When you think about doing cardio, you think about endless rows of cardio equipment. Or you think about going outside for a run or ride.

But what if you find these workouts, well, boring?

Ok maybe you turn to some bodyweight interval sessions.

However, even many of these are very lower body focused.

Or they include a ton of jumping.

And it can be hard if you have a lower body injury to find options to work around!

So how can you get in a killer cardio workout that even targets your UPPER body more while allowing you to work on everything from building power to your aerobic capacity and conditioning?

The answer?


Battle ropes are the perfect way to work your entire body with lower impact moves or even take your cardio training up a notch.

You can use them for longer intervals of work to improve your aerobic base or you can use them to build explosive power.

They can be great to target literally every muscle of your body, whether you choose a basic wave to just work your upper body, a plank variation to target your core or even a full body movement including shuffling, lunging or squatting.

Learning To Use Battle Ropes:

So how do you do the basic battle ropes alternating arm wave?

A fundamental wave to learn on the battle ropes is the basic alternating arm wave. To do this movement, hold a handle in each hand and walk back so there is some slack in the rope but they are pulled out straight. You do not want them stretched tight.

Holding a handle in each hand, pull one hand down toward your hip as you raise the other hand up. Then quickly alternating, swinging the other arm back as you raise the other arm up.

You can play around with a straighter arm movement or slightly more of a bicep curl.

There are also multiple ways to create this basic wave based on how you want to isolate and work areas. You can make it super arm intensive, holding a very still body and doing more of that curl.

You can also use rotation a bit more swinging from your hip. This is more of the “gunslinger” wave allowing you to use rotation to power the movement more.

You can also do more of a Frankenstein movement, slightly marching in place as you create the wave with straighter arms.

All of these can be used based on how you want to target areas so even play around with them!

But make sure you aren’t just shrugging as you create the waves, feeling your upper traps really becoming overworked.

Think quick fluid movements allowing the waves to push each other down over trying to lift the entire rope up and down each and every time. It’s why you want a bit of slack in the rope.

Make sure too you’re standing tall with your chest pressed out and focused on moving as quickly as possible.

Once you’ start using the basic alternating arm wave…How can you spice things up a bit?

Battle Ropes Modifications And Progressions:

Not only are there different waves you can create, from the double wave to sidewinders to rainbows, but you can even vary up that basic alternating arm wave exercise by the posture you perform the movement in and the involvement of your lower body.

You could add in a side shuffle as you perform the alternating arm wave, side to side lunges or even a reverse lunge.

If you need to modify around a lower body injury, you could even do the movement seated on a bench or on the ground.

With any of the waves you can really implement different postures and movements to work your entire body and work around lower body aches and pains.

You can do a single arm wave from a plank position if you wanted to work your core more and get in an anti-rotational movement during your conditioning workout.

Or even the rainbows balanced on your butt to work your obliques more.

If you want to add in impact and work on explosive power, you could combine a double arm wave even with a squat jump.

Battle ropes are simply a great way to target not only your upper body but adjust to meet your conditioning needs for that day and work a variety of muscle groups!

But now that you have all of these options, how can you create a workout?

Battle ropes are a great tool to use whatever energy system you want to target.

You can include them in an interval workout, whether you want a quick high intensity interval session for something quick, like 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off or you want to work on your aerobic conditioning and perform longer intervals of work on the ropes, even up to 10 minutes straight.

You can honestly even include them in a lifting session if you wanted the workout to be more metabolically focused. You could include even something to work on your strength and power by doing reps of the Snake wave or outward circles during your chest, shoulders and tricep session.

Just remember, you want to include tools in a way that matches your needs and goals. We don’t just want to put things in to feel more worked and train harder!

But if you’re looking for a way to improve your conditioning and create a new progression, give battle ropes a try!

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