Sports Training & Conditioning Zone!

Battling Ropes Rope Fighting Drills

John Brookfield

by John Brookfield
Creator of the Battling Ropes Training System

As many people know the Battling Ropes Training System is an extremely vast progressive system with many training concepts that can be implemented in countless ways. The training can of course be used to train by yourself as an individual or it can be used to keep a large group or team engaged in a powerful way. In this article I will show you a simple extremely effective method to push yourself, your client or your team to the extreme. Even though I say to the extreme, this method can be tailor made for anyone to implement in a safe manner. However, I also use it to push elite athletes and competitors to their utmost.

This simple effective method is called rope fighting or often times pile manipulation. Usually I hold true to calling a particular method, drill or exercise by one name to standardize it, however with this one either will do. Generally for this training method a fifty foot 1.5 diameter Battling Rope works best but a 2 inch diameter rope can also be used. The rope fighting drills can also be done anywhere with no anchor point whatsoever. An open field, the weight room, the basketball court or your garage or backyard. In fact I have even seen it done inside an upstairs apartment.

Once you have your rope and your chosen spot simply throw your rope in a pile on the floor with the two handles out where you can grasp them. It does not really matter how the rope is piled on the ground. Now while grasping the handles either overhand or underhand start to  thrust the handles up and down in a powerful manner. This of course will start moving and manipulating the pile of rope. The more velocity and power you generate the more rope will be moving in the pile. Your goal is to keep the entire rope moving at all times where no rope is resting on the floor. To manipulate and move the entire pile will require a good amount of power and will also require a good amount of velocity to keep it moving over time.

The rope fighting forces you to engage to the utmost and the visible motivation is huge as you fight to keep the pile moving over time without it slowing down or stopping. The great thing about this method is that even though many people can't engage and move the entire pile, however they can see how much rope is moving and see the rope slowing down as they tire and loose their velocity output. This greatly motivates the athlete and pushes them harder and they will notice more and more rope being engaged as they continue to use this workout method. For example, you may see about fifty percent of the pile move the first workout and after a couple of weeks using this method you will see more and more of the rope engaged until hopefully you will be able to manipulate the entire pile in the near future.

There are many drills I use with the rope fighting method. For example, you can stand still and create the power without moving around or you can move all around the room or field doing the drills. By adding the foot movements you will really push your cardiovascular levels and fight to resist fatigue from setting in. You can move laterally, forwards, backwards or even circle the pile of rope as you create the force to keep the rope manipulated and moving at all times. You will find that different surfaces will feel different as far as how hard it is to manipulate the pile of rope. For example, a wooden floor will be much easier than a grassy surface, however the surface does not matter only how much of the pile you can move and for how long.

You can also vary your grips on the rope and use an underhanded grip for awhile, then an overhanded grip and then use alternating hands. By using alternating hands to move the pile you will quickly see any imbalance you may have on one side.  In fact there is probably no athlete in the world who has naturally equal strength, speed, endurance, dexterity and coordination on each side. Many have huge differences which can quickly be found while doing the alternating handed waves on the ropes. The rope fighting drills really demands full output which exposes these imbalances, however also seems to always correct the imbalances over time as you persist with the training. This benefit of having equal strength, speed, endurance, dexterity and coordination will greatly enhance performance and also greatly reduce your chance of injury due to being properly balanced on both sides.

As far as performing the rope fighting drills you can either go as hard as you can for short bursts and then rest briefly and then repeat the explosive bursts again and again. You can also work to sustain and increase your work capacity levels by starting hard and once you get fatigued and want to stop resist this fatigue and continue working at an easier pace until you recover slightly and then explode hard again engaging the pile of rope. This is my preferred way to train which will drastically increase your work capacity and also teach you to relax under distress which few athletes are able to do properly.

A simple way to start this method is to set a duration goal for the rope fighting and commit to it. Fight through the urge to quite and sustain the rope fighting while trying to stay as mentally relaxed as possible. After implementing this method for awhile you will find you can go longer and longer durations while maintaining your intensity levels. You will find that the rope fighting drills will transfer into absolutely any sport or battlefield you will face. You will gain not only a physical advantage but also a mental advantage which is crucial. This comes from the simple fact that with the Battling Ropes Training System methods your mind and body are constantly engaged and you must maintain the intensity at all times. Good luck and good rope fighting.