20 High-Intensity Battle Rope Workouts – Garage Gym Pro

There is a simple piece of equipment in the gym that is a secret weapon for power, strength, and endurance.

It is those heavy ropes that probably live in the corner of the gym called battle ropes.

If you don't know how to use them, don't worry; we've got you covered. They are easily learned, and they will give you a seriously hard workout and work up one hell of a sweat!

Here are our top 20 battle rope exercises guaranteed to get you both lean and jacked.[1]

1. Battle Ropes Waves

This is a classic battle rope exercise and a great one to start with if you're new to working out with these heavy ropes.

This will build lean upper body muscles, particularly shoulders, arms, and traps.

Suggested Equipment - Best Battle Ropes For Home Gyms

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Hold the ropes in a neutral grip with your palms facing each other and stand, so the ropes have some slack. Hold onto them closer to the rope ends.
  2. 2
    Assume an athletic stance with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, chest forwards, and extend your arms in front.
  3. 3
    Raise your right arm and flick your wrist to create a wave with the rope, and as the arm is moving down, lift your left arm and repeat the same motion creating alternating waves.
  4. 4
    Keep going, ensuring you don't go too hard at the beginning. Try to maintain the same pace for 30-40 seconds.
Garage Gym Pro Tip: Make sure there is slack in the ropes to allow movement but not too much slack so that you don't get the right amount of tension you need for the exercise to be effective. 
You can move closer or farther away from the anchor point to change the intensity of the movement.
Man Doing Battle Rope Waves

2. Battle Ropes Alternating Waves Split Jump

This great plyometric exercise incorporates the lower body, particularly the glutes.

Split jumps require a good amount of stability and core strength and will create explosive movements that build leg strength.

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Hold the rope in an underhand grip and stand, so the ropes have some slack.
  2. 2
    Start by placing the left leg behind you into a split squat stance.
  3. 3
    Start by creating waves with your arms and, simultaneously, drop your left knee to the ground, then explode upwards and switch legs, so your right leg is behind.
  4. 4
    Keep your arms going while you alternate the jumping lunges.
  5. 5
    Repeat for the desired amount of time.
Battle Ropes Alternating Waves Split Jump

3. Battle Ropes Alternating Waves Squat

This exercise will target the lower body by adding bodyweight squats plus resistance to your upper body with alternating arm waves.

Build full body strength and endurance with this movement. 

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Hold the rope with your palms facing each other and stand, so the ropes have some slack.
  2. 2
    Place your feet in a solid stance with your feet at hip width.
  3. 3
    Start by creating alternative waves with your arms, and as you get into a rhythm, start squatting into a deep squat position.
  4. 4
    Hold the squat for 1-2 seconds in the bottom position, return to standing, and go straight into the next rep. Try to keep your arms going at the same pace while you perform the squats.
  5. 5
    Repeat for the desired amount of time or reps.
Battle Ropes Alternating Waves Squat

4. Battle Ropes Kneeling Alternating Wave

In terms of the upper body, this variation is the same as the standing alternating waves, but doing it from a kneeling position will reduce the work of the lower body and allows you to put more focus on the arms and shoulders.

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Hold the rope with your palms facing each other and stand so the ropes have some slack.
  2. 2
    Kneel on both knees on the floor and keep your torso upright.
  3. 3
    Raise your right arm and flick your wrist to create a wave with the rope, and as the arm is moving down, lift your left arm and repeat the same motion creating alternating waves.
  4. 4
    Repeat for the desired amount of time. 
Battle Ropes Kneeling Alternating Wave

5. Battle Ropes Half-Kneeling Wave

The half-kneeling variation of the battle rope waves sets you up so you are producing power from one glute and works your core more than the kneeling variation.

See Related - How To Anchor Battle Ropes At Home

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Hold the ropes in a neutral grip with your palms facing each other and stand so the ropes have some slack.
  2. 2
    Kneel on the floor with one foot forwards at a right angle and keep your torso upright.
  3. 3
    Raise your right arm and flick your wrist to create a wave with the rope, and as the arm is moving down, lift your left arm and repeat the same motion creating alternating waves.
  4. 4
    Work for 30 seconds with one leg in front, then switch sides.
Garage Gym Pro Tip: The arm on the same side as the forward leg should move outside the thigh, not the inside.
Battle Ropes Half-Kneeling Wave

6. Battle Ropes Seated Wave

The seated wave allows you to isolate the upper body only and remove the strength provided by your legs.

Your arms and shoulders will work harder in this seated variation.

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Hold the rope with your palms facing each other and stand so the ropes have some slack.
  2. 2
    Sit on the floor with your legs extended out in front and sit nice and tall. Try to maintain this upright position throughout the exercise.
  3. 3
    Raise your right arm and flick your wrist to create a wave with the rope, and as the arm is moving down, lift your left arm and repeat the same motion creating alternating waves.
  4. 4
    Repeat for the desired amount of time.
Battle Ropes Seated Wave

7. Battle Ropes High & Low Waves

The high and low battle rope waves are the same movements as the battle rope waves. However, the angle of your torso will determine the range of motion you can achieve in the shoulders.

