Everything You Should Know About Battle Rope Workout

Saravanan "Sharu" Hariram

May 12, 2022

With the increase in sedentary lifestyles, the chances of fostering various lifestyle health conditions are significantly increasing. Rope training has gained popularity with fitness enthusiasts,  trainers and professional athletes. People have been using them for intense  calorie-burning workouts. Exercises, such as battle rope workout, require less time and have increased the sedentary population’s interest as it targets multiple muscles simultaneously. A battle rope workout is fun, effective, and can help you burn a lot of calories.

Battle Rope Workout: An Introduction

A battle rope workout is low-impact but involves high-intensity training using ropes. It allows you to strengthen muscles, improve cardiovascular endurance and burn a lot of calories, all at the same time. John Brookfield designed battle rope training in 2006 in his backyard. The battle rope training regimen is for fitness goals such as increasing strength, power, and muscular endurance.. 

According to ACE studies, battle rope workouts caused most muscles to contract at or above the 40% MVIC threshold (maximum voluntary isometric contraction). The muscles must be contracting above 40% MVIC to gain strength. As a result, the study concludes that battle ropes are ideal for cardiorespiratory or muscle strengthening. It is performed alternatively with high-intensity exercise followed by a low-intensity or complete rest. 

The battle rope is simple but helpful fitness equipment. It is easy to maintain, use, and keep. Besides that, they don’t need a ton of space and can be rolled up just like a jump rope for easy storage. A 10-minute battle rope workout can help you burn up to  100 calories, based on your weight.  

Types of Material Used for Battle Rope

Material is your most important consideration. You have essentially three material options when buying a battle rope:

  • Good Poly Dacron
  • Cheap Poly Dacron
  • Manila

Poly Dacron 

Poly Dacron is a synthetic rope made from polypropylene and Dacron fibres. Dacron provides strength in the outer braid, while propylene provides a lightweight core. Propylene used for the body reduces the rope’s weight, makes it lighter, and reduces the cost of the rope. The main benefit of poly dacron is that it doesn’t shed. Price is the easiest way to tell between cheap and good poly dacron. 


Manila is an organic fibre made from hemp. These ropes tend to shed tiny fibres making them not suitable for indoors. Also, they get misty when they get wet. Manila has a higher cost than Poly Dacron rope. Manila ropes are also 10% to 25% more expensive than comparable poly dacron  ropes.

Size and Length of Battle Ropes

There are three standard lengths of battle rope, i.e., 30-feet, 40-feet, and 50-feet, with 1.5-2-inch thickness. The length of the battle rope depends on the available space. The most famous battle rope lengths are 50 feet, 40′ and 30′, respectively.  The 2 inch  ropes are 35% larger than the 1.5 inch ropes and require a firmer grip to maintain and  control the battle rope.

The intensity of battle rope workouts varies by changing rope length, thickness, wave velocity, amplitude, anchor position, and muscle mass used. It is best to start with a lighter and shorter rope which is usually 3 metres long and 3.8 cm thick. As one gains strength, longer  6-9 metres  length and 5cm thickness ropes are ideal. To target different muscle groups, performing a variety of  battle rope exercises is essential.

Battle Rope Workout Exercises

Some of the battle rope workouts one can follow are as follows:

Bilateral Waves

  • Start with  feet kept  hip-width apart holding the rope ends in each hand. Do not hold the ropes tightly.
  • Bend the knees slightly, bring the shoulder back, and engage the core.
  • Swing both arms up and down simultaneously,  just below shoulder height.
  • Continue this movement for 10- 30 seconds. Then take a break for 10 – 30 seconds,  Repeat 3-4 times, and move on to the next exercise.

Unilateral Waves

  • Start with  feet kept  hip-width apart holding the rope ends in each hand
  • Bend the knees slightly, bring the shoulder back, and engage the core.
  • Swing the  arms up and down in an alternating pattern. The ropes should be moving opposite to one another.
  • Continue this movement for 10-30 seconds, then take a break for 10-30 seconds.. Repeat 3-4 times and move on to the next exercise.

Rope Slams

  • Start with  feet kept  hip-width apart holding the rope ends in each hand
  • Bend the knees slightly, bring the shoulder back, and engage the core.
  • Push the balls of your feet into the floor and extend the knees as you raise  the ropes up with your hands.  
  • Slam the rope as hard as possible while lowering yourself into a squat
  • Return to start position and repeat the slamming movement  for 10-30 seconds. Take a rest for 10-30 seconds and repeat the exercise 3-4 times and move on to the next one.

Alternating Wide Circles

  • Start with  feet kept  hip-width apart holding the rope ends in each hand
  • Bend the knees slightly, bring the shoulder back, and engage the core.
  • Swing one rope outside in a circular motion with your right hand and repeat the same movement with your left hand.
  • Continue  alternating the circular movement non stop  for 10-30 seconds.
  • Take a 10-30-second break, repeat the exercise 3-4 times, and move to the next one.
  • For more muscle emphasis, reverse the circle movements with each hand.

Jumping Slams

  • Jumping slams might not suit beginners as they are complex and have a higher impact. So do this exercise once you practice and master all the above mentioned exercises properly.
  • Start with  feet kept  hip-width apart holding the rope ends in each hand
  • Lower yourself into a squat position, engage your core, push into the balls of your feet to extend the knees, and  jump up in the air while raising  the rope as high as possible.
  • Land gently on the balls of your feet, squat down while slamming the ropes as hard as possible on the floor.  
  • Continue this movement for 10-30 seconds, and then take a rest for 10-30 seconds.
  • Repeat the exercise 3-4 times.

