As with any kind of physical activity, there are always limitations.  Typically, anyone with shoulder, wrist, upper back or any other upper body injury that could limit the movement of your arms should stay away from these for the time being.  That being said, I was healthy and ready to go.

Typically, the people that use Battle Ropes are high-performance athletes like hockey players or MMA fighters.  Recently, along with tools like the TRX or sandbags, they have found their way into many commercial gyms.  Many athletes use Battle Ropes to provide specific conditioning for the demands of their sports.

In my research for this article, I hooked up with a very well known MMA fighter in Canada.  Basically, he told me that as a fighter, you need to spend most of your time training for your actual event. That means time on the mat, bag work, grappling, sparring, and technical skill practice. This will definitely provide specific conditioning, but is it enough?

Yes, it can be enough.  However, if that is all you do, you are at a greater risk of injury. For example, let’s say you are sparring and suddenly you and your opponent are both working to the max. It may be great for technical mastery and conditioning but it can also get you injured. If that happens, your career can get put on hold indefinitely.  This also translates over to bodybuilding or just the fitness enthusiast.  If you are always doing the step mill or treadmill, you’re pounding your joints.  Now, if you throw Battle Ropes into your cardio arsenal, you can mix it up, get an effective workout and give your joints a rest, thereby preventing injury.

The Meat & Potatoes

This cost-efficient form of training will develop both strength and endurance.  They may look as intimidating as the incredible hulk, but let me assure you they will do wonders to your cardiovascular system.


  1. You can do them anywhere: all you need is a place to rope them around and you are good to go. As long as you have enough space, you can do them at home, at the gym, or even outside.
  2. After a few weeks of playing around with the ropes you will get the hang of it. Therefore, they are easy to learn.  The only drawback that may take time is learning how to control your body. Once you get a good rhythm going you are all set.
  3. They are low impact. This is good as it will reduce the risk of injury. This is also important because in athletics your joints are always being impacted; whether it be load, or someone hitting you.  Therefore, battle Ropes give your body a little rest from the high impact activity it is regularly exposed to.
  4. Ropes are related to many sports like MMA, hockey, football etc. – you are standing upright, and moving your arms – you are stimulating movements that you would do when engaging in any number of sports.  Therefore, ropes are functional!
  5. They’re fun!


Battle Rope Workouts:

With Battle Ropes, you want to have short and intense workouts.  These aren’t tools to use for an hour or anything like that.  Ideally, you want to do intervals of about 20-30 seconds of work and 10-15 seconds of rest for 8-10 sets.  You can start out doing 15 seconds of work and 45 seconds of rest and work up to that ideal.  However, there is no ONE WAY of doing something, so experiment with these for yourself.  Here is a list of exercises you can do with Battle Ropes.


  • Undulating Wave (alternating)
  • Undulating Wave (both arms simultaneously)
  • Twisting Wave
  • Uppercuts
  • Jump Slams

Here’s a demonstration of the Undulating Wave exercise performed by UFC fighter Sam Stout. Footage courtesy of Push Creative:

There a many ways of training with these.  You can use them as part of an interval workout or you can incorporate them into a circuit of multiple exercises, resting only at the end of the circuit. Here are a few sample workouts that integrate Battle Ropes:

Workout #1:

  • Undulating Wave (alternating arms)
  • 20 Air Squats
  • 20 Lunges
  • Undulating Wave (both arms)
  • 10 Burpees
  • Uppercuts
  • Rest: 90-120 seconds and repeat for a total of 5 circuits

Workout #2:

  • Twisting Wave
  • 20 Jump Squats
  • Jump Slam (Medium)
  • 20 Push-ups
  • 30 Seconds Speed Step-Up
  • 10 Burpees
  • Jump Slams (Hard)
  • Rest: 90-120 seconds and repeat for a total of 5 circuits

Workout #3

  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Undulating Waves (Single Arm)
  • 20 Alternating Jump Lunge
  • 20 Jump Squats
  • Kettlebell Clean and Press
  • Uppercuts
  • Jump Slam (Hard)
  • Rest: 90-120 seconds and repeat for a total of 5 circuits


By |January 30th, 2013|Archives, Articles, Features|

About the Author:
Strong Athlete was founded in 2011 by Strength & Conditioning Experts PK Mills and Gaétan Boutin. With over 40+ years of combined experience in sports nutrition, athletics, and fitness, the Strong Athlete team is dedicated to helping athletes achieve their maximum potential through a holistic approach to training, nutrition, and mindset.


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