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What Muscles Do Battle Ropes Work?

In recent years, battle ropes have become a quite popular workout tool in the fitness community, and for a good reason. Due to the increase in popularity of ‘functional' workout programs, people have been investigating other methods, equipment and exercises to produce a body that not only looks good but can perform great as well. These gears vary in many categories, including resistance bands, wrist wraps, etc.

Battle ropes are hardly a new tool, and they have been a favorite weapon of football players, martial artists and other high performing athletes for decades. Why are they so popular now? Well, they provide the body with a different kind of workout compared to the barbell, dumbbells, or other ‘traditional' equipment. And now, let's find out what are the specific benefits of battle ropes.

1. Whole Body Workout

The first and the most obvious fact is that ropes give you a full body workout, meaning that many different muscle groups are activated and worked throughout the movement. Functional fitness is all about compound exercises (multiple joints and muscles activated), as opposed to isolation exercises because they prepare the body for potential physical tasks in real-life situations.

2. Calorie Burner
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Jonathan Ross of the American Council on Exercises (ACE), said that "battle ropes are like running for the upper body." No other workout equipment places similar demands on your upper body, and this results in massive calorie expenditure. Research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning can tell you more about the details.

3. Low Impact

Even though battle ropes can give you a very, very intense workout, they are very kind on the joints. People recovering from an injury, or anyone who has joint problems can benefit greatly from using this tool.

4. Cardio And Strength Combined
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Many workout enthusiasts are familiar with the necessity to do both strength and cardiovascular exercises for optimal fitness. Ropes enable you to do both at the same time. This can be a good time saver for busy folks who like to get sweaty.

Muscles Worked

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Now, the main question asked around the internet these days is ‘What muscles do battle ropes work?’ Some people might say that it depends on the exercises you perform. The truth is that this does matter, but essentially, the same muscle groups will be activated only in different intensities. Let’s break it down into smaller sections and give you a clear picture on this issue.

1. Gluteus Maximus - Butt

Hinging at your hips and bringing your butt back into a sitting-like position will activate the gluteus muscles and put a static strain on them during the whole duration of the workout.

2. Latissimus Dorsi – Back
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The big muscles on the sides of your back are a major player in battle rope workouts. They become activated due to shoulder extension and pulling movements.

3. Abdominal Muscles

Abs are the connection between the shoulders and the hips, and they have a very important role in stabilizing the torso and protecting the spine in this way. Ropes will give you a fantastic core workout.

4. Anterior Deltoid – Front Of The Shoulder

Shoulders do a lot of work in all rope exercises due to the constant swinging of the arms. They are one of the hardest-worked muscles in these types of workouts.

5. Quadriceps Femoris – Thighs

Knee flexion activates the thigh muscles, and you will feel a strong burn in this part of the body.


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There is a great variety of exercises that one can perform using battle ropes, and even then the variations on those exercises are infinite. In essence, most popular exercises look something like this: the rope is anchored at some point away from you, and you do the work by holding the ends of the rope and moving them with your arms.

There are three main types of movements used these days:

  • Slam – Holding the ends of the rope with both hands and slamming it aggressively down towards the ground.
  • Waves – Holding the ends of the rope with both hands and directing the force towards the anchor point while alternating the hands.
  • Whip – Similar as waves, but except alternating your arms, move them simultaneously up and down.
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Do not stop at these three options because there are plenty more options with rope workouts that will give you different benefits.

Any athlete or experienced fitness enthusiast will tell you about the importance of switching your workout routine up every once in a while. If you want to try something new and challenging in the gym, then battle ropes might be an excellent choice.

Remember that these exercises are not intended to be the only ones in your workout, so use them as an addition to your program. Most importantly, always remember to keep an open mind and try new things and movements constantly. Your body will thank you!

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About the Author Mike R.Bowen

I am Mike R.Bowen, founder of Fitness On The Weekend dot Com and my aim is to help busy people find time for fitness. We will give you actionable advice on how you can keep fit and healthy even on those busy days!

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