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Abilene Reporter-News (Texas)
Alongside the usual fitness fixtures of kettlebells, free weights and Bosu trainers available in fitness centers today, you are likely to find battling ropes. Over the past decade, battling ropes have become an increasing popular training tool and as such are finding their way into more mainstream fitness centers all the time.
To the first time on-looker, rope training may seem simplistic and straight forward but for anyone who has tried them, they are anything but simple. Rather, rope training is a comprehensive strength and conditioning system that utilizes hundreds of different techniques and can deliver a complete workout on its own.
Rope training is an inclusive training protocol that works the cardiovascular system and develops muscular strength as well as greatly increasing an individual's lactic acid threshold. At the core of rope training is the notion of velocity movements. Compared with other training based systems that focus on strength and cardiovascular conditioning and include recovery patterns into their overall structure, velocity style exercises like rope training require a constant output. Participants are constantly engaging the ropes, creating explosive movements quickly, then creating force in another direction repeatedly.
Rope training also provides a great core workout. Each time you create waves with a rope, the rope inherently pulls you towards its anchor point. Resisting the pull engages the entire anterior chain (abs, ribs, pelvis) and works all the stabilizing muscles as well. What's more, the angle or direction you are facing in respect to the anchor point will influence which direction the pull is coming from, therefore working the core from different angles. This is a huge bonus as bodies are not one dimensional and moving through multiple movement planes and angles will help create well rounded conditioning.
One of the biggest appeals of rope training, however, may be its versatility. It is suitable for people of all fitness levels and ages, from absolute beginners to seasoned athletes. It can even be done sitting down. And with the plentiful variations and progressions available, the challenge is continuous so the novelty won't wear off.
Of additional appeal, and that which athletes find particularly enticing, is its transferability and sport specific applications for other sports. For example, swimmers looking to improve technique can take the ropes and simulate the technique required in their stroke. Similarly, boxers may use the ropes in striking movements. You can move the ropes in any way your hands can move and remember, every time you do move your hand, the ropes are anchored and your velocity inspired strength, core conditioning and endurance workout begins.
Angie Ferguson is an exercise physiologist from Fort Myers. She is a USA Triathlon Advanced Level 2 coach, Ironman Certified coach, Slowtwitch Certified coach, USA Cycling coach and has a Specialty in Sports Nutrition certification.
For more training tips, read her blog at www.triathlontrainingis fun.com or contact her at www.geared up.biz.
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