When it comes to both improving cardio and strength conditioning, it’s almost impossible not to have seen or heard of heavy ropes. Almost every athlete has turned to them, from MMA fighters to football athletes … and back to the normal person who just wants a challenging workout.

In short … heavy ropes are awesome!

They’re typically used for a number of total-body and core exercises. Every heavy rope exercise has the potential to be rhythmic in nature, which means that heavy ropes are ideal for maximum interval training.

These exercises are performed standing up, they use most of the muscles of the body, and they require a great deal of core involvement. All of this combined suggests that heavy ropes have excellent transfer to athletics and real-life situations. They also provide a form of dynamic and active resistance that mimics many sport-specific scenarios, like grappling for instance.

Foundational exercises for heavy ropes are extremely important.

They teach fundamental techniques that you must master before you move on to the advanced exercises. Each of these exercises is appropriate for all levels of development and does an excellent job of conditioning the muscles and energy pathways.

Below are 10 beginner-level heavy rope exercises for you to incorporate into your workout routine:

1. Heavy Rope Jumping Jacks

What it’s used for

This exercise can be used as a warm-up and conditioning exercise. It is a rhythmic exercise that involves most of the muscles of the body, so it can be performed for a defined number of repetitions or a preset time. It is also a relatively low-skill exercise, so it is suitable to all skill levels.

What you need before trying

• Ability to perform jumping jacks without heavy ropes.
• Understanding how to use a one-hand grip on the heavy ropes.

What to do

• Secure the heavy rope and take a one-handed grip on each end of the rope.
• Stand so that you are holding the ends of the rope at the sides.
• Set the back.
• Keep the weight on the balls of the feet.
• Jump so that the feet move out to the sides, about hip-width apart.
• As you move the feet to the sides, raise the hands (and ropes) to the sides so that they end up higher than the shoulders.
• Lower and repeat for the desired time.

Notes

• Keep the back set through the exercise.
• Keep your weight on the balls of your feet throughout.
• Keep the rope at the sides. Allowing the handles to drift too far forward may cause you to lose balance.

2. Heavy Ropes Two-Handed Slam

What it’s used for

This exercise is probably one of the most used foundational exercises for heavy ropes. It can be used as a warm-up exercise. It is rhythmic in nature and involves most of the muscles of the body so it makes a great conditioning exercise. (You see this often in the Crossfit circle).

What you need before trying

• The ability to perform squats.
• Enough strength to lift the rope with straight arms.
• Understanding how to use the one-handed grip on the heavy ropes.

What to do

• Secure the heavy rope and take a one-handed grip on each end of the rope.
• Stand so that you are holding the ends of the rope at the sides.
• Set the back.
• Keep the weight on the heels.
• Pushing the hips back, quickly move into a quarter squat.
• Reverse directions and stand up. As you are doing this, move the arms and ropes up until the arms are about parallel to the floor.
• Without pausing at the top, squat back down, driving the ropes toward the ground.
• Repeat for the desired time.

Notes

• Keep the back set throughout the exercise.
• Keep your weight on your heels throughout.
• The squats should be fast and continuous when you are performing the exercise.

3. Heavy Ropes Wave

What it’s used for

This rhythmic exercise can be used in a conditioning program. It works the muscles of the shoulders, chest, and upper back. It also requires the lower body and core to stabilize the body during the performance of the exercise.

What you need before trying

• Ability to maintain a quarter squat during the performance of the exercise.
• Enough strength to lift the rope with straight arms.
• Understanding how to use the one-handed grip on the heavy ropes.

What to do

• Secure the heavy rope and take a one-handed grip on each end of the rope.
• Stand so that you are holding the ends of the rope at the sides.
• Set the back.
• Keep the weight on the heels.
• Move into a quarter squat as you push the hips back.
• While maintaining the quarter squat, lift the arms and ropes up until the arms are parallel to the floor.
• As you maintain the squat, lift one arm up and drive the other arm down toward the floor. Reverse direction.
• Continue alternating for the desired time.

Notes

• Keep the back set throughout the exercise.
• Keep your weight on your heels throughout.

4. Heavy Ropes Woodchopper

What it’s used for

This exercise primarily trains the muscles of the core. It is rhythmical in nature, so it is appropriate for conditioning. Like the other heavy rope exercises, it is performed standing up and involves the coordinated movement of both the upper body and lower body.

What you need before trying

• Ability to perform a quarter squat.
• Enough strength to lift the rope with straight arms.
• Understanding how to use the two-handed grip on the heavy ropes.

What to do

• Secure the heavy rope and take a two-handed grip on the rope.
• Stand so that you are holding the ends of the rope at waist level.
• Set the back.
• Keep the weight on the heels.
• Quickly move into a quarter squat as you push your hips back.
• Reverse directions and stand up quickly. As you are doing this, lift the arms and rope above your head.
• Without pausing at the top, reverse directions and squat back down. As you are squatting, drive the rope into the ground in front of you.
• Reverse directions and repeat for the desired time.

Notes

• Keep the back the set throughout the exercise.
• Keep your weight on your heels throughout.
• Perform squats quickly and rhythmically for the desired time.

5. Heavy Rope Twist

What it’s used for

This exercise is primarily meant to train the muscles of the core, especially the obliques. The exercise is rhythmical in nature, so it is appropriate for conditioning. It is performed standing up and involves stabilization of the lower body.

What you need before trying

• Ability to perform a quarter squat.
• Enough strength to lift the rope with straight arms.
• Understanding how to use the two-handed grip on the heavy ropes.

What to do

• Secure the heavy rope and take a two-handed grip on the rope. Stand so that you are holding the ends of the rope at waist level.
• Set the back.
• Keep the weight on the heels.
• Pushing the hips back, move into a quarter squat.
• From this position, lift the arms until they are about parallel to the floor.
• While keeping the arms up, quickly turn the shoulders to the left.
• Without pausing, turn the shoulders to the right.
• Continue repeating for the desired time.

Notes

• Keep the back set throughout the exercise.
• Keep your weight on your heels throughout.

In a next post, we’ll share the other five beginner-level heavy rope exercises to ramp up your strength and conditioning.

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