Battle ropes become popular go-to fitness tools in U.S. gyms

Mon May 25, 2015 9:17am EDT
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By Dorene Intenicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Battle ropes, the thick and heavy ropes that look as if they could tether a ship to shore, have become go-to fitness tools in gyms for people seeking a tough workout that is also engaging and fun.

Whipping, slamming, dragging and drumming the long, anchored ropes have long been used in training for sports like football, but fitness experts said they have now gone mainstream in gyms as an efficient workout routine.

“It’s a little like running with the upper body,” said Jonathan Ross, spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise. “It’s not just using different muscles but training muscles in different ways.”

The Washington, D.C. area-based trainer and author of the book “Abs Revealed,” said a ropes workout engages the mind as well as the body with what he calls the grace of the wave.

“The ropes show you how you’re moving,” he explained. “You see the physical manifestation of the body movement as you watch the ropes. If you do them well, your body is moving well.”

Posture and coordination are inherent elements of the workout, Ross said.

Battle rope workouts also pack a calorie-burning cardio punch.

A study published in the April 2015 Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research showed that a 10-minute bout of rope training resulted in high heart rates and enough energy expenditure to increase cardio respiratory fitness.   Continued...

Powerwave Battle Roping fitness class at Crunch is seen in this 2013 handout photo in  New York. REUTERS/Stephen Meierding HANDOUT