8 Battle Rope Exercises For Lean Arms And Strong Shoulders

Dec 19, 2016 //

Are you brave enough to tackle the battle ropes? Let off some steam while sculpting toned triceps, biceps and shoulders with this crazy-effective, crazy-fun workout.

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If you haven’t tried it yet, get ready — battle ropes are intense, but wildly fun. Not only do the ropes work out your arms, shoulders, abs, and legs, but they also provide a conditioning aerobic workout that will rev your metabolism and get you burning fat and calories.

Battle ropes are heavy ropes that vary in weight, thickness, and length. The most commonly used ropes are 50’ long, 1 ½” to 2” in diameter, and can weigh 28 to 53 pounds. Most gyms these days have a set of battle ropes or several, typically anchored to a wall, wrapped around a sturdy beam or pole, or even threaded through the handle of a heavy kettle bell.

By waving, whipping, and slamming battle ropes, you will get an intense workout that pays particular attention to the upper body, carving out lean, sculpted arms and shoulders. As an added bonus, they also work out your back and your lower body if you’re squatting down for added power.

Ready to battle? Grab a rope and try these eight battle rope exercises.

Double Wave

This perfect beginner move is easy to execute.

  • Stand facing the anchor with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Hold one end of rope in each hand, palms facing in.
  • Bend knees slightly and brace core.
  • Raise and lower arms simultaneously to create waves in ropes.

Shoulder Circles

Work your shoulders and upper body with this challenging twist on the double wave.

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
  • Grasp the rope with palms facing down.
  • Lift arms over your shoulders, and move your arms in large circles.
  • Circle clockwise first, then counter-clockwise.

Shoulder Press

Use your battle ropes to do a TRX-style shoulder press.

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart.
  • Hold ropes on shoulders.
  • Move away from anchor until there is tension on rope.
  • Press the ropes upward as you straighten arms overhead.
  • Bring ropes back down to the start position.

Snakes On The Floor

Better on the floor than on a plane, right? Again, slight variations in height and movement can mean a big difference in terms of muscles worked.

  • Face anchor, stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  • Hold ropes by your side.
  • Lower to squat.
  • Raise arms wide, parallel to floor.
  • Move arms in toward one another, then out and away to create wavy snake-like movements with ropes.

5. Alternating Wave

Advance your double wave with this technique.

  • Face anchor, feet shoulder width-apart.
  • Hold one end of rope in each hand with palms facing in.
  • Bend knees, and brace core.
  • Raise one arm, and then lower while raising the other arm to create two alternating waves.
  • Bonus move: Lower to a squat for low alternating wave

6. Power Slams

Tough day at the office? Time to get aggressive and really slam it out!

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart
  • Grasp ends of rope in each hand, raise both arms up overhead.
  • Lower into high squat as you slam ropes into the ground.
  • Straighten to standing, raising arms and repeat.
  • Bonus move – Hold ropes to left side of body and slam down to outside of knees and feet. Alternate to right side then back again for Side to Side Slam.

7. Claps

Your workout deserves some applause, don’t you think?

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart.
  • Grasp ends of rope in each hand, palms facing each other.
  • Lower into squat, raising arms to chest level parallel to floor.
  • “Clap” arms, bringing hands towards one another, then away.

8. Figure Eights

Work your obliques without doing a single crunch.

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart.
  • Lower into a high squat.
  • Grasp ends of rope in each hand, holding ropes to the left side of body.
  • Raise rope to shoulder height on left side of body.
  • Moving arms across the body, slam rope to the ground in front of right foot.
  • Raise rope to right shoulder height, slam down in front of left foot.
  • Continue alternating. The ropes will make a Figure 8 shape in front of you.


Crank up the intensity of your battle rope exercises by making them battle-plyo exercises. Add explosive jumps, squats, and lunges into the exercises listed above. For example, turn the shoulder press into a plyo exercise by squatting, then jumping up to an overhead press. Step back into lunges while performing an alternating wave, or add a jump squat.

Battle Rope HIIT

Battle ropes are a perfect for incorporating into a HIIT-style routine. Perform each battle wave exercise for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds before moving to the next. Combining battle ropes with HIIT will provide a fat burning session that will burn fat and help shape your entire body, not just your arms.

Battle ropes are the ticket to lean, sculpted arms and shoulders. If you haven’t tried them yet, it’s time to battle.