Rope Training – A Form Of HIIT

group climbing ropes

Dayton Kelly

This article was adapted from a combination of speeches given at the European Sports Science Conference 2017, most notably Wright, P. et al. [United Kindoms].

Breaking out the ropes: a shortcut to quick gains

A major shift toward health promotion and fitness has prompted a number of new ideas in the sports medicine community for improving performance outcomes. Some of these interventions have displayed great efficacy in improving fitness, while others have not had as much success. A new form of exercise we think would be worth trying is rope training.

Related Article: HIIT Is Beneficial For All Ages

What is rope training?

Rope training is a form of high-intensity interval training. In fact, rope training is high-intensity interval training but implements thick ropes as tools for exercising. You might have seen such ropes at your local cross fit gym or elsewhere in your community. By securing the rope at its center (behind a pole perhaps) and holding an end in each hand, one can make whipping vertical motions with the arms and shoulders to create waves in the rope.

Sounds easy? Wrong. Rope training is incredibly metabolically demanding when performed at high intensity for a series of brief time periods. By sitting into a squat position while whipping the rope, the exercise will draw on near every muscle in your body to create power in the thrashing motion and maintain balance. Such a movement can be made increasingly difficult by thrashing each end of the rope in synchrony as opposed to making alternating movements (one end of the rope is up while the other is down). A number of different movements are available to rope training including jumping jacks while holding ends of the rope, horizontal waving motions, and burpies; the possibilities are limited by your imagination.

Related Article: 90 Seconds A Day of HIIT Might Be All You Need

What evidence do we have?

Part of the reason rope training comes so highly recommended is because it has displayed greater fitness improvements with high-intensity training protocol than similar protocol employed on exercise machines. Rope based training displayed greater increases in strength and improved dynamic and static balance as compared to machine based training, despite the machine intervention being 90 minutes, while the ropes were only 60 minutes. Although this research is brand new, such a result is compelling enough to have us suggest you try incorporating rope based training into your daily fitness routine.

Application:

Try incorporating rope based training into your next high-intensity workout. We suggest 3 sets of 5 minutes, 20 seconds on, 40 seconds off at maximal intensity. Give it a try! We are confident this workout will leave you with the burning in your arms you’ve been searching for.

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