Battle Rope or Rope Training is a training method that offers a variety of benefits to work and test our physical capabilities.
What is it
Battle Rope or Rope Training is a popular training tool (Mahadevan, 2018; Calatayud et al., 2015), studied for more than 30 years (Calatayud et al., 2015), and created and developed by John Brookfield, a holder of multiple world records and author of the popular book Mastery of Hand Strength (Antony, Maheswri & Palanisamy, 2015).
This type of work has become important as an element of training aimed at improving physical condition in the field of health, performance and sports training (Calatayud et al., 2015; Chen et al., 2018a).
Characteristics of Battle Rope
Specific variations for conditioning through training can provide a variety of benefits to athletes, including:
- Improving specific movements in sport.
- Increasing grip strength.
- Addressing unilateral deficits (Langford et al., 2019).
Specifically, this method of training is characterised by (Calatayud et al., 2015; Chen et al., 2018a; Antony, Maheswri & Palanisamy, 2015; Mahadevan, 2018):
- Generation of high intensity intervals.
- Low impact.
- Involvement of the upper body, core and lower body kinetic chain.
- Production of maximum execution speeds.
- Development of different manifestations of strength and resistance.
- Adaptability of the movements and techniques.
On the other hand, Battle Rope is determined by ropes of different shapes, sizes and weights, which influence the magnitude of training.
In the absence of video evidence that analyses the technical gestures executed during the different exercises that use Battle Rope, it could be said that the technical description depends on the type of exercise.
However, we can cite a series of common and key points (Langford et al., 2019):
General starting position
- The feet should be level with the shoulders.
- Knees should be in a semiflexion position.
- The torso will be rigid and upright.
- The spine will maintain its normal physiological curves.
- The subject will hold the end of the rope with one or both hands.
- The rope must be anchored to a secure and immovable object.
- The anchor will be located around the centre of the rope, allowing uniform lengths on both sides with minimal clearance.
The exercise technique will vary depending on the type of exercise
Rope Slams: simultaneous, bilateral, upward-downward movement of the upper and/or lower body.
Alternating Waves: upward-downward, alternative, and bilateral movement of the upper and/or lower body.
Alternating Scissors: medial-lateral, simultaneous and bilateral movement of the upper body.
Alternating Circles: circular, alternative, bilateral or unilateral movement of the upper body.
Positions or movements to avoid
- Excessive Valgus or Varus movement.
- Internal rotations of the hip.
- Hyperflexion or Hyperextension of the ankle.
- Passive and unstable pelvis and scapular waist.
- Hyperflexion or Hyperextension of the neck.
- Inadequate rope grips.
Is Battle Rope useful?
This type of training has different functionalities as an instrument of sports training, applicable in the field of health and sports performance, with a high adaptability to all types of populations:
Increased grip strength and vital capacity through a high-intensity protocol in school athletes (Antony, Maheswri & Palanisamy, 2015).
Significant improvements in biochemical variables (triglycerides and hemoglobin) and physiological variables (respiratory rate and vital capacity) using a high intensity protocol in male college athletes (Antony and Palanisamy, 2016).
Slam Waves Battle Rope is an effective exercise for increasing muscle resistance in the arms and the Up Down Waves Battle Rope is effective to improve the muscular strength of the arms, in a population of extracurricular SMAN 3 Kediri boxing students. (Briyan et al., 2020).
The Unilateral Alternating Waves Battle Rope presents a high activation demand (51-73% MVIC) for the external oblique, while the Bilateral Waves Battle Rope focuses more on the lumbar musculature (51-73% MVIC).
Increased skeletal muscle activity of the lower leg (gastrocnemius), upper leg (large oblique medial and lateral vast), torso (rectus abdominis and multifidus), and arms (biceps brachii and triceps brachii).
Multiple dimensions of physical condition
Aerobic capacity, anaerobic power of the upper body, upper and lower limb power, core strength and shooting accuracy, in well-trained basketball players (Chen et al., 2018a).
Suitable pre-training tool with the aim of developing or strengthening technical skills under conditions of fatigue in well-trained basketball players (Chen et al., 2018b):
- Avoid the Battle Rope before demanding or tactical sessions.
- A 30 minute Battle Rope session reduces shooting accuracy and chest pass speed, increasing blood lactate levels, RPE and perceived muscle pain.
Battle Rope Organizational Guidelines
Referring to the guidelines that guide coaches on the direction and management that this sports training process should follow, and with the evidence discussed above, 8 key organizational principles will be required for the correct management of the methodology and planning of the training through the use of the Battle Rope.
Principle that initiates and guarantees adaptation
The correct management of the magnitude of training will provide an effective, efficient and safe alternative for untrained individuals with prior conditions.
Suitable alternative for increasing various load parameters through different training objectives: strength, resistance and speed.
