Battle Rope Training and Workouts

Battle rope workouts are a type of workout used by military personnel and some law enforcement agencies to provide resistance against the pull of gravity. The exercise requires you to use both your arms, legs, and core muscles at once resulting in an intense cardio workout that also boosts metabolism.

A battle rope is a long, thin piece of material that can be used as a tool for workouts. It’s typically made out of either nylon or polyester and is used in many different types of exercises. A workout routine with a battle rope will help you build strength, endurance and flexibility.

Vintage young men climbing ropes in a gym.

Joe Hashey, CSCS, has written a guest article for us. 

People can work out with merely a length of thick rope, as I explained in a previous post, Odd Object Training Primer. Rope training is not a new concept, but it has gained popularity in recent years. We’ve been utilizing thick ropes for over two years and have seen tremendous results. If you had a poor experience climbing the rope in middle school, it may be time to give it another go.

Thick Rope Training’s Advantages

The muscles in the wrists and forearms are heavily involved during most thick rope activities, which is an area where many men lack strength. Ropes are used in the accessory section of our exercises at Synergy Athletics. That is, we execute our major workouts (usually complex barbell lifts) before adding the ropes to the program.

Ropes may be used for a range of climbing and pulling workouts to develop relative body strength in addition to stronger hands and forearms. These exercises are both enjoyable and beneficial for overall physical fitness, especially in younger athletes.

Where Can I Find Thick Rope?

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to pick up the rope that I’m talking about at Home Depot. Their rope is too thin and has a short diameter. You should get a rope with a diameter of 14 to 3 inches and a length of 40 to 60 feet, depending on your ability. We have ropes ranging in diameter from 14 inches to 4 inches, but I favor 2 inch rope. The 4 inch is an uncommon find on the shelves.

Many websites offer thick rope; however, the best affordable options I’ve found are on Ebay and at McMaster Carr. Simply search for what you want on such websites to save money.

Four Thick Rope Exercises That Work

Supine Rows are the first exercise. Toss the rope over a stationary object. We use a power rack at the gym and a tree branch at home. Lie down on your back, grip the row, and draw your hands to your chest. Elevating your feet is part of the advanced variant.

A man doing supine rows heavy ropes training in gym.

Pull-Ups are number two on the list. As with the supine row setup, just toss the rope over a fixed object. Begin your pull-ups by reaching up and grabbing a grasp. Because of the increased grip strength necessary, you will be able to execute considerably fewer exercises with the rope than with a standard bar. Do them first, then finish with traditional pull-ups to keep your back muscles strong and your grip from becoming a weak link.

Heavy rope pull ups training by man in gym.

Hand Over Hand Rows are number three. Connect the rope to a heavy item (outdoors). This is normally a sled, however anything heavy might be used instead. Walk the rope all the way to the end, then row the item back to you. Repeat for a few more sets.

Heavy rope rows fitness routine training.

4. Battling with ropes. All of the exercises up to this point have been pulling motions. Rope battling is a good way to stay in shape. So that the rope folds in half and you have both ends in your hands, tie it around a stationary object.


The simple directions are to spin it for time.

Battle rope training fitness routine.

Make waves in the rope with the details. You have the option of making large, tiny, or alternating waves. Then attempt to form circles in the rope with both hands (grappler tosses). For a timed set, do this.

Apply the Tabata protocol to your motions in this sample rope battling exercise. Whip the rope for 20 seconds at a high intensity, then rest for 10 seconds. Rep for an additional 8 sets of 20 on and 10 off.

These are just a few of the advantages of utilizing ropes. More options may be found in this rope training video.


Pick up a piece of rope and begin adding it into your workout as soon as possible!

Pick up a piece of rope and begin adding it into your workout as soon as possible!

Joe Hashey is a National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. 



Battle ropes are a type of rope that is typically used in martial arts and physical training. They can be used for exercises, weight lifting, and strength training. The “battle rope weight” is the amount of weight you should put on the battle rope before starting your workout.

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