Battle ropes are set to be the most popular fitness trend for a second year running, but how do you know where to start?

We asked the pros. 
Battle Ropes How To Use Them In The Gym

Are you ready to try the latest fitness craze? If so, it's time to get acquainted with battle ropes: the underrated (and under-used) gym equipment that's guaranteed to give you a workout with a difference.

For starters, it's actually fun. And it uses way more energy (in a shorter duration) than slogging away on the treadmill, as well as building core strength and improving your mobility. Also, it's wildly therapeutic. Had a bad day at work? Take it out on the gym floor, literally. 

Perhaps the question ‘Won’t I look silly using battle ropes?' has already entered your mind. It's OK, we get it. They're certainly not the most subtle of equipment on offer, which can be particularly unnerving if you're new to the gym anyway. 

That's why GLAMOUR has consulted the experts: we chatted to Nicola Adams – that's right, Double Olympic Gold Medallist and LGBTQIA+ activist – and Meggan Grubb – a qualified personal trainer and founder of the Beyond app – to find out why battle ropes are so good for you, and how you can get involved. We also spoke to Hannah Lewin, a size-inclusive personal trainer, for her advice on overcoming nerves in the gym. 

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What do battle ropes do?

Meggan Grubb explains that battle ropes can be used for any fitness goal you’re aiming for, “from losing weight, working on existing muscle and endurance training.” She explains, "If you only have a limited 15-20 minutes for a HIIT session then [battle ropes are] a great option to incorporate in, as they’re super tough but quick to do!

“Another great benefit is the likelihood of injury for this exercise is low, so if you’re the kind of person who looks at a piece of gym equipment and worries about dropping it on you or falling off, then the battle ropes are perfect!”

Nicola Adams, whose extraordinary fitness levels have earned her two Olympic gold medals, is also a huge fan of the battle ropes. She told GLAMOUR, “[Battle ropes provide] a high-intensity workout which requires your body to breathe a lot heavier than normal which in turn improves your cardiovascular capacity. It also improves your coordination, timing and balance.”

How do I use battle ropes?

Meggan explains how to get the most out of using battle ropes, saying, “Pick up a rope in each hand and ensure the palms of your hands are facing inwards.”

For beginners, she recommends “starting off with an ‘alternating waves’ movement," in which you “bend your knees [while] leaning forward, whip the first rope with one arm to create the ‘wave’ pattern with all your strength and then do the same movement with the alternating rope and continue this for 20 seconds on, 20 seconds off, starting at a total time of 2 minutes.” 

Meggan adds, “I’d recommend using the battle ropes as a finisher which is a great way to finish a workout on a high! To really push yourself (or for a more advanced battle rope workout), try up to 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off for 5-10 minutes.”

Nicola agrees, adding that, “After 30 seconds, you start to lose form and you want to keep form so you can keep a high intensity of work rate. A good workout is to alternate between lowering and raising your left and right hand while slamming the rope down. So, as the left side goes up the right side goes down and vice versa for 20-30 seconds. In terms of sets, do 5 sets. 20 seconds on and 30 seconds rest.”

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What if I'm too nervous to use the battle ropes? 

It's natural to feel a little self-conscious or intimidating when using gym equipment you're not familiar with. Here's Hannah Lewin's top tips for overcoming nerves: 

  1. Ensure you are head to a gym with a plan that you feel confident to perform – it will really help! There are usually PT’s located on the gym floor who can help you, and lots of online resources. (Just be sure to check that the person providing the information is qualified to do so.)
  2. Remember that EVERYONE had a first time at the gym!
  3. Classes can be a great way of easing in to things – there will be an instructor available to help, plus everyone will be focusing on them!

When it comes to using battle ropes, Hannah says, “Have fun with them! Try Battle rope waves first – they are a really good place to start and will allow you to develop confidence to try other moves out.

“Remember that battle ropes are tough! You may tire more quickly than you think you might and this is totally normal. Ensure you nail that form, and always ask for help if you need.”

Nicola Adams adds, “Using new equipment can be daunting but remember, you’re not alone! Everyone needs to start somewhere – practice and consistency is key.”

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For more from Glamour UK's Lucy Morgan, follow her on Instagram @lucyalexxandra.