Why I love … battle ropes

Glasgow-based personal trainer Jordan Iain McCurrach shares the appeal of using battle ropes for a workout

How did you come across battle ropes?

I have always been interested in functional training, which is the use of movement patterns that mimic how we use the body from day to day. So exercises using battle ropes (which are essentially two weighted ropes anchored to a pole or wall), medicine slam balls and box jumps have always been staple favourites for both my own training and that of clients. While you might assume battle ropes are just to be used to tone the arms there is a huge amount of exercises you can do with them to target different muscle groups – while providing a cracking cardio workout too.

How do you use the ropes?

To get the most of out battle ropes grab the handles and play around with different rhythms and directions. A combination of double-arm slams (hold a rope in each hand, lift it and slam it down) and single-arm waves (take a rope in one hand, then raise and drop your arm to create a wave) followed by some jumping jacks (hold and move the ropes as you do so) is a great starting point. Finish off your session with some squat slams (squat while slamming the ropes down) and alternating plyometric lunges (slam the ropes while you lunge) and there’s your full-body workout done. It’s important to be taught to use the ropes correctly to get the maximum benefit and not cause an injury.

What are the health benefits?

Used correctly, at the right intensity, battle ropes are an extremely beneficial way of developing functional strength while importantly allowing each arm to work independently. This can often highlight and hopefully over time even out any strength imbalances in the body, while also improving core stability, and testing mental and physical stamina.

Why do people like them?

For those perhaps completely fresh to the gym and not yet confident venturing into the weights room, battle ropes are a nice way of using the muscles without having to pick up dumbbells or barbells. They can also be a brilliant way to switch things up for those who have been training for longer and need a new challenge.

Do they appeal to anyone in particular?

You know the saying: “It’s always the quiet ones”? I find that rings true with battle ropes, boxing and medicine ball slams. Some clients come in after a busy day at work and just want to release all that tension on the ropes. The tempo can often change when I cue them to think of that certain person in their office …

How did you become a personal trainer?

I love problem solving and with my job I get to help clients discover their own strengths and weaknesses, then work with them to improve on them. I love exploring the limits that the body has and improving the mobility and functionality of it. The importance of a healthy mind cannot be overestimated. For me, feeling strong is what I love about regular exercise. With this come the challenges and celebrations about what your body can achieve.

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