Battle Rope Training for Grapplers

 Make It Harder
5 ways to adjust intensity when using the wave series (exercise variables for the ropes)

1.    The Handle – Fold the rope over and it doubles the size of the rope you have to hold, making it more challenging on the grip.


2.    Distance from the Anchor – Ideally you start with a little slack on the ropes. By moving closer to the anchor point, it makes it more challenging to get the waves to the end. So you’ll have to generate more power through the rope to get it all the way down.


3.    Body Position – Standing, kneeling, sitting, plank and moving while doing various waves adds a whole new list of ideas. As you go from standing to kneeling, less of the body is able to work and it becomes more difficult to get the waves to the end. Adding a variety of movement (squatting, lunging, jumping, lateral movement and more) can make a basic movement very challenging.


4.    Size of the Rope – Typically we use a 50’ rope that is 1.5” thick for the wave series. There is also 2” rope available, but because of its added girth and weight, it is much more difficult.


5.    Wave Size/Velocity/Pace – The size and speed of the waves can also be counted. This is really no different than pacing yourself for kettlebell lifting or running. The faster you go, the harder and more intense it becomes. Try to maintain 120-150 alternate waves per minute and see how you fair.

When trying the waves for the first time, 20 seconds will feel like an eternity. Over time, people quickly adapt and can maintain consistent pace and intensity for 5 minutes – 45 minutes plus. Slowly adding volume over time will build your work capacity, allowing you to push at a faster pace, for longer periods of time.


#1 100’ (1.5” rope) tsunami wave. Part one of this challenge is being able to generate enough power to get a wave down the rope to the anchor point. If you can do that, then see how long you can maintain waves to the anchor.


#2 50’ (1.5”) alternating waves. A simple start is to keep the waves going to the anchor for 5 minutes. You don’t need to worry about speed or intensity…just keep the waves going to the end for 5 minutes.


#3 Rope Taz – Start by unhooking the rope from the anchor point. You should have a good amount of open space for this drill. Simply take both hands and slam the rope quickly up and down. This is similar to the stagecoach or double handed waves, but you will have to move laterally to avoid the rope. Try and keep the entire length of the rope moving. How long can you keep the entire rope moving?

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Corey has been a strength coach for 16 years and works with a variety of combat athletes in Southern California. He owns Innovative Results gym in Costa Mesa, CA and founded a site called, that provides strength and conditioning advice for MMA fighters, jiu-jitsu players and other combat athletes.

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