Why they are here to stay and why you should consider trying them out…

Vigorously undulating a rope with the arms has become a popular cardiovascular training choice in the fitness community for professional athletes down to those of us just training for life. Mixed Martial Arts athletes, Crossfit and many other popular exercise methods are very pleased with the results and include them in their regular training programs.

Ropes come in a variety of weights (the heavier, the more challenging) and lengths, and of course price ranges.

I was first introduced to it at my friend Michele Carlborg’s park/gym workout in California (overlooking the Pacific.) I was hesitant and thought it was a total fad in fitness. She hooked 16 ropes onto a chain-linked fence and 16 women alternated ropes with jump rope. I felt like I could not move my arms the next day.

I had no idea what I was in for. I am open for pretty much anything athletic. This one was not only weird, but also extremely difficult for me. So of course, FOR had to invest in a pair of ropes from a local ship supply company in California.  And voila! We are about to launch “ropes” classes we love them so much!

Our criteria for investing in new equipment and programs at FOR is simple: will it make you move better outside the gym as well as inside, can clients of all fitness levels use them AND is it fun? All sustainable fitness programs, yes all, are enjoyable at some point or another. A pool of sweat, while unnecessary for an effective workout, can be found after a very short round of ropes. It’s different. Your body isn’t used to using your arms like that and we believe our bodies often get stuck in the same movement pattern which leads to injury, boredom and skipped workouts.

Ropes may seem like only an upper body (specifically arm) workout. Oh, do not fool yourself. They are a whole body movement.

Like any fitness program and movement, ropes can be programmed for any fitness level and age. The simplest way to work with ropes is to hold the end of the rope in each hand and produce an undulating movement. There are extremely challenging methods as well including sideways, one arm, kneeling, and jumping. The possibilities are endless.

Are they effective?

April of 2015, a study was conducted and published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. The purpose was to quantify the cardiovascular and metabolic cost from a 10-minute bout of rope training.

Eleven participants volunteered for a ten-minute battling rope workout. Each person performed the exercise for fifteen seconds, then rested for 45 seconds, and repeated the sequence for a total of ten rounds. Researchers took all kinds of metabolic measurements before and after the exercise in order to determine its effect. (attribution: Here).

Results were significant. Among many other metrics, peak heart rates reached almost 180 beats per minute and peak blood lactate reached almost 12mmol per liter. That’s similar to other high intensity exercises like sprinting or biking. These parameters would classify battle ropes as a “vigorous intensity” exercise by the American College of Sports Medicine standards.

At FOR, we use them daily during almost all phases of the workout but mainly in the conditioning portion. Holding your body in a quarter squat position, squeezing the glutes, pulling your belly button to your spine and using the ropes is a total body workout.

Here’s the beginner workout:

Ropes 15 seconds

15 seconds rest

Ropes 15 seconds

15 seconds rest

Repeat until you reach 5 minutes

If you want more of a challenge, add a Burpee round or plank sandwiched between the ropes and the rest. Again, 5 minutes.

Come back for Ropes 201 in a few weeks, including 4-5 exercises combined with Ropes or just come on by to try them even sooner! Email us at contact@fitnessontherun.net to get started.

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