The 10 Best Battle Ropes
This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in September of 2015. Recognized for offering a high-intensity, low-impact workout that can challenge senior citizens and elite athletes alike, battle ropes have seen their popularity spike during recent years. Our selections for this category come in various lengths and thicknesses, and several of them include a mounting bracket, so you can hook your new equipment up to whichever wall is convenient. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 15, 2021:
While battle ropes remain an excellent way for everybody from non-athletes to elite athletes to get a great workout in, they’re also not exactly the sort of technology that venture capital firms are sinking massive research and development budgets into. With that in mind, I guess it isn’t that surprising that most of our previous picks continued to represent some of the best selections on the market, a year later. The only real exception to this was the Fitness Solutions Poly Dac, which we decided to phase out due to availability concerns.
In its place, we added the Hyperwear Hyper Rope to our list, which caught our eye with its bright-blue sheath, and held our attention with its flexible metal core. Despite being just 20 feet long (a shorter 15-foot version is also available), the additional resistance offered by its metal core promises to deliver a challenge that’s comparable to a traditional, 50-foot battle rope, yet it weighs only 15 pounds. As you can imagine, both its relative shortness and light weight are contributing factors in making this an extremely portable option, but it has to be said that this is also an exceedingly expensive choice, even when compared to the longer, 50-foot ropes it’s supposed to replace. It’s still fairly new to the market, so it was hard for us to gauge its durability, but by our next round of updates the available user reviews should be able to give us a better idea of how well this option will stand up to the chronic abuse administered by enthusiastic fitness junkies. For now, we gave it a spot midway down our list.
If you’ve already been working a battle rope for a while, and you’re looking for new ways to increase the challenge and gains it can offer you, then one simple implement that can really help tear your core up is a bosu ball.
March 18, 2020:
During this round of updates, we removed the NexPro Undulation due to availability issues, and eliminated the Giantex Undulation as we felt that our rankings already included an extremely similar offering. Further to that logic, the Zeny Black, Trademark Innovations TRNG-40 and EliteSRS Premium where all replaced by the AmazonBasics Exercise Training, which is virtually identical to all three of our previous selections, but offered at at a better price and backed by a one-year warranty.
Some of our new additions include the Perantlb Poly – a fully sheathed model that comes with an anchor bracket and straps, the Profect Sports Kit – a similar option that sets itself apart by offering a 2-1/2-inch grip size, and the Firebreather Kit – which doesn’t come with a full nylon sleeve, but does come with a 24-inch-by-36-inch poster detailing an array of exercises.
Some things to look for as you shop:
Rope Length: In general, I prefer working out with longer ropes because they seem to be less reactive (which is nice if you’re frequently switching motions while cycling through a circuit), but they aren’t always practical, as they take up more space. If you’re looking to outfit a relatively small area in your gym, or you’re hoping to pick up a reasonably portable option to bring to the park, there’s nothing wrong with deciding on a shorter rope. Just be aware that, since they are lighter, you will be cutting yourself some slack with a shorter option. Thirty feet seems to be a standard minimum length in this category, but some options far exceed this. The RopeFit Poly Dacron, for example, is available in lengths up to 100 feet.
Also, a friendly caveat that’s not intended to insult anybody’s intelligence: As battle ropes are typically folded in half for workouts, you will need to order a rope that’s twice the length of the distance you’re hoping for it to travel. So, order a 40-foot rope if you want it to cover a 20-foot mat. I realize this might sound obvious to some of you, but there also seems to be quite a lot of confusion surrounding this online.
Rope Width: Thicker ropes are not only tougher to hang onto, which helps improve the grip strength battle ropes are best known for building, but they’re also heavier, which means your muscles will need to work harder to swing them. While 1-1/2- and two-inch widths seems to be the accepted small and large sizes in this category, we did come across a couple exceptions during our research. Firstly, the AmazonBasics Exercise Training two-inch model actually has a 1.9-inch diameter, which seems to amount to the ropes weighing a few pounds less than they might have, but doesn’t appear to make a massive difference. Secondly, the Project Sports Kit sets itself apart from the pack by offering an extra-large, 2-1/2-inch rope, for mixed martial artists and unabashed gym rats that prize grip strength highly.
Rope Grip: Most options in this category have some sort of heat-shrink on each end, which helps prevent the rope from unraveling and also serves as a handle. Needless to say, palms tend to get sweaty during extended rounds on these ropes, so slippage is a factor. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to look for a longer handle that lets you choke up on it a bit. While seven-inch grips, as found on the Bonnlo Strength Training, seem to be among the smaller handles found in this category, others, like the nine-inch handles on the Perantlb Poly and the 10-inch handles on the Garage Fit Single Anchor, are significantly longer.
