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Copyright 2017 Dayton Newspapers, Inc.

Dayton Daily News (Ohio)


This old-school fitness gear - a 30-to-50-foot rope about 1.5 inches thick - is gaining popularity with a new generation of fitness enthusiasts. Battle ropes are becoming commonplace in community recreation centers. 

If you're at the end of your rope with your current fitness routine, battle ropes might be the answer.

This old-school fitness gear - a30-to-50-foot rope about 1.5 inches thick - is gaining popularity with a new generation of fitness enthusiasts. Long a staple in crossfit gyms, battle ropes are becoming commonplace in community recreation centers where they are utilized by individuals as well as in group fitness classes.

Jim Engelhardt, division manager of recreation for the City of Kettering Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department, describes it as a "very functional way to train."

"You are using a lot of different muscle groups in one efficient movement," he said. "It's an innovative way to train that can have tremendous results."

Full body strength training

Shoulders, chest, back, arms and core - battle ropes work all of these and more.

"There isalmost an unlimited variety of exercises that can work different parts of the body," Engelhardt said. "And anybody can do it, the intensity just needs to be appropriate for the fitness level."

Waves, circles, presses and crossovers are just a few of the basic moves but more advanced battle rope training can also incorporate burpees, squats and jumps. Correct form is essential to increase benefits and reduce the likelihood of injury.

Functional benefits

"It strengthens the body to do everyday tasks," Engelhardt said.

From lifting a full milk jug to stretching toreach the dishes from the top cabinet to unfastening your toddler's car seat, then lifting and turning to put him in his stroller, everyday tasks can take their toll on the body. Exercises like those that utilize battle ropes help to reduce injuries associated with daily living.

"We've had seniors tell us that it's enabling them to live independently longer," Engelhardt said. "It increases their quality of life."

Heart healthy and calorie torching

Battle rope workouts get the heart pumping.

"Anything that is cardiovascular in nature that involves the upper body is more intense because your body is working against gravity," Engelhardt said.

Battle rope workouts help increase your heart rate and burn fat.

"Because you're using all your muscles, you typically will burn more calories in a given period of time," he said.

Effective results in less time can be especially appealing for people with lots of commitments and little time.

"Because you're training efficiently, you get high caloric burn in less time," Engelhardt said. "So it works well for people with a busy schedule."


Wave: One of the most common battle rope swings, this move focuses on the biceps. With your elbows tucked into your sides, you alternate pumping your arms up and down which creates a wave in the rope in front of you. In a double wave, the arms move in tandem.

Crossover: Your shoulders will reap the benefits of this move which is essentially a lateral wave created by moving your arms from outside to inside, crossing the hands over one another and back on every rep.

Slam: Lift both ends of the rope above your head and slam the rope down to the ground forcefully. This single move engages the shoulders, arms, back and abs.

Circles: A move that focuses on the shoulders, circles can be done with each arm independently in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. You can also hold your hands and both ends of the rope together and make circles.

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September 8, 2017


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