Looking for a workout that is different and outside the box of traditional strength, cardio, and circuit training?  Try a rope workout.  Ropes are a great tool to use in your training. Ropes are low impact.  They are much safer to use than barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells as long as you are using good form.

The ropes are the ideal workout cross training exercise you can do without placing too much stress on your joints because all the force is applied to your muscular system instead. In just a short time, you can burn many calories more than with heavy resistance training sprinting and high-intensity interval training. So it’s a good addition to your training program if you’re looking to weight. They work both the upper front and back simultaneously as well as the core. The good news is rope training works your entire core from the upper abs to your glutes and quads, both stabilizing spinal movement and applying power from the core.


In fact, research suggests using battle ropes for just 10 minutes can be considered a vigorous workout. It is estimated that you can burn 10 calories per minute during a workout. Ropes using both the upper and lower body can be a great overall workout. Moreover, athletes can train with the same equipment at their level, whether you are a beginner or a pro athlete. All you need is a sturdy object, like a pole or a tree, then loop the rope around it. No technical knowledge is required.

To begin a rope workout, you need to make sure your rope is securely tied to a safe, stable area. The visual and sensory feedback provided by the rope is a great indication of the quality of the effort produced by your body. It feels like playing even when you are working hard.

Starting with your upper body, there are various movements you can do.  First of all, you can go wide, narrow, high, low, and side to side.  For more intensity, you can do one or both ropes.  The size of the ropes also intensifies the workout.  Some of the moves include:

  • Slam – aggressive rope movement with the primary direction of force down toward the ground
  • Waves – alternating, asymmetrical pattern with the primary direction of force toward the anchor.  Waves can be low to the ground like a snake or high like a tsunami.
  • Clock and counterclockwise – The rope can go circular in either a clock or counterclockwise direction.
  • Uppercuts – thumbs-up grip, squat position; bring the rope up towards your head (like you are throwing an uppercut punch).
  • Alternating wave – squat stance, tight core, arms alternate up/down motion quickly.
  • Whip – symmetrical pattern with the primary direction of force toward the anchor
  • Pulls twists – side to side, up, high, down, low, wide, and narrow

The primary movement patterns—push, pull, rotate—are multi-planar, moving through the sagittal, frontal, and transverse planes of movement for a total-body workout.

There are three types of grips:

  1. Handshake (overhand) grip
  2. Microphone (underhand) grip
  3. Side Grip

You can hold the rope at the end or at the end of the handles.  The more intense the grip, the more difficult is the workout.  The movement of the rope is a beautiful rendering of physics in action.

Adding to the workout is the lower body. You can add squats, jumping jacks, scissors, one-legged squats, step-ups on a step, or lunges.  For core work, add a plank.

For specific exercises and more ideas, check out my Rope Workout exercise page on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/cchapan/rope-exercises/

Christina Chapan

Christina Chapan

Christina Lee Steele Chapan is a certified personal trainer with four certifications from ISSA ACE, AFAA and SCW. She specializes with fitness for children and those adults and children with special needs. In addition to attaining her certifications, she is also a certified elementary and special education school teacher with a B.S. in Elementary Education, a minor in Biblical Studies from North Central University, an endorsement in Special Education, and an M.A. in Curriculum and Development from Governors State University. Her passion is for training the future of tomorrow. She is available for training, speaking and writing.
Christina Chapan

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