Who would have thought one of the simplest ways to burn fat is to pick up a heavy rope?
I know I usually have a kettlebell attached to my hip, but I want to pause that train for a second to highlight another star piece of equipment that should be in your arsenal for quickly blasting fat: battle ropes.
Don’t let their simplicity fool you. These heavy ropes do much more than just give your arms a burn, and they’re much more versatile than you probably think when it comes to variety of movement.
Let’s check out their epic benefits.
Benefits of Battle Ropes
1. Burns Fat Fast
Battle ropes are one of the king pieces of equipment to get in a fast, high-intensity-interval (HIIT) workout, which are hands-down the best for burning fat.
Studies show HIIT workouts that alternate between high-intensity and low-intensity intervals (think sprinting for 30 seconds, resting for 30 seconds, then repeating) actually burn more fat than traditional cardio sessions like jogging, while also taking significantly less time to complete. [*] This is due to the beneficial metabolic changes your body and cells go through during the high-intensity phases. While both HIIT and steady-state cardio burn calories, the difference is that HIIT causes changes in your cells that make them more efficient at using energy and burning fat. It also ignites what many refer to as the “afterburn” effect; as your body works to repair itself from your HIIT session, which is pretty taxing on your body, it burns even more calories than normal over the long term, resulting in even more fat loss even when you’re not working out.
As far as calories burned during training, a study done specifically using battle ropes found that just 10 minutes of swinging ropes burns 112 calories. [*]
2. Builds Endurance and Core Strength
It’s easy to assume that battle ropes target only your upper body; namely, your arms. However, another benefit of battle ropes is they actually work your entire body, with a strong focus on isometric core strength. As your upper body whips the ropes, your core is engaged to keep you stable.
This also builds full-body endurance, especially if you set a timer for yourself (which is ideal). Whipping the ropes is burn enough for your arms and shoulders, but keep in mind that almost every muscle in your body is engaged as well, which can get taxing fast. The longer you can swing, the more endurance you’ll build.
3. Improves Shoulder Mobility
While under-discussed, shoulder mobility plays a huge role in almost every movement you make. When your shoulder joints are mobile, it basically means that you can swing and extend in every given direction without straining your joint. This also requires a certain amount of flexibility and stability in the shoulder joint and surrounding muscles.
When you swing a rope, you’ll notice your shoulder joints moving rapidly up and down, or side-to-side depending upon how you’re throwing. This helps build tiny stabilizer muscles around that joint that protect it from popping loose or straining, and also works to increase the flexibility of the joint.
Increasing shoulder mobility will benefit you in a ton of other movements as well, including kettlebell swings, and even pushups, cleans, and pullups.
How to Use Battle Ropes Effectively
A few key pointers to always remember in order to get the most out of your battle ropes:
- Engage your core during every movement (you’ll see more swing variations below). This ups your calorie burn and builds more muscle long-term, which further decimates fat.
- Use intervals. Set a timer and aim to push through a series of swings vs rest. For instance, try 30 seconds on of swinging, then 30 seconds rest, repeating for a total of 15 to 20 minutes.
- Go all in. On your intense phase, push as hard as you can with the ropes. You’ll be amazed at how much faster you’ll get results when you push to your max.
- Remember to breathe. Just like using any other piece of equipment, don’t forget to breathe.
Battle Rope Blitz Circuit
If you thought there was only one way to swing a battle rope, think again. Below is my Battle Rope Blitz Circuit, which illustrates several moves you can try, either in succession or as part of another circuit. Give them a go, and also subscribe to the Youtube channel for more workouts like this.