Home » What Muscles Do Battle Ropes Work + 7 Exercises with Videos

What Muscles Do Battle Ropes Work + 7 Exercises with Videos

What Muscles Do Battle Ropes Work

Battle ropes are becoming increasingly popular, but what muscles do battle ropes work anyway? Well, turns out that using those long, anchored coiled ropes properly, you can work practically any muscle in your body. Why Battle Ropes Work One of the secrets to the effectiveness of battle ropes is that each arm is worked independently of the other.…



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Battle ropes are becoming increasingly popular, but what muscles do battle ropes work anyway? Well, turns out that using those long, anchored coiled ropes properly, you can work practically any muscle in your body.

Why Battle Ropes Work

One of the secrets to the effectiveness of battle ropes is that each arm is worked independently of the other. This enables you to lose muscle imbalances for good all while burning calories and building strength.

As long as you move in many different directions, there is hardly a muscle group that won’t feel the burn with battle ropes.

Start Slow

Like other new exercises, I’ve found that it makes sense to start with basic movements. I was winded after just a few minutes in the first weeks that I started using battle ropes, and it’s hard to describe how incredibly sore my muscles were. Don’t get discouraged! Look upon those sore muscles as challenges. Keep using battle ropes, and you’ll see results.

Total-Body Workout

If you’ve ever seen someone “making waves” with battle ropes, you may have thought that it looked like a great arm workout. Battle ropes are great for the arms, but the exercise also involves the shoulders, core muscles, hips, legs and feet.

When you’re doing even the simplest of battle rope exercises, it’s best if you can be aware of not only your arms, but also your feet, legs and core. This gives you a total body workout that burns even more calories and stimulates more muscles.

Targeting Various Muscle Groups

Choose several battle ropes exercises to target different muscles

While it’s true that most battle ropes exercises will give most of your body a fairly tough workout, it can also be argued that you can target certain muscle groups.

By choosing different exercises, you can strengthen your core, increase shoulder stamina and even tone your thighs along with your arms.

Let’s examine some basic battle ropes exercises to see how each one targets a specific muscle group.

Recommended Battle Ropes

The KingSo Battle Ropes

What Length?
Choose 50 ft (15m) if you got plenty of space (when anchored you’ll hold 25 ft in each hand). Choose 30 ft (9m) rope for a home gym with limited space.

What Thickness?
Choose 1.5″ as that’s the standard, choose 2″ if you want to work more on grip strength.

How Long Should a Rope Exercise Last?

When you’re starting out with battle ropes, sustaining one of these exercises for even 20 seconds sounds impossible. You might feel done in after 10 seconds and wonder how anyone could keep that motion going for one, 10 or even 20 minutes.

The reality is that 20 seconds is really hard the first couple of times you use battle ropes. But you’ll quickly adapt, and next thing you know, you can go for 30 seconds, 45 seconds and even longer. The key is to stick with it, don’t give up!

And you know what’s fun? As a refresher for counting reps all the time, like when lifting or using machines, yeah the usual 6,8,10,12 reps etc.. Now you count TIME, what a refresher and a new motivator. Let’s see how physically and mentally strong you are by doing it for more time without pause. Warning: This shit burns!

Double Wave to Blast Your Arms & Upper Body

If you’re frustrated over the progress of your upper body strength, then double wave and the alternate wave battle ropes exercises are for you.

  1. Stand facing the rope’s anchor point, which is usually a pole, pillar or wall.
  2. Place your feet shoulder width apart and grasp one end of the rope in each hand. Your palms will be facing each other.
  3. Brace your core muscles, soften your knees and then move both arms up and down rapidly.

The Alternating Wave

The alternating wave is similar to the double wave, except that your hands alternate. Essentially, when your right hand is at its highest point, your left hand will be at its lowest and vice versa.

With both exercises, the high point of the movement is typically at the shoulder. Your goal is to make the rope wave all the way down to the anchor point.

Remember, the closer you stand to the anchor point, the harder this becomes. That’s because there is more slack in the rope, so you have to work harder to make the waves reach the anchor.

If you want to get a grueling great lower body at the same time you get an intense upper body workout, then simply sustain a squat while you perform the alternating wave. You’ll feel the burn in no time.

Snakes on the Floor For a Killer Workout

Don’t let weak deltoid muscles get you down! Try these fantastic battle ropes exercises to build lean, strong muscle that will serve you for a lifetime.

Snakes on the floor is a killer shoulder workout. At the same time, you’ll give your legs a challenge.

  1. Face the anchor and place your feet at slightly wider than shoulder width.
  2. Hold the ropes at your sides
  3. Now lower into a squat as you simultaneously pull your arms out wide. Make certain that your arms stay parallel to the floor.
  4. Next, start moving your hands in and out, without crossing them. Ideally, the ropes will look like two snakes writhing on the floor.

Shoulder Circles

Shoulder circles are another excellent exercise for working those deltoids and rhomboids.  

  1. Assume the typical shoulder-width stance with your knees slightly bent.
  2. Grab the rope with both hands with your palms facing the floor.
  3. Lift your arms over your shoulders and start making clockwise circles.
  4. Reverse the move by going counterclockwise for an identical time period.

Ropes Shoulder Presses

Performing shoulder presses with battle ropes involves copying the same movement you’d use with dumbbells.Hold the ropes on your shoulders, making certain that there is tension in the ropes. Then just press up and bring your hands back to your shoulders.

Side Slam to Work Your Core & Get that Six-pack 

Strengthening core muscles is essential for having a healthy, pain-free back. It’s also what can help you finally acquire that six pack, or at least melt some of the fat around your middle. Working your abs with battle ropes is a cinch.

To perform the side slam

  1. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and face the anchor, keep your knees slightly bent.
  2. Grasp the ropes with your hands, palms facing each other.
  3. Tighten your core muscles and bring your hands to the left side of your body.
  4. Raise both arms over your head, and then slam the ropes down on your right side.
  5. Alter sides and continue for as long as you can. 

If you want to dial up the intensity, you can also perform the side slam with one arm at a time. Complete all reps with one arm before switching to the other.

Legs and Glutes

When you combine any of the above battle ropes exercises with other moves, you’ll burn more calories and be able to focus on multiple muscle groups at once. Mainly, this will mean that you’ll get a killer legs and glutes workout at the same time you’re torching calories by using your upper body.

All you have to do is combine any of the above exercises with familiar lower-body movements like squats and lunges. Be especially careful the first time you try these exercises. They require quite a bit of coordination, and it’s easy to lose your balance, especially when you’re tired.

In It for the Long Haul

Battle rope workouts help you pack on lean muscle and increase your strength. However, you’ll find that this is also an outstanding cardiovascular exercise. When compared with another popular cardio workout like running, it becomes apparent that battle ropes may have some advantages.

For instance, using battle ropes is likely to be kinder to your joints over the long haul. This makes it more likely that you’ll be able to use battle ropes for years without risking significant joint pain.

Plus, battle ropes are a low-cost piece of exercise equipment. With a small initial investment, you can get everything you need to get a fantastic daily workout. Battle ropes are especially affordable when you make your own equipment.

Keep Getting Stronger

Battle ropes offer an incredibly tough workout yet fun

About Tim & Lisa


Hey there, I’m Tim, co-founder of GymPerson.com.
I am a former fitness physique competitor with over 20 years of intense experience in strength training, weight lifting and body transformation.

I’m Lisa, a donut eater turned into a health conscious person turned into a marathon runner (side note: losing some 60+ pounds along the way!)

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