Do you need more strength for your lifts? Are you looking for gains with old-fashioned weights and are now bored? Do you want more strength for sports, looks, and life? Use the dynamic ability of battle ropes training to build all of the strength you are looking for in both upper body and lower body.
Ropes are an incredible invention to bind, move, and control many of the things around us – including the human body. But most teachers and students limit the power of ropes training. By the end of the article, you will know the best way to use battle ropes to build strength throughout your entire body, using the versatility of velocity.
Using Battle Ropes to Build Strength
First, you must realize that the more force you apply to the ropes, the more force the ropes apply to your body. Just like most weight training – intensity builds density. The external load of the ropes is always preceded by your internal force applied.
The more force you apply, the more force is applied to you – making the ropes a safer and better way to build true strength progressively without plateaus.
It is a very reciprocal relationship, and this creates strength adaptation over time, with the traditional concepts of progressive overload. You can harness this strength producing adaptation by consistent application of force over time.
If you are looking for peak strength, use the highest intensity possible for 10-20 seconds of movement with double or triple the amount of rest (20-60 seconds).
If you are looking for maximum hypertrophy or muscle growth, use the highest intensity possible for 20-60 seconds of movement with double the rest (40-120 seconds).
Lastly, if you are looking for strength endurance, use the highest intensity possible for 60-120 seconds of movement with equal rest ratios (60-120 seconds).
Exercises to Increase Strength
Now that you are armed with good strength-building ratios for three different categories of strength, let’s review the best movements for total body strength (remember, each person is going to have varying degrees of output and adaptation protocols.
So start here and adjust as needed for optimum results):
I call this the Stagecoach (or Double Rope Simultaneous Waves), and it can be done with your feet firmly planted in the ground or you can explosively leave the ground, creating more force and impact for adaptation to occur.
There is a tremendous amount of force generated with each wave produced. Try to combine bigger waves with faster speed to produce an amplified amount of force throughout the entire body.
I call this Alternating Wave Squat. It takes the basic alternating wave and the bodyweight squat to a new level by combining them to challenge timing, balance and conditioning. This drill is best used for short bursts of high intensity activity followed by active recovery.
Try to combine bigger waves with faster speed to produce an amplified amount of force throughout the entire body.
Push and Pull Horizontal
I call this movement Flys, much like the pec deck flys at your local body builder gym. Except in this movement, you are generating force forward for your anterior chain and backward for your posterior chain. This makes it a push and pull exercise for your arms, chest, back and shoulders.
You are moving the ropes laterally in and out with the right and left arms, and the lactic pump is ridiculous. To make this exercise more productive and challenging, keep your core, hips, and legs as still and solidified as possible.
Push and Pull Vertical
I call this Double Overhead Press. It puts a unique spin on the good old standard for building upper body and shoulder strength.
By using a neutral grip, the battle ropes puts the shoulder in a better position for pressing by forcing it to stay upright by pulling back on the arm.
When performing overhead presses you will notice big gains in other lifts as well as greater strength throughout your entire body.
The overhead press is definitely a must for anyone looking to put on muscle and strength.
You would think with a light weight, this movement would be quite easy. Quite the opposite, due to the awkward position and length of the rope, this exercise is extremely challenging.
I call these Standing Rainbows. Stand tall, wide, and strong, taking the handles of the ropes from right hip to left hip, and vice versa as big and fast as possible for the duration of the set.
The hip, abs, obliques, chest, back, shoulders, and arms are going to be pumped up as you work with the highest intensity you can produce for the time of each set.
I call these Anchored Squat Stance Traveling Rows. You take the rope, tie it off to an anchor using your figure 8 knot. Perform a low forward walk at a slow and controlled speed, while pulling and pushing with your upper body.
This creates a continuous amount of force that transfers through your body in a contralateral pattern, creating incredible pulling, pushing, rotating, squatting and hinging strength.
This training progression should be performed for at least 3 weeks. But for peak gains in strength, it needs to be aggressively adhered to for 8 – 12 weeks.
Focus on the type of strength you are going for, by adhering to the time breakdowns indicated earlier. I suggest three sets for anyone who has never trained before, and five sets for the person who regularly trains for strength.
How to Increase Intensity
To utilize progressive overload, you must work to your capacity for each particular movement. There are several ways to increase force in your battle ropes training for strength. Stepping closer to the anchor will force you to increase your strength and power to make the waves reach the end, thus creating a progressive overload from week to week.
Monitoring the height and speed of your waves (reps per set), are two excellent ways to increase the progressive overload of your training sets, week-to-week. Try increasing the height and the reps, and you will notice incredible improvements in the size and strength of your musculature.
Increasing the rope’s length or diameter is another way to progressively overload for increases in size and strength of your musculature.
As you apply these new techniques to your Battle Ropes training and strength training, remember that good hydration, sleep, and nutrition is key for the best results. Your stimulation for strength gains (or strength adaptations) is only as good as your recovery.
If your stimulation is awesome, but your recovery sucks, even getting juiced out of your mind on steroids won’t help you.
Also, if you are awesome at recovery, but your stimulation is lacking…the clothes hanging off of your body will let you know that you better get back to the gym, and produce some power and strength levels of force through your body. May the ropes be with you as you get your swell on.