Training Ropes

Using training ropes in your fitness routine provides a fun and unique type of training stimulus. The exerciser must train with a continuing velocity by using their arms to maintain a wave-like motion throughout the entire length of the rope leaving no lull in action!  Of course this is easier said then done…even highly fit exercisers are shocked at the difficulty of maintaining the wave for as little as 20 seconds their first time using it!

Training ropes come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 30-50′ in length, 1-2″ in diameter, and 12-40 lbs in weight. Basically, the larger the rope, the more challenging it is to keep it moving.  More advanced exercisers will find the medium to larger rope as the most ideal (40-50’/20+ lbs).  And if you are just beginning a fitness program the shorter/lighter rope (30-40’/up to 20 lbs) will provide plenty of challenge.

Of course implementing training ropes into your fitness routine has many physical benefits. Cardiovascular endurance increases,  noticeable improvements in strength and power are found, and a rope workout is a great calorie burner for individuals trying to improve body fat.  A variety of exercises and movements can be used at different angles and positions, giving you a complete and well-rounded workout.  So whether you are an MMA fighter, weekend warrior, or just looking for training variety…the ropes are an absolute must!


Circuit 1 – 3 sets @ 30 s/exercise. Rest 30-60 s between pairs

1. Alternating Waves x 30 seconds/Burpees x 30 seconds

2. Double Waves x 30 seconds/Split Jumps x 30 seconds

3. Circle Waves x 30 seconds/Iceskaters x 30 seconds

4. Flips x 30 seconds/Side shuffles x 30 seconds

Rest 2-3 minutes before moving to circuit 2

Circuit 2 – 3 sets @ 30 s/exercise.  Rest 30-60 s between pairs

1.  Alternating Circles x 30 seconds/Wall Acceleration Drill x 30 seconds

2.  In Outs x 30 seconds/Quick Feet x 30 seconds

3.  Big Waves x 30 seconds/Squat Jumps x 30 seconds

4.  Jumping Jacks x 30 seconds/Mountain Climbers x 30 seconds


Training tools to add variety to your workouts

It can be challenging to stay motivated with an exercise routine. The human body and mind have a certain threshold when it comes to doing the same thing over and over again, particularly with exercise.

The good news is you don’t have to limit yourself to free weights and cardio machines. Several training devices today are different, challenging and produce great training results.

I’m not talking about fad infomercial products such as the Shake Weight or the Ab Belt; these are the same training tools used by professional athletes. A few of my favorites include battling ropes, sandbags, weighted vests and the TRX Suspension Trainer.

They are versatile and will help improve cardiovascular endurance, strength, power, and burn fat.


These are also known as training ropes. They are used by implementing a whipping or circle motion with your arms that creates a “wave” in the rope. This results in a high metabolic demand to the body from the oscillation of the rope.  For more of a challenge, do simultaneous leg movements such as squats, walking or lunging. Battling ropes generally are from 30 to 50 feet long with a weight range of from 15 to 40 pounds. They are a great total-body training device that will tax your muscles and cardiovascular system.

Sample exercises:

  • Alternating waves
  • Double waves
  • Circles
  • Flips


This is a vest with adjustable weights, ranging anywhere from 10 to 100 pounds. Weight vests are nice because they distribute the load evenly throughout the body, giving more demand during body-weight exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups and squats. Plus, you still have the freedom to do combination exercises with free weights or other training tools.  Start with a vest about 5-10 percent of your body weight, then progress as you gain more strength and endurance.

Sample exercises:

  • Pull-ups
  • Push-ups
  • Squats with dumbbell curl and press
  • Lunge kicks


Sandbags come in a variety of sizes and allow the user to adjust the weight depending on his/her strength or skill level.  With a variety of different handles built in, this training tool can mimic most exercises performed with dumbbells, barbells and medicine balls. The key difference is the increased challenge to your grip and the shifting of the weight during exercises that you don’t experience with traditional free weights. As a result, there is a higher demand on your core and posture muscles to maintain stability, giving you an amazing total body workout.

Sample exercises:

  • Squat press
  • Rotational lunge
  • Bent-over row
  • Front squats


This is a body-weight training tool made from suspension straps. Attach the TRX to an overhead anchor point or door attachment and adjust the angle of your body to make exercises easier or more challenging.  The tool creates more demand on the core muscles and helps increase joint stability because the straps need to be controlled by the body. You can easily perform more than 100 exercises with the TRX, using it for strength training, cardio, balance and core.

Sample exercises:

  • Plank
  • Row
  • Suspended lunge
  • Tricep extension

For more info, check out the video demonstration of the exercises by clicking here.

Jason Wanlass, the owner of Monster Personal Training & Athletic Conditioning in Meridian, has more than 16 years experience in the fitness industry. Contact him at or