Battle Rope Training for Grapplers

 The Pull Series
I rarely see anyone talk about these drills, but they are one of our favorites for jiu-jitsu practitioners. They are simple, effective and truly humbling. These drills will tax your grip, arms, shoulders, back, and core like no other.

Here are three pulling exercises to use with your rope.



Change It Up
5 Ways to Add Variety to Your Pulls

1.    Body Position: Standing, kneeling, seated, plank; these positions don’t work for every pull mentioned, but do for most. As you attempt the various pulls, you will know right away which one works or not.


2.    Size of Rope – The size of the ropes is a huge component of these drills. The increased girth, makes gripping the rope more difficult. For some of the testing we do, men use the 2” ropes, while women use the 1.5”. A larger rope also weighs down on itself when piled up, so you will feel some natural resistance during the pull.

3.    Length of Rope – Ideally you will use a 100’ rope for all the pulling exercises. Not only do you have to change less often, but the increased length also piles on itself as mentioned before. This type of resistance is inconsistent and forces you to overcome little bumps along the way. Enjoy!

4.    # of Wraps – Varying the resistance is as simple, as wrapping the rope around the pole more or less. One wrap is a good start, but you can add wraps as you see fit.


5.    Time or Distance – We use the pulls in a variety of ways, including timed intervals, distances and more. Just like the waves, you are able to determine distance very easily. Want to pull a mile? 53 lengths of a 100’ rope is about a mile.

The pull series offers another way to challenge your entire body. It is definitely one of my favorite drills and I use some variation of this at least once per week for myself and my clients. It is perfect for grapplers, but also very effective for anyone looking to develop more upper body strength.


#1 How many lengths can you pull in 10 minutes? Compete with your teammates, push your limits and continually raise the bar. Get good at this challenge and your arms will never falter during a match.

#2 How many wraps can you pull. Adding 2 wraps can drastically increase the difficulty. Work to add more wraps and see what you can handle, but be careful. Ropes are much different than handles, so for an untrained hand, these can be tough. Start slow, maintain good posture and increase intensity over time.


#3 The Buffett – Choose 4 different pulls and do each for a quarter mile, back to back. It will total one mile (53 lengths with 100’ rope). Try and complete the drill under one hour.


The End of your Rope
As you can see battle ropes offer a wide variety of drills that can yield huge benefits for combat athletes. The wave drills increase work capacity, improve cardio, strength, and your endurance. The pulling drills help build strength in your grip, arms, shoulders, back and core. Used correctly, these drills will help take your strength and conditioning to new heights.




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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