Ropes are nothing new. Neither are battles. So it’s sort of surprising that one of the latest trends in fitness is an old-school piece of gear.
That’s right: After years of being confined to martial arts gyms and football training rooms, weighted battle ropes are finally entering the mainstream—and that means it’s time to add them to your fitness routine.
“Battle ropes offer full body strength training as well as cardio,” says Danielle Hopkins, a master trainer at Printing House Equinox in New York City and the creator of the gym’s popular Ropes & Rowers program. “They’re especially great for targeting your core and upper body, since those are your primary movers in battle rope training.”
Battle ropes are valuable for guys looking to build muscle (or simply change up their routines) without turning to ultra-heavy weights. Because ropes create forces and tension from angles that are harder to achieve with basic weight training, they confuse and surprise your muscles into making new gains.
Most fitness supply stores carry battle ropes now—look for nylon ropes with rubber ends, which make it easier to grip the rope with sweaty hands. But if you’re the old-school type—or just prefer the vintage look in your at-home sweatbox—you can always run down to your nearest hardware store and pick up about 50 feet of nylon or manila rope about 1.5 to 2 inches thick.