Heavy ropes are basically bigger versions of battle ropes, you use them to perform the same exercises but due to the increased resistance they will lead to increased strength gains. When training with heavy ropes you’ll need to keep your workouts short and intense – particularly if you’re just starting out.
Before performing your first set you might have visions of yourself performing 10 minutes of continuous rope exercises, but 20 seconds in to your first attempt you’ll realise just how difficult they are. A properly performed heavy rope workout will feel like sprinting through sand! Your lungs will be on fire, your arms and legs will start shaking, and you’ll be sweating like you’re in a sauna.
In this article we are going to create a heavy rope workout that uses the TABATA protocol, as this best suits the type of ropes you’ll be using. TABATA is a form of high intensity interval training that uses 20 seconds of maximal effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times for a total of 4 minutes.
You can use the same exercise for each 20 second interval or you can alternate between two different exercises. For example 20 seconds of big waves (rope exercise) followed by 10 seconds rest, followed by 20 seconds of kettlebell swings. For the sake of simplicity we will use one exercise per 4 minute set.
There are five rope exercises that we are going to look at: Regular two-handed wave, Alternating waves, The Tsunami wave, Heavy rope crossovers, and Power rope slams. We will give a brief description and a video demonstration of each one.
Regular Two-Handed Wave
Grab a rope handle in each hand and crouch into a half-squat position, then you are going to flick both ends at the same time, creating waves at the same time with both hands. Don’t slam them down on the floor, artfully flick them to create a wave movement. Perform this exercise nice and fast and at an even pace.
The alternating wave is almost identical to the two-handed wave, but is instead performed using alternating waves of the rope. You’re in the same position, in the same half-squat, and there are no particular benefits of one over the other. However, when you are tired changing the tempo of the exercise by switching from regular to alternating can really help. That is why it is important to know both.
The Tsunami Wave
The Tsunami involves holding one end of the rope with both hands and then performing a slightly exaggerated wave. You perform them at a slightly slower tempo using larger waves throughout the movement.
Heavy Rope Crossovers
For this exercise you will need to stand almost fully upright, grab a handle in each hand and then all you have to do is cross one arm over the other – moving the ropes laterally as you do. Pull your arms apart and then cross the other arm over the original.
Power Rope Slams
Of all of the exercises on this list, this is the most exciting and the most intense. You are basically performing a hugely exaggerated version of a regular two-handed wave. Flick the rope up as high as you can and then slam it back down, repeat for as many reps as you can in the allotted time.
As we mentioned before, we will be following a TABATA protocol. 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds rest, repeated 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. You can perform the exercises in any order that you like, but here is our suggestion:
- Regular Two-Handed Wave
- Power Rope Slams
- Heavy Rope Crossovers
- Alternating Wave
- Tsunami Wave
You can have 3-4 minutes rest between each different exercise, and you don’t need to fit them all into the program if you’re already exhausted. Just work your way up.