A secret training tool of football players and combat arts specialists has hit the mainstream. Battle ropes -- long, thick braids of heavy rope -- weigh between 16.5 and 44 pounds. They run 1.5 to 2 inches thick and 30 to 100 feet in length. The types made for fitness centers feature rubber handles at each end so you can grip them as you wave and slam the ropes to build power, endurance and stamina. The number of calories you burn using the ropes depends on your size, power capacity and fitness level. The larger, stronger and fitter you are -- the more calories you burn.
As Much as Running
Battle ropes require a lot of energy to wave, twirl and cross. A battle ropes workout burns as many calories as a running or a high-intensity interval workout. For a 155-pound person, this means sizzling as much as 10 calories per minute -- more if you are heavier and slightly less if you are lighter.
How Long Can You Go?
A battle ropes workout has the potential to burn 600 or more calories in an hour, but rope workouts aren't designed or intended to last that long. You're more likely to encounter workouts that last 10 to 20 minutes and that consist of intervals of high intensity followed by intervals of lower intensity. Of course, the longer you do maintain a high intensity, the more calories you'll burn.
Integration With Your Existing Routine
Don't let the dazzle of a high-calorie burn throw you off your normal routine. If you're just adding battle ropes to your fitness repertoire, you're best off starting modestly and working your way up to extended sessions. For example, “Men's Fitness” recommends starting out with three sets of 30-second intervals of waves with 45 seconds of rest between them. Perform these short sets to augment your current strength and cardio routine, not to replace it entirely.
As you become stronger and your stamina increases, lengthen your work intervals and shorten the rest times. Simple waves of the rope are enough to challenge your whole body and heart. Once you master this move, you might add alternating waves, slams, criss-cross movements, rotations, as well as grip and body-position changes. You may not burn more calories with these moves, but you will keep the workouts interesting and continue to challenge your body in new ways.
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