High waves are done with an upright torso and create large waves, placing a lot of work on the upper body, such as the shoulders, arms, traps, lats, and chest.

Low waves are the opposite of high waves, with your torso angled forwards toward the floor.

This puts more emphasis on your arms and lower back and will decrease the range of motion.

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Hold the rope in a neutral grip with your palms facing each other and stand so the ropes have some slack.
  2. 2
    If performing high waves, stand in the athletic stance position with a quarter squat position with your torso upright.
  3. 3
    Extend your arms out in front and then perform the waves, alternating arms. Your hands should go as high as shoulder height and down to your thighs at the lowest point.
  4. 4
    If performing low waves, follow the same starting position instructions, but this time push your hips back and lean forward but be sure to keep your spine neutral.
  5. 5
    Perform waves that will be smaller and shorter than high waves and places a lot of work into the biceps.
Battle Ropes High & Low Waves

8. Battle Ropes Side Plank Wave

The side plank wave will work core stability while working each arm individually in a much more advanced battle rope exercise, with a significant focus on the obliques.

This movement is also a great alternative to standard side planks if you need to add more of a challenge to your core workouts.

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Get into a side plank and position yourself away from the rope, so there is some slack.
  2. 2
    Holding the rope in your free hand, perform waves using one arm, and support yourself on the opposite arm.
  3. 3
    Keep your core engaged to hold a strong plank position.
  4. 4
    Create waves for the desired amount of time and then switch sides.
Battle Ropes Side Plank Wave

9. Battle Ropes Double Arm Wave

Double waves use two arms together rather than creating alternating waves individually. This exercise is going to engage your core and build explosive power.

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Hold the ropes with your palms facing each other and stand so the ropes have some slack.
  2. 2
    Assume an athletic stance with feet shoulder-width apart, with a slight bend in your knees, and extend your arms in front.
  3. 3
    Raise your right and left arm up as high as you can and stand tall. At the same time, bring both ropes down together, creating a double wave with the ropes.
Garage Gym Pro Tip: Try to conserve energy here and not start too hard, as you will fatigue very quickly.
Battle Ropes Double Arm Wave

10. Battle Ropes Fly Whip

The fly whip differs from many battle rope exercises as rather than creating a vertical movement with the ropes.

You'll be moving the ropes horizontally. This fly movement has a large focus on the rear delts and the chest.

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Hold the ropes with your palms facing each other and stand so the ropes have some slack.
  2. 2
    Assume an athletic stance with feet shoulder-width apart and hold the ropes up at sternum height with a bend in the elbow.
  3. 3
    Whip the ropes out to each side away from each other while holding your elbow position, and then whip them back into the center.
  4. 4
    Make sure your hands don't bang together, and keep your hands up high.
Battle Ropes Fly Whip

11. Battle Ropes Side To Side

The battle ropes side to side incorporates a twisting motion which is going to work on the horizontal plane of the body.

This exercise is an anti-rotational exercise which means you need to resist twisting by keeping your hips square and your feet firmly planted.

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Hold the ropes in a neutral grip with your palms facing toward each other and stand so the ropes have some slack.
  2. 2
    Get into an athletic stance, in a quarter squat position, and firmly plant your feet.
  3. 3
    With your arms extended in front and a bend in the elbow, raise both hands together and forcefully swing the ropes to your right side, then use momentum to swing them to the left side. 
  4. 4
    Repeat for the desired amount of time or reps.
Garage Gym Pro Tip: Your torso might rotate slightly with this movement, but your feet should stay planted and your hips square at all times.
Battle Ropes Side To Side

12. Battle Ropes Russian Twist

Russian Twists are known as a great workout for your obliques.

Most people will do this exercise with a weight plate, kettlebells, or a medicine ball, but using the rope can add more of a challenge to your core.

This exercise is one of my favorite Russian twist substitutes since it really sets my obliques on fire. I recommend setting a timer for 30 seconds and doing as many reps as you can.

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Get into a seated position on the floor, your knees bent and your heels on the ground.
  2. 2
    Hold the ropes in an overhand grip with your hands together and start with both ropes on one side of your body.
  3. 3
    Lean your upper body back slightly to engage your core and move the ropes together over each side of your legs, making sure you are not twisting excessively.
  4. 4
    Repeat for the desired amount of time or reps.
Russian Twist Battle Ropes

13. Battle Ropes Lying T

The Lying T exercise is a great shoulder workout that will also target your upper back and your traps. This is effective in improving your posture.

