Battle Ropes are in most gyms nowadays, and it seems like everyone is creating cool wave patterns on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, but are they getting the most out of these incredible tools? How do you add ropes into your training program correctly?
First, let’s start with what you don’t do…You don’t watch a YouTube video of ropes exercises, and then haphazardly do it, and call it training. Make sure you get proper form down and train effectively.
You don’t add it to what you are already doing and call it training. You don’t tell everyone it is awesome, but only for upper body aerobic and endurance training. Ropes can be used for much more than that.
If you are here on the Onnit site, my guess is that you are into some level of human optimization for yourself and possibly for others (clients, family, friends, coworkers, etc). As a person who respects and upholds human optimization as an important aspect of your life (life is either optimized or it is not, right?) you MUST respect training.
Training is the key to total human optimization, and without it, we can only hope to be better in any area of our life. So let’s get back to training for optimal physical ability and how to put ropes in this training for the best return on your time spent.
3 Keys to Understanding Battle Ropes
First, we must understand that the ropes—just like a mace, heavy club, barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, etc—is a tool. If we use this tool well, we can see improvement in all areas of our physical output and durability.
Second, we must understand that ropes put demand or force through our bodies that we will adapt to over time and with proper increases in force and proper recovery, we will get more powerful, stronger, more endurance, and more durable.
Third, we must understand our own personal goals, and the way to train to reach these goals. For instance, if I am trying to be a more explosive jumper, I must have the power and durability to jump and land well.
I must also train an explosive jump correctly: Enough active jumping at peak performance to create a need for adaptation Not over-doing the jumps, which would increase the chance for an injury or even worse, reduce the chance for adaptation to occur.
Effectively Add Ropes Into Your Training
If your training program is complete (meaning a perfect mix of stimulation and recovery), then adding ropes training will mean removing one of your exercises or movements to keep that perfect mix of stimulation and recovery intact.
If your training is lacking a power, strength, endurance, or durability component, then you can use ropes to fill the gap. (How do you know if you are missing one of these? Easy – you are not improving in one of these aspects.)
For instance, when I was training for the IUKL Kettlebell World Championships in Dublin, Ireland, I needed to add an aerobic/endurance component to my kettlebell training because I wasn’t recovering well enough from running.
My feet were taking a toll (too much inflammation in the soft tissues of my feet, and a reduction in my foot and ankle performance).
I added a progressing amount of different double battle rope wave training to the time I was normally running. I incorporated a lot of legs, core, and arms in my waves in varying planes of motion with varying grips, and I progressed up to 40 minutes of ropes training, which drastically improved my longer sets with the kettlebell, hence improvement in my aerobic capacity, lactic threshold, and mental toughness.
I have also helped collegiate and high school wrestlers become much more explosive in their wrestling matches by having them perform five to ten second explosive waves with a single rope and double rope in varying planes of motion, varying stances, and different hand grips on the rope.
Newport Harbor high school wrestling recently had their most successful season in the last six years when training with this rope addition.
How to Train with Battle Ropes
If you are wondering what movements you should train and how you should train them with the ropes, you can watch some of the Onnit battle ropes exercises here: https://www.instagram.com/battleropeexercises/.
Here is a more complete solution. Become a creator of your own movements and rope training after you have earned your Onnit Academy Battle Ropes Specialist Certification.
For power and explosive applications of the ropes in your training, think 1-10 seconds of maximal effort (90%-100%) in movement variations that mimic or reproduce the movements you are training to master in your sport, activities, or your life.
1:5 is an approximate model of active to rest ratio that is enough for the next repetition, round, or set. After training this for 5 to 20 minutes, your systems may need a few days before it has created the adaptations necessary to train like this again.
For strength, lactic, and strength endurance applications of the ropes in your training, think 10 to 120 seconds of sub-maximal effort in movement variations that mimic or reproduce the movements you are training to master in your sport, activities or life.
1:5 through 2 is an approximate model of active to rest ratio that is enough for the next repetition, round, or set. After training this for 10 to 30 minutes, your systems may need a few days before it has created the adaptations necessary to train this again.
For endurance, aerobic, and durability applications of the ropes in your training, think over 120 seconds of sub-maximal effort in movement variations that mimic or reproduce the movements you are training to master in your sport, activities or life.
60 through 2:1 is an approximate model of active to rest that is enough for the next repetition, round, or set. After training this for 10 to 60 minutes, your systems may need a few days before it has created the adaptations necessary to train this again.
Ropes Can Be Used to Achieve Almost Any Fitness Goal
My mentor and coach for ropes training is John Brookfield, and he says that ropes can be a complete tool for fitness. I have used them exclusively for a month without seeing any loss in my previous gains with traditional weight training.
However, it is all in the proper application of the tool. Onnit’s Foundation and Durability certification is an awesome starting point, and if you want to further your knowledge with ropes training, sign up for the upcoming Battle Ropes Specialist Certification in April.
So, if you are looking for a way to put ropes training to use, do so with intelligence, knowing that the ropes can be a substitute or the perfect addition that you’re looking for to increase your power, strength, endurance, and durability!
Make your next training session your best training session!