Crossfit took the fitness industry by storm more than a decade ago, and has improved the attitude and use of high intensity training, interval training, and mixing cardio with heavy weights.
It has also come with its fair share of issues, but with those issues, Crossfit coaches and gyms are searching and pursuing more education and improvements in programming, exercise selection, and modalities to continue to improve the quality of their coaching and programs.
One of the modalities that I have noticed being added to Crossfit gyms (as well as all other gyms and facilities), is battle ropes. This increase of battle ropes in all gyms, including Crossfit boxes, comes with an intrinsic need for education about this tool. For although it seems intuitive (for many exercises with the battle rope, it is) I have not seen an understanding of this highly versatile (albeit misunderstood) training tool.
One of the biggest issues, I have noticed is using the tool like one would use weights, by trying to create resistance through tension, which actually hinders the ability to use the battle rope effectively, and increases the chance for injury.
In this article, I wanted to give the lowest hanging fruit for Crossfit athletes looking to sharpen their edge with the battle rope, and hopefully open the door for many more fruitful conversations in the future.
Here are the top three reasons battle ropes can help your Crossfit training and workouts:
#1 - Training Movement Variability
Being able to increase variability of human movement can reduce the potential for injury and increases the potential of human performance from a nervous standpoint.
Think about this from a common sense standpoint with just one potentially injure-prone joint--the ankle. If I can teach my ankle (toes, foot, and ankle) to handle force and produce force in as many directions and positions as possible, I will be able to handle more stress, I will have more coordination, and I can potentially reduce the chance for injuries that can come with repetitive movements.
This is HUGE for the any athlete that is looking for an edge and constantly pushing themselves to their limits.
With the battle rope, a coach is able to provide movement patterning in any direction for any joint or kinetic chain in the body. The battle ropes fluid and dynamic use is second-to-none for any fitness tool in use today. Once the practitioner is aware of the multi-directional way the ropes can create force production and force absorption, the tool becomes a limitless development tool for the user and the programmer.
#2- Training All Three Planes of Motion
The second reason follows and expands on the first reason, as multidirectional assumes planes of motion in movement development.
Most of our human movement, whether in sport or in life, is based off of rotation (transverse plane--think walking, crawling, running, and even squatting, deadlifting, pressing, and pulling uses rotation in the femur, humerus, spine, etc.--without transverse plane movement locally and globally, we would not be able to stabilize or mobilize for simple movement patterns), yet we tend to train mostly in the sagittal plane, then a little bit in the frontal plane, and the least amount in the transverse plane.
That is like becoming a pilot by spending most of the training taxiing on the runway. It does not serve the human looking to improve their movement effectiveness and efficiency, whether we are using it in the Crossfit WOD (workout of the day) or just improving movement in life.
The battle rope allows for the human to explore, learn, develop, and create adaptations in all three planes of movement, at the same time or separately. This would create an advantage for any Crossfit athlete looking to improve their times and effectiveness in the traditional Crossfit exercises. (see Living.Fit Battle Ropes Continuing Education Level 1 for a Free breakdown of exercises, workouts, and programs that can help any person looking to sharpen their edge with battle ropes here:https://www.living.fit/offers/mDLL62GV/checkout)
#3-Low Risk and High Reward
A lower risk and higher reward (in terms of adaptation) exercise selection allows for higher volumes and higher intensities to improve adaptations while reducing risks for injury.
While it is understood that you will need to get under the bar, run some mileage, and do some high-impact dynamic work, you don't have to spend all of your training hours in these potentially dangerous modalities to incur the same training effect.
If there was a tool that allowed the tissues to create adaptations for power, strength, and endurance while lowering the impact risk, I am sure every athlete would place this tool into their programming...and there is.
The battle rope allows the athlete to produce force and power output at similar levels from a soft tissue and cellular standpoint (even if it looks dramatically different), and it can do so in the same movements as the athlete needs to train, as well as access movements and planes of motion that can be beneficial, as seen above. A coach or practitioner needs to learn the language of the rope, and that is what is taught in the 4 Hour Living.Fit Battle Ropes Basics Certification, as well as the 2 Day Living.Fit Battle Ropes Advanced Certification.
We go over mechanical physics variables that are used in current training protocols, as well as wave physics variables that coincide with the current training protocols, as well as exercise selection and programming effectiveness to ensure the person is getting the training effect they desire, while drastically reducing the chance for injury.
As Crossfit enthusiasts, coaches, and owners, look to improvements in their programming, they can rest assured that the implementations of battle ropes will get them there, with the above three reasons, and a myriad of others from a scientific and research-based understanding, rather than a "get-you-tired" perspective that is so prevalent today.
See the Living.Fit Continuing Education Levels and Certifications for the works cited that is going into our education.
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