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Lie on the floor face down and extend your arms out to your sides so that you make a T shape. Your arms should be straight.
  2. 2
    Squeeze your glutes and move your arms up and down. Make sure your lower back isn’t arching as you perform this movement.
  3. 3
    Repeat for the desired amount of time.
Garage Gym Pro Tip: This is a great exercise to use as a warm-up and to use if you want to improve posture, as it targets the shoulders, traps, and rear delts.
Battle Ropes Lying T

14. Battle Ropes Side Raise Slam

The side raise slam is similar to power slams, but incorporating the side movement will work more on the sides of your core to build a strong torso.

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Hold the ropes with your palms facing toward each other and stand so the ropes have some slack.
  2. 2
    Get into an athletic stance, knees slightly bent, and firmly plant your feet.
  3. 3
    With your arms extended in front, with a slight bend in the elbow, raise both hands up together and forcefully slam the ropes onto the ground. Raise them back to the center, then switch to the other side and slam them hard again.
  4. 4
    Repeat for the desired amount of time or reps.
Garage Gym Pro Tip: This is similar to the side-to-side exercise; however, with the slams, you want to create more power, which will fatigue you more quickly.
Battle Ropes Side Raise Slam

15. Battle Ropes Alternating Wide Circles

Creating circles with the rope will effectively build strength through your shoulders and shoulder stabilizer muscles.

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Hold the ropes with your palms facing toward each other and stand so the ropes have some slack.
  2. 2
    Get into an athletic stance and firmly plant your feet.
  3. 3
    Start with your hands together and take your right arm out in a circular motion and bring it back to the start position, then do the same with your left hand.
  4. 4
    Don’t let your hands bang together when the rope meets in the middle.
  5. 5
    Repeat alternating for the desired time, trying to go at a steady pace.
Battle Ropes Alternating Wide Circles

16. Battle Ropes Power Slam

Power slams are a hard exercise and can only be tolerated in short bursts with plenty of rest.

It is very high energy, and you'll feel both your upper body and legs working hard. If you want a challenge, then this exercise is for you.

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Hold the ropes in a neutral grip with your palms facing toward each other and stand so the ropes have some slack.
  2. 2
    Get into a quarter squat position and lean forward slightly.
  3. 3
    Raise your right and left arm up as high as you can and stand tall. At the same time, bring both ropes down together, then forcefully slam them into the ground as hard as you can and get back into the squat position.
  4. 4
    Repeat for the desired amount of time or reps.
Garage Gym Pro Tip: This exercise focuses on power production rather than endurance. Work hard for shorter bursts rather than trying to conserve energy.
Battle Ropes Power Slam

17. Jumping Jacks

Take jumping jacks to another level by using the rope to add more engagement to the shoulders, hips, and lower body.

It is a great variation to create more of a challenge to this bodyweight exercise.

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Hold onto the rope using an overhand grip and make sure there is slack in the rope.
  2. 2
    Start with your legs together and your arms down by your sides.
  3. 3
    Jump your legs out to the side, and raise your arms upwards, creating a half circle with the rope.
  4. 4
    Your feet and arms should move outwards simultaneously.
  5. 5
    Repeat for the desired amount of time or reps.
Battle Ropes Jumping Jacks

18. Battle Ropes Inside & Outside Circle

Once you have mastered creating waves, you can move in different motions, such as creating circles.

This exercise is great for targeting the shoulders, traps, chest, and stabilizer muscles in the shoulder.

Other benefits from this exercise are creating a better posture, pulling your shoulders back, and creating a stronger mid-back to combat rounding forwards from too much sitting and computer work. 

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Hold the ropes with your palms facing toward each other and stand so the ropes have some slack.
  2. 2
    Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width and firmly plant your feet.
  3. 3
    Start with your hands together and to create inside circles, move your hands outwards and then inwards, making a circular motion.
  4. 4
    To create outside circles, start with your hands apart and create a big circle motion by bringing your hands into the middle.
  5. 5
    Don't let your hands bang together when the rope meets in the middle.
Battle Ropes Inside & Outside Circle

19. Double Arm Wave with Burpee

Burpees are a love/hate exercise for most people. Bodyweight exercises like the burpee are hard but will get you results.

To get in a full-body workout that adds a bit more fire, then try adding in a burpee.

Also Check Out - Best Burpee Alternative Exercises

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Hold the ropes with your palms facing each other and stand so the ropes have some slack.
  2. 2
    Assume an athletic stance with feet hip-width apart, with a slight bend in your knees, and extend your arms in front.
  3. 3
    Raise your right and left arm up as high as you can. At the same time, bring both ropes down together, creating a double wave with the ropes for 20-30 seconds.
  4. 4
    Place the ropes on the floor and do 1 burpee, then pick the ropes up and make waves for another 20-30 seconds and repeat for the desired number of reps or time.
Double Arm Wave With Burpee

20. Jumping Squat Slams

If you want to incorporate more glutes into your battle rope workout, add a jump squat to get your lower body fired up. It won't take long to feel the burn with this exercise.