Benefits of Battle Rope Workout

Battle ropes training can help building muscular strength, enhancing athletic performance, and increasing cardiorespiratory fitness. It improves the stability of both the upper and lower body. It is also  an excellent alternative to cardio exercises. Some of the other  benefits are as follows:

Full Body Workout

Regular training with battle rope workouts can improve grip strength, stimulate the aerobic energy system, work on targeted muscle groups, and help lose fat. Ropes create a dual force dynamic effect; one uses the force of gravity and the force created by rope waves to amplify and improve physiological response. 

Fat Loss

High Intensity Interval training burns 25-30% more calories than other individual forms of exercises such as weight training, running, and biking. Battle rope HIIT is perfect for boosting your workout efforts as it increases the heart rate, breathing rate and energy expenditure.    Battle ropes can also be combined with other traditional body weight exercises such as squats, push ups, lunges, and triceps dips etc., for added fat loss  benefits.

Increase in Metabolism

As discussed, the battle rope is a part of the HIIT workout. Several studies have shown that HIIT increases the metabolic rate for hours after exercise. Even after completing your workout, your body burns out more calories than usual. It boosts your BMR(basal metabolic rate). BMR means how many calories your body burns if kept in complete resting mode. And a higher  metabolism means more calorie burning when you are even at rest. Higher metabolism can also shift the body’s energy derivation towards fat  than the carbs. 

Increased Oxygen Consumption

Battle rope training can increase the ability of the muscles to use oxygen.  This in turn increases the oxygen consumption in the body.  Following a 20 minutes of battle rope exercise 3-4  times per week for 4-5 weeks, can improve oxygen consumption by up to 9%.

Enhanced Athletic Performance

Battle ropes are known for their strength-building and cardio benefits. Battle rope exercises do not make muscles get too much load at once. Rather, it works on creating  continuous tension in the muscles. Research has shown that adding battle rope exercises into sports training improves athletic performance. For example, an eight-week study of basketball players has demonstrated significant improvements in speed, jump height, core endurance, and shooting accuracy. It also increased aerobic capacity and upper body strength.

Things to Remember About Battle Rope Exercises

  • Mastering the proper form is essential before increasing the speed and weight of the rope. The key to a successful battle rope workout will be how you move the ropes, not how fast you move them.
  • While targeting different muscle groups, try various movements of battle ropes.
  • Keep the shoulder blades down to strengthen the shoulder stabilisers. Elevated and hunch forward shoulders put excess strain on the neck, which results in pain and stiff muscles.
  • Don’t forget to breathe. Beginners are likely to forget to breathe while swinging ropes which can hinder their performance.
  • Only use a heavier rope if you’re comfortable with it. For example, beginners could start by choosing a lighter rope, while more experienced people could try out some heavier options.
  • Consulting a professional trainer is necessary before starting this workout to avoid injuries.


A battle rope workout is an excellent way to lose weight and gain strength. It helps in burning extra calories and enhances the metabolic rate. It decreases body fat, heart rate, and blood pressure and may help in lowering blood sugar and improving insulin sensitivity as well. The best part about this workout is that you can do it almost anywhere as it is  adaptable at home and gym. However, start slow and steady. You might jump into potential injuries without adequately warming up beforehand. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. How long should the battle ropes workout be?

A. Each exercise requires a maximum of 30 seconds with 30 seconds to one-minute rest before moving on to the next one.

Q. Do battle ropes burn belly fat?

A. Battle rope workouts help in burning overall body fat – including the belly fat, by increasing oxygen consumption, heart rate, breathing rate and metabolism. It also helps in strengthening the upper body and the core 

Q. How good is a battle rope workout?

A. Battle rope workout increases upper body strength and promotes fat loss while simultaneously increasing muscle endurance. 

Q. Will battle ropes build muscle?

A. Yes, a battle rope is a helpful exercise to gain a little bit of muscle mass, lose fat, tone existing muscles, and build muscle endurance. They provide optimum results when performed correctly.

Q. Can I do battle ropes every day?

A. It depends upon your fitness goal. Ten minutes of battle rope daily is good for building strength. Though there are no rules for how often one should follow a battle rope routine, doing high-intensity workouts can lead to injury. Hence, it is best to do them on alternate days.

Q. Can you use battle ropes at home?

A. Yes, using battle ropes at home is fine as you can do them anywhere, be it gym or home. They are also relatively easy to install and can coil up out of the way when not in use. However, you will need a fair amount of space to perform the exercise as the rope requires extension from the anchor when in use.

Q. Will battle ropes get you ripped?

A. Battle ropes are lower impact workouts. Hence, it will help build muscle endurance, power, and strength in the body. With an appropriate low calorie, high protein diet one can get ripped as well. 

Q. What muscles do battle ropes use?

A. Battle rope workouts mainly engage upper body muscles such as the shoulder, upper and lower back, arms, and core . When performed with jumps, squats, and lunges,it can become a proper whole body workout.

Q. Are battle ropes heavy?

A. It depends on the thickness and length of the rope. For example, a 1.5-inch 30-foot battle rope will weigh around 16-18 lbs (7-8 kgs), 1.5-inch 40-foot battle rope will weigh around 22-24 lbs, (10- 11 kgs) and a 1.5-inch 50-foot battle rope will weigh around 27-29 lbs. (12-13 Kgs)

About the Author

Saravanan “Sharu” Hariram is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer with a passion for bodybuilding. Combining his love for fitness with his career, Sharu did his certification in Sports Nutrition, and Rehabilitation and Healing Nutrition. Currently a Master Trainer with HealthifyMe, he specializes in Weight Management, Marathon Training, and Physical Rehabilitation. In his 20+ years of experience, Sharu has always maintained that one’s mind must have control over their body in order to lead a healthy life. At HealthifyMe, he continues to follow his passion while helping those around him realise their fitness goals.

Related Articles


Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your health is our priority. Talk to one of our experts and get the best plan for you today.
Chat With Us