There are many different kinds of battle rope movements, but the two main ones you must master first are the wave and slam.
  • The wave is an undulating motion sending waves down the length of the rope.
  • The slam requires that you lift the rope high and slam them into the ground.
Both of these movements can be done with your arms working in an up and down opposite to each other fashion (alternating) or simultaneous motion (double). The higher you bring the ropes up for both, the different effect it will produce. Smaller, short waves will be great for endurance, whereas when you start making larger waves (or "tsunamis" one could say), you are working power, strength and endurance. With slams, the same is true. The harder and higher the slam, the more strength and power comes into play. But generally speaking, waves are great for endurance, whereas slams are for power and strength.
From there, you have many other types of battle rope exercises, such as crossovers, circles, whips, pulls, and so on, and variations that involve bodyweight movements (i.e. squat slams, lunge jump waves, side to side wave shuffles, etc.).
General Proper Form for Battle Ropes:
  • Get into a basic athletic stance (shoulder-width, knees slightly bent, and slightly lean forward with good back posture, head straight forward). If the ropes start to pull your forward, rather than leaning back, sit a little lower). That’s the beauty of the athletic stance.
  • Two basic grips: hammer grip (knuckles facing forward) and forehand grip (knuckles facing down).
  • For the wave, the range of motion can be from your thigh to your forehead or anywhere in-between.
  • For slams, your arms will be going up over your head and down to your knees.
1-to-1 Ratio Workout
Goal: Strength & Endurance
For beginners, a 1-to-1 ratio is going to be best. This means you will be resting for the same amount of time you are working. With this kind of workout, you can structure it however you like, just keep a 1-to-1 ratio.
You could do 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest; 15 seconds work, 15 seconds rest; 45 seconds work, 45 seconds rest; and so on…
The total workout time can range anywhere from 5-20 minutes with a 1:1 ratio workout.
The most common for this workout is 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off for 10 minutes…or three rounds of 5 minutes (5 sets) with a 1-2 minute rest in-between rounds (total 15 minutes).
10 Minute Workout
30 seconds on/30 seconds off for a total of 10 sets.
Do any battle rope exercise you’d like. You could do 10 sets of waves, 5 sets of waves and 5 sets of slams, or even 10 different battle rope exercises (so, a new exercise each set).
This 1-to-1 ratio workout is very versatile, which means you can keep things fresh. The only thing you need to do is keep a 1-to-1 ratio.
2-to-1 Ratio Workout
Goal: HIIT - Fat Burning, Muscle Building, Conditioning
The 2-to-1 work-rest ratio is great for HIIT. It can be 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off or 30 seconds on, 15 seconds off. This kind of battle rope workout will scorch fat.
9-Minute Workout (30 second work - 15 seconds rest)
For this workout, you are doing 4 exercises for 30 seconds work, 15 seconds rest x 3 rounds.
You can choose any 4 battle rope exercises you like. For beginners, we recommend:
Double Waves (Forearm Grip)
Power Slams (Forearm Grip)
Alternating Waves (Hammer Grip)
Power Slams (Hammer Grip)
Other good exercises for beginners are crossovers and sidewinders.
4-Minute Workout (20 seconds work - 10 seconds rest = Tabata style)
Alt Waves
Double Waves
Arm Circles
Snake Rotations
- Repeat all 4 exercises 1 more time (8 total sets)
You can do battle rope workouts as a finisher after your regular workout. This is especially advantageous for those who are lacking power, endurance, and overall high intensity training in their current regimen.
You could also do a stand alone battle rope workout a few times a week if you don’t want to do finishers. These could be your cardio/endurance/explosive training days (general conditioning).
There are no rules for how often you should do a battle rope workout. It depends on your fitness goal. If you want to get shredded and improve your athletic ability, do a few intense battle rope workouts a week. You could even do a 10 minute battle rope workout every day. Just be sure to not overtrain.
Battle rope workouts are intense, so they are most effective in the 5-20 minute range. If you are doing a battle rope workout after your regular workout, go for 5-10 minutes. If you are doing it as a stand alone workout for the day, aim for 15-20 minutes. In both cases, give it your all. This is high intensity training!
This depends on how much room you have to work with and your fitness goals. If you are going to be training in your backyard, you should be able to buy any size you’d like, so choose one that works with your fitness goal. If you are limited to your garage, for example, you need to think about the space, and thus, the length of the battle rope.
As for fitness goals and fitness levels, the longer the rope, the better no matter what your goal is. The thickness of the rope should be more of a concern when buying (in terms of difficulty), as you should buy the longest battle rope possible for your space. Longer ropes make for a more fluid motion.

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