How To Perform:

  1. 1
    Hold the rope with your palms facing each other and stand so the ropes have some slack.
  2. 2
    Start the movement in a deep squat and jump up in the air, moving your arms upwards and slamming the ropes down as you land.
  3. 3
    Land back in a deep squat position and repeat jumping upwards and slamming the ropes.
  4. 4
    Repeat for the desired amount of time or reps.
Jumping Squat Slams

Benefits Of High-Intensity Battle Rope Exercises

Full-Body Workout

Battle ropes work every large muscle group at the same time, but it is particularly effective for your shoulders, arms, legs, glutes, and core.

It is a seriously effective full-body strength training method that is also great for promoting fat loss.

There are so many different ways to use the ropes and target a specific muscle group or to train everything in one go.

They are a very beneficial exercise that builds muscle and tests your endurance and cardiovascular fitness.

Learn More - 10 Reasons Why Battle Ropes Are Awesome

Improves Cardiorespiratory Fitness

Battle ropes not only build strength and muscle, but they will also give you a great cardio workout.

These exercises will test your cardio fitness levels as they elevate your heart rate very quickly.[2]

If you incorporate battle rope exercises in your training routine frequently, then you will become more efficient at training high-intensity and are going to be able to improve overall fitness levels.

This will have a great effect on other training or sports you do that require high power output.

Low Impact

Battle ropes offer a way to train endurance and strength if you need something that is low-impact but gives you great results.

If you have issues that mean you can't do high-intensity training, such as sprinting, then battle ropes are a great way to raise your heart rate.

A Battle rope workout routine doesn't cause a high impact on the joints or muscles, but they effectively build muscle and reduce body fat at the same time.

Exercises Can Be Done Sitting Down

If you are rehabbing an injury and need something modified and perhaps sitting, then battle ropes are a great choice because of how versatile these are.

You can work your upper body muscles really well by using battle ropes.

Build It Yourself - How To Make DIY Battle Ropes


Battle Rope Workout Guides

There are many different ways to use battle ropes that can work towards different goals.

In general, they are an excellent tool for developing explosive power and muscular endurance, promoting fat loss and core strength.

Warm Ups

Use the battle ropes to warm up for your strength training or specific battle rope routines but do not go too hard here; otherwise, you will tire yourself out.

HIIT Workouts

If you want to take HIIT sessions to the next level and really push yourself, then incorporate battle ropes for amazing results.

The ropes can form a stand-alone HIIT workout or as part of high-intensity whole-body sessions using free weights and bodyweight exercises as well.

Stand-Alone Workouts

This article has established that battle ropes can be used for a multitude of goals - strength, hypertrophy, and endurance.

Whatever your goal, the versatility of the ropes means that you can incorporate them into your workout.

Finishers

If you want to get in some cardio or core work after weight training, then battle ropes are a great way to elevate your heart rate and burn more calories.


Common Battle Rope Workouts Questions

Are battle rope exercises good for losing weight?

Using the ropes for fat loss goals is an excellent choice because of how hard you can work in a short space of time. A conditioning rope will help build muscle and burn fat at the same time, and they keep things interesting due to the large variations of exercises.

What muscles do battle ropes mostly work?

The battle ropes mostly target the shoulders, arms, traps, glutes, legs, and core. Training with battle ropes is a full-body workout and effectively target most muscles, build strength and muscle size, and improve cardiovascular health.

How do beginners use battle ropes correctly?

These giant ropes may look intimidating, but certain exercises are great for beginners. If you are just starting, then choose five battle rope exercises that target different muscles and make sure you learn proper form and get good at the basic waves before you try anything more challenging.  

How often should I use battle ropes per week?

Performing battle rope exercises can be done 2-3 times per week, depending on your goals. Because the ropes are a full-body workout, I would not recommend doing battle ropes daily as they are too fatiguing. Allow your body time to recover before doing your next workout.

How long should a battle rope workout be?

Training with battle ropes doesn't need to be much longer than 20-25 minutes, choosing a variety of rope drills. It all depends on what your specific goals are. For example, you might want to use the ropes for endurance, which would make the session longer, or if you want to work on explosive power, this workout would not be very long because it is so demanding. 


Conclusion

If you're looking to spend less time in the gym but become fitter, stronger, and more powerful, then incorporating battle rope workouts into your training is going to get you results.

Battle rope training is hard, and this is what helps get results.

There are plenty of exercises to choose from that will help you build full-body muscular endurance while promoting fat loss at the same time.

References: 

1. https://acewebcontent.azureedge.net/May_2020/ACE_BattleRopes.pdf
2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29847529/

Jo Taylor

Last Updated on December 17, 2022