Hercules Bulk Ropes If you're looking for a specific length of rope that will fit just right into a particular space, this company might be worth investigating. Its website lets you order custom ropes of any length up to 100 feet, but it should be noted that this method costs quite a bit more than selecting one of their nominal-length options. bulkropes.com
Fix My Fitness Club Inertia Wave This lightweight alternative to traditional battle ropes promises to be more durable and weighs less than three pounds, which really improves on a typical rope's portability. The Solo model is suitable for single-person workouts, while the Duo version is designed for training with a partner. inertiawave.com
Who Uses Battle Ropes (& Why)
Beyond that, battle ropes are a tremendous resource for sneaking in a full-body workout even if you're on-the-go.
Most people associate battle ropes with strength training, which is accurate. But anyone who has used these ropes will attest to the fact that they are great for burning fat, and they provide an intense cardiovascular workout, as well. The majority of battle rope drills involve some form of repetitive motion, with the constant rhythm of both ropes forcing a wide range of muscles to respond.
This might explain why boxers and wrestlers use battle ropes for arm strength and overall conditioning. Mixed martial artists, in particular, use battle ropes to perform side-to-side drills, many of which simulate the grappling motion necessary to lift an opponent, and then flail him to the ground. A lot of football players use battle ropes for a similar reason (i.e., to simulate the strength and motion necessary to tackle a running back, head-on).
Swimmers and rowers use battle ropes to tighten up their coordination and timing. Battle ropes, much like swimming, possess the ability to work both the upper- and the lower-body. Battle ropes also possess the ability to harness resistance-based strength, which is a requisite part of rowing in the water.
Everyday fitness enthusiasts enjoy battle ropes because they represent a one-stop shop for burning fat while building muscle and endurance. Beyond that, battle ropes are a tremendous resource for sneaking in a full-body workout even if you're on-the-go.
Several Basic Battle Rope Drills To Get You Started
The simplest way to get comfortable with a pair of battle ropes is by doing a bicep exercise called The Double Wave. All that's required for The Double Wave is to move both arms up and down in unison, as if you're handling the reins of a stagecoach. Keep your arms and feet parallel to your shoulders and practice that same up-and-down motion until you've hit a rhythm. If you're doing this exercise correctly, both ropes should be moving like a pair of parallel waves toward the wall.
Start out in the same resting position as all of the above exercises, then bring both ropes up as high as you can, before slamming them down to the ground.
Once you've gotten comfortable with the Double Wave, you can work on coordination - along with your abs - by bringing one arm up to shoulder-level, then dropping that arm just as you raise the other arm. This is essentially the same motion as The Double Wave with the only difference being that your arms are alternating. Assuming your form is correct, both ropes should look like dueling waves - one chasing the other straight down the line. You can work the glutes and obliques by squatting lower as you go.
Assuming you want to work the shoulders, start doing the Double Wave while moving both arms outward, slowly. Once you can't stretch any further, start bringing both arms in (until your wrists are about to touch). This is a difficult exercise, and it may require some practice. For the time being, just concentrate on getting in a handful of repetitions while demonstrating proper form.
As your skills improve, you may want to attempt a battle rope drill called The Slam. Start out in the same resting position as all of the above exercises, then bring both ropes up as high as you can, before slamming them down to the ground. Lift back up, hold, and then slam both ropes back down again. Now you're working the forearms, the biceps, the shoulders, the glutes, the hamstrings, and the lower back. This drill has remarkable benefits. But beware. It's a lot more punishing than it seems.
What Do I Need to Consider Before Buying a Pair of Battle Ropes?
The first thing you'll need to consider before purchasing a pair of battle ropes is space. Yes, battle ropes come in different sizes, but in order for these ropes to have any impact, you'll need a pair - and a space - that runs at least 20 ft. wide.
More often than not, this means casting iron hooks - or an iron bar - into a wall.
Next, you'll need to find something capable of anchoring these ropes to. More often than not, this means casting iron hooks - or an iron bar - into a wall. If you have a weight bench that's been soldered to the floor, then you may be able to use that bench's forks to anchor a pair of battle ropes. The bottom line is whatever you use to anchor battle ropes, it needs to be immovable and secure.
Once you've squared away logistics, you'll need to give some thought to weight. Choosing the correct weight for a pair of battle ropes is a bit like by choosing the correct weight for a set of kettlebells. The goal is to strike a balance between a weight that you feel comfortable starting at and a weight that you'd eventually like to work up to.
Most battle ropes are available in increments of 10 lbs (i.e., 20, 30, 40, etc.). Generally speaking, you'll want to purchase a pair of ropes that are heavy, as heavy ropes allow for leaving a few feet of extra weight on the ground. As your upper-body strength increases, you can continue to challenge yourself by either performing more difficult battle rope drills, or performing the same drills for an extended period of time.