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Revive Your Routine With Heavy Rope Training

Get your paws on some industrial-strength hawsers for a muscle-toning metabolic workout like no other.

At some point in every guy’s life, it’s time to make a change. Whether it’s a new job, new apartment, or a new car, sometimes you have to make a move—and your fitness regimen is no exception.

It won't just help you stay excited about your routine—it'll help prevent you from plateauing, too.

Adding an unconventional training technique to your fitness regimen will not only add life to your workouts, it’ll shock different muscles into action. Originally developed for specific combat sports like football and mixed martial arts, heavy rope training—or "rope battling"—is making it mainstream. If you’re looking for highly effective, back-to-basics type of conditioning that brings a new twist to your fitness routine, this is it.

Along with increasing your strength, power and endurance, the constant motion of rope battling will floor you with a muscle-toning, metabolic workout unlike any other. You’ll be shocked at how fast a few quick whips can get you to your maximum heart rate. Here is how to get the heavy rope working for you:

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All You Need

Unlike those flimsy infomercial contraptions or expensive home workout machines, heavy rope training requires just one sturdy, low-cost piece of equipment: rope. Don’t have one? No problem. Head to your local hardware store and get yourself about 50 feet of manila or nylon rope (1.5 to 2 inches in thickness). Manila is probably best because it’s sturdy and will stand up to the weekly pounding you put it through. You’re also going to need something to anchor the rope. Whether it’s a pole, post, tree, or sturdy weight rack, loop the rope around it to give you two even lengths, holding one end in each hand. If it’s a person, have them grab the rope at the middle and make sure they’re strong enough to handle the fury coming their way. Whatever anchor you use, be sure it’s secure.

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Make Some Waves

There are tons of pulse-pounding heavy rope exercises to ramp up your cardio and build your core strength. Common movements include waves, slams, throws, spirals and whips. All involve swinging your arms up and down (or side to side) in some manner for timed intervals.

To maximize your efforts, focus on maintaining the intensity of the motion from start to finish, no matter how much it burns—and it’s definitely going to burn. Start out doing 3 sets of 30-second intervals with 45 seconds of rest in between. As you get stronger and your conditioning improves, you can increase the duration of the move and decrease the rest times. With each of these exercises, you want to create a solid base by planting your feet in a shoulder width stance and stabilizing your core. You’ll quickly discover that these exercises engage not just your arms and shoulders, but your whole body.

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The Motions:

Around the World

Keeping your arms together, make a large circular clockwise motion. Reverse direction of rope halfway through interval.

Double Wave

Gripping each end of the rope firmly with both hands, start swinging your arms up and down at the same time to create a parallel wavelike motion with the rope. Maintain the velocity and flow of the waves for entire interval.

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Alternating Waves

Use the same technique as double waves, only alternate the up and down movement of each arm.

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Slams

Firmly grasping the rope in each hand, bring the rope overhead and slam it down with full force onto the ground. You can also bring one arm down at a time to create alternate arm slams.

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Grappler Throw

Keep feet grounded and pivot torso from side to side. During each pivot, flip the ropes over as if you were throwing them to the floor on each side of you. This movement should also create a wavelike motion with the ropes.

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