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Brian Cushing Performs the Battle Ropes Outside Circle Waves Exercise as taught by trainer Joe Defranco

Brian Cushing’s Best Battle Rope Shoulder Exercise You’re Not Doing

Written by
August 5, 2014
Updated April 12, 2018

Battle Ropes were the best kept secret in athletes’ training arsenal for years. Today, it is one of the most popular training tools found in gyms across the country. Elite athletes and average gym-goers of all ages turn to the battle ropes for a highly effective, low impact conditioning tool. When used correctly, it is a unique training implement which blends aspects of aerobic conditioning and muscular endurance. Normally thought of as an upper body tool, it is an extremely diverse lower and total body training tool. 

Battle Ropes and Athletes Shoulder Health

Battle ropes are a great conditioning tool for football players, other combine athletes,  and any other sport where upper body endurance is a high priority. Keeping healthy shoulders is an absolute must for all athletes, football and baseball players especially. Battle Ropes are an obvious choice to prepare for the strength and conditioning demands that comes with being a NFL All-Pro linebacker.

The battle ropes are a great tool for loosening up the pecs, shoulders, traps, and upper back. Depending on your rep and set scheme you can use the battle ropes for conditioning, mobility or even strength work. Although, there are hundreds of combinations one can perform with the battle ropes, the battle ropes movement we are spotlighting today is the outside circle wave exercise.

The Best Battle Ropes Shoulder Exercise: Outside Circle Waves

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Battle Rope Outside Circle Wave Step 1:

Begin in a half squat position, make sure you are not to far on the balls of your feet, as this will lead to forward tracking of the knee over the toe. While this error in form is not harmful at the moment, over time it can create knee problems. Use an overhand grip on the rope with both hands.

Battle Rope Outside Circle Wave Step 2:

Bring your right arm up, over your head and create a circle in a clockwise motion. Perform the same motion in a counter-clockwise motion for your left arm. This portion of the movement is great for breaking up lactic build up in the shoulders. Ideal as part of a warm-up, or as part of a recovery workout in between high effort days.

Battle Rope Outside Circle Wave Step 3:

Repeat steps one and two for the prescribed number of reps or seconds, based on your workout. As said before, you can use a lighter rope with less thickness, performing slow controlled reps as part of a warm-up or recovery effort. Using a heavier rope with a greater thickness is ideal for upper body strength endurance or conditioning work. Program the heavy rope work  during your high effort workout or place afterwards as a finisher.

More Information on Battle Ropes Training

For more information regarding battle ropes check out more articles at the Onnit Academy. If you are a complete beginner to battle ropes you will want to read through Corey Beasley’s article, Beginners Guide to Battle Ropes. It is a very comprehensive guide to battle ropes for beginners and advanced athletes alike.

Brian Cushing is an inside linebacker for the Houston Texans of the National Football League. He played college football for the University of Southern California and was selected in the first round (15th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft. He was the 2010 Defensive Rookie of the Year, is a two time AP All-Pro, and is a current team captain.
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