Training Ropes: Adding Fun and Ease to Group Fitness Training
If you are not using training ropes in your group workouts, you are missing out! Training ropes are one of the best tools you can have in your arsenal for fitness. They are versatile, low-impact, and many fitness levels and ages can enjoy the benefits of working with training ropes.
What are training ropes?
Essentially it’s a long thick rope with handles. The length, diameter, and material will differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. From a training standpoint these variations are important to take into consideration before implementing them into your training program. I’ll touch more on that later.
These long ropes with handles are usually wrapped around an anchor of some sort. You can buy anchors specifically for mounting the ropes to the walls of your facility or you can simply wrap it around anything that won’t move such as a rack, pole, or tree.
How are training ropes used?
There are many, many, exercises and progressions, but I’m just going to give you a starting point and an example of ways to adjust the intensity. The primary rope exercise we use is rope waves. Assume an athletic stance with one handle in each hand and make a drumming movement avoiding rounding of the shoulders and upper back . Using that as an example: if I wanted to increase the difficulty I might add squats to this movement, if I wanted to decrease the difficulty I would simply have the client drop one handle and do waves with only one side of the rope. That’s pretty much the ease of coaching ropes. If you would like more examples of exercises that can be done with battling ropes, click the link at the bottom of the page.
What are the benefits of training ropes in group exercise?
Ropes are hands down the number one way to get an individual with a knee or foot injury some high intensity, low-impact conditioning. How many of you have clients with lower body injuries they have acquired at some time in their life? How many times have you wanted to get that heart rate up a little more without, bending, twisting, jumping, running, over head, or lateral movement? J Sometimes it’s hard to come up with “that exercise” on the fly while coaching a group session. Ropes make that really easy.
Children love them! Child and teenage athletes are full of energy and spunk! Any new addition to the gym is immediately noticed and inspected. Hand them a training rope and say “grip it and rip it” and watch the smiles. From a trainer’s standpoint, training ropes are an excellent way to start to introduce maintaining good posture through vigorous movements. We usually line the younger children up each with one handle, two kids to a rope. That also helps incorporate sharing. J
The biggest, baddest, most ninja like athlete will get smoked. Training ropes are great for injured and young populations but that does not make them easy to do. You, the coach, even with a shorter, lighter rope, control the intensity of the training. There are many, many progressions that can be applied to any training rope exercise. Again, click the link at the bottom of the page for 20 example rope exercises.
It is easy to coach. Any client can rip some rope waves in a group session. With the world of training advancing and more and more trainers are becoming more form intensive, this is a tool that involves minimal cuing.
What do you need to know before using training ropes?
When you look into introducing training ropes into your toolbox, you want to take into consideration who your primary population is. At our facility we train a very mixed population and went for ropes that would literally work for anyone. We use the poly ropes because they are a little lighter than nylon. They are also water resistant which makes them great for using outside. As far as size, 1’ to 1 1/2’ diameters are usually best. 2’+ diameter rope can be hard to hang on to and is usually too heavy for most people to use in good form. The length can affect this as well. The longer the rope the heavier it is. Length is a little less important than diameter and material when it comes to training intensity. How much space you have is a better dictator of how long of a rope you need.
Our friend Justin Yule put together a great video on rope exercises. Check out training ropes in action at http://discounttrainingropes.weebly.com/
I hope this article might inspire you to take advantage of one of my must haves when coaching group sessions. Increase your client retention by developing strength, power, and endurance with this fun, easy to learn how to use fitness tool.