Principle of Specificity and the Transfer of training
High similarity and transferability with various sports movements.
- Unilateral Alternating Waves Battle Rope and combat sports.
- Slam Waves Battle Rope and Up Down Waves Battle Rope in Football.
- Bilateral Waves Battle Rope and Handball.
- Battle Rope with WBV and Windsurfing.
Principle of multilateralism
Possibility of developing training under alternative unilateral or bilateral conditions.
Principle of individualization
High capacity for adaptation to the individual and their physical, physiological, psychological and social characteristics.
Principle of progressive overload
Simple and practical element for the systematic progression of load or complexity over one or multiple sessions, microcycles and mesocycles.
Principle of Effective Stimulus for Training
Evidence has demonstrated the effectiveness of Battle Rope in:
- Grip strength.
- Resistance and muscle strength of the arms.
- Biochemical variables.
- Vital capacity.
- Breathing frequency.
- Aerobic capacity.
- Anaerobic power of upper and lower body.
- VO2 maximum.
- Shooting accuracy.
Principle of variety
There are different exercises proposed that trainers or users can select and alternate.
- Bilateral and Unilateral Waves.
- Alternating Scissors.
- Alternating Circles.
- Bilateral and Unilateral Waves Integrated with Plyometrics.
- Weighted Waves, Scissors and Circles.
Battle Rope Exercises
- Antony, B., Maheswri, M. U., & Palanisamy, A. (2015). Impact of battle rope and Bulgarian bag high intensity interval training protocol on selected strength and physiological variables among school level athletes. International Journal of Applied Research, 1(8), 403-406.
- Antony, B., & Palanisamy, A. (2016). Impact of battle rope high intensity training on selected biochemical and physiological variables among athletes. International Journal of Advanced Scientific Research, 1(5), 27-30.
- Bryan, W. D., Wijono, W., & Widodo, A. (2020). Effect of Slam Waves Battle rope Exercise and Up down Waves Battle rope Exercise to Arm Strength And Arm Endurance (Study of boxing extracurricular at senior high school 3 Kediri). Budapest International Research and Critics in Linguistics and Education (BirLE) Journal, 3(2), 828-836.
- Calatayud, J., Martin, F., Colado, J. C., Benítez, J. C., Jakobsen, M. D., & Andersen, L. L. (2015). Muscle activity during unilateral vs. bilateral battle rope exercises. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 29(10), 2854-2859.
- Chen, W. H., Wu, H. J., Lo, S. L., Chen, H., Yang, W. W., Huang, C. F., & Liu, C. (2018a). Eight-week battle rope training improves multiple physical fitness dimensions and shooting accuracy in collegiate basketball players. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 32(10), 2715-2724.
- Chen, W. H., Yang, W. W., Lee, Y. H., Wu, H. J., Huang, C. F., & Liu, C. (2018b). Acute effects of battle rope exercise on performance, blood lactate levels, perceived exertion, and muscle soreness in collegiate basketball players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research/National Strength & Conditioning Association, 1-10.
- Iwen, K. D. (2019). Relative exercise intensity and energy expenditure of battle rope exercise (Doctoral dissertation).
- Iwen, K., Porcari, J. P., Bramwell, S., Doberstein, S., Arney, B., & Carl, F. (2020). The Relative Intensity and Energy Expenditure of Battle Rope Exercise. Age (years), 19(1.86), 18-23.
- Langford, E. L., Wilhoite, S., Collum, C., Weekley, H., Cook, J., Adams, K., & Snarr, R. L. (2019). Battle Rope Conditioning. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 41(6), 115-121.
- Maniazhagu, D., Malar, S., & Manogari, M. (2019). Effects of Circuit Training and Battle Rope Training on Speed of School Girls. Asian Journal of Applied Science and Technology.
- Marín, P. J., García-Gutiérrez, M. T., Da Silva-Grigoletto, M. E., & Hazell, T. J. (2015). The addition of synchronous whole-body vibration to battling rope exercise increases skeletal muscle activity. Journal of Musculoskeletal & Neuronal Interactions, 15(3), 240.
- Panchabhai, C. S., & Kulkarni, M. S. (2019). Effects of Battle Rope Training in Individuals with Sedentary Lifestyle. International Journal of Innovative Science and Research Technology.
- Mahadevan, T. P. D. V. (2018). Effect of 6 weeks battle rope training on selected psychological variables among inter collegiate volleyball players. International Journal of Physiology, Nutrition and Physical Education, 3(1).
- Salzgeber, A., Porcari, J. P., Howard, C., Arney, B. E., Kovacs, A., Gillette, C., & Foster, C. (2019). Muscle Activation during Several Battle Rope Exercises. International Journal of Research in Exercise Physiology.
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