Battle ropes are a unique form of exercising that can simultaneously target most of your body’s muscles. It is also a great aerobic and anaerobic workout that can have its intensity dialed way up and also quite low. For beginners, however, one of the most challenging things is to find proper drills that will be easy to remember and equally easy to pull off in the gym. For that reason, I created this article on some of the best battle rope exercises for beginners that cover all the essentials and are perfect for a full-body workout.
While there are countless of different names and categories, some of the top exercises can be grouped into the following categories and drills:
- Arm Waves
- Arm Circles
- Hip Toss
- Jumping Jacks
- Lying T
- Jumping Slam
If you want to learn more about battle ropes, their features, and also which are the best models on the market currently, make sure you check out my buyer’s guide on the best battle ropes. Now, let’s get into each of those exercises and see how exactly they’re done!
Arm waves are one of the most common exercises when it comes to battle ropes. Naturally, there are a ton of different variations within the arm waves family. The main ones are – double-arm waves, single-arm waves (with jump squats or jump squats), reverse-grip waves with lunges, burpee double-arm waves, and more.
The very first drill most beginners learn is the double-arm wave. You do that by having your feet a shoulder apart and your fingers pointing forwards. Slightly bend your knees and grip the battle rope with your palms facing downwards. Move both of your arms up and then down to form a wave motion in the rope. Try using your range of motion to its fullest extent. For your first few workouts do this exercise for around 30 seconds at a time. For added difficulty, you can squat a bit so that your thighs are parallel to the gym floor.
Single-arm waves are very similar but you follow a single-arm sequence, meaning you get one arm up and then follow with the other. Then, move them both down in the same sequence (left-right or right-left, depending on which arm started first). The body position is the same as it was in the double-arm waves. To make single-arm waves interesting, you can add squats, burpees, and/or jump squats.
Arm circles are another form of useful exercise that is one of the fundamental ones in battle rope drilling. It can be done either with your arms doing the same motion or with them doing alternate circles independently. For regular arm circles, keep your hands together and grip the ropes with your palms facing downwards. Begin by doing 3 clockwise circles and then move to 3 more counter-clockwise circles.
Another form of arm circles is the alternating wide circle. It is a full-body exercise that puts additional pressure on your back muscles and also improves your grip. You do so by getting into your normal squatted position and moving both ropes in a circle motion outwards in a sequential manner.
Hip tosses are excellent for your core muscles and are also good for stability control. Start by having your arms extended forward and close to each other. Grip the rope with your palms facing inward towards each other. Move the battle rope from the left side of your hip to the right side in a rainbow motion. Then move it back in the same pattern. Repeat the exercise for at least 30 seconds in 3-4 sessions.
Jumping jacks are one of the hardest aerobic exercises in battle ropes. They will work your smaller muscles and will improve your obliques and core muscles too. You start by having the ropes in both your hands and your feet in a hip-width apart. Then, jump by placing your feet as wide as you can. Keep your elbows slightly bent so that you can get the ropes up to around shoulder height. Then, on your way down and when you’re putting your legs back together, slam the rope downwards.
If you want to find out other great fat-burning exercises apart from battle rope drilling, click here!
The Lying T is a great exercise that will work your shoulders and back muscles. You do it by lying on the ground face first and your arms extended outwards so that you form the shape of the letter “T”. Once you’ve settled, start moving your arms upwards and then bring them down as if you’re a bird that is trying to lift off. This exercise is a bit more difficult than the others on this list and will require a proper warm-up of your shoulders before you get to it in order to prevent potential injuries.
The jumping slam is fairly similar to jumping jack except that you don’t spread out your legs when jumping. You jump up, bring both ropes together above your shoulders, and then slam the ropes down on your way back. Aim for a higher rope and jump amplitude. In fact, you can adjust the velocity and height of the jump as much as you want for varying results.
If you want to learn how to warm up for different kinds of workouts, head over to my full article on the topic!
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of rope is used for battle ropes?
Most battle ropes are made out of a mix of synthetic fibers, most commonly polypropylene. Nowadays, however, more and more ropes are made out of nylon and Dacron.
Do battle ropes burn belly fat?
Battle ropes offer a full-body workout that burns a lot of calories and most of those drills focus on your body’s core muscles. So, those workouts will both burn a ton of fat from your body and shape those belly muscles nicely!
Knowing which are the ideal battle rope exercises for beginners and pros is going to be crucial for your success in the gym. The more drills you learn the more you will be able to mix things up and work on specific muscle groups, even though the ropes will always train the majority of your body at once. If you’ve never done battle rope drills, I recommend starting with arm waves and stick to those for at least a few weeks until you fully master them.