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Fit Check: Battling Ropes
Fitness guru John Brookfield’s heavy ropes, full-body workout pushes athletes, coaches, and trainers to their limits By Melissa Romero
Comments () | Published December 2, 2011
“Freak of nature” is probably an appropriate description of John Brookfield. The fitness guru holds the world record in a handful of absurd fitness acts, like rolling up a one-quarter mile of steel nonstop in 59 minutes and bending 520 nails in one hour and 42 minutes.

But there’s a method to Brookfield’s madness. Most normal people have no desire to be able to perform such feats, but professional athletes to strength and conditioning coaches swear by Brookfield’s workout system, Battling Ropes.

Battling Ropes involves using either a 50- or 100-foot rope for a full-body workout. Using a sturdy pole to wrap the rope around, the user grips the ends of the rope and performs a series of exercises while standing in a slight squat position.

“It increases our aerobic capacity,” Mint’s head private trainer Lance Breger says. “It works our upper body, lower body, and core. It just allows a lot of creative workout ideas for people who are looking for high-intensity workouts.”

There are two main differences between other strengthening workouts and Battling Ropes, Breger says. “One, we have to maintain our strength and explosiveness for longer periods of time. And two, using the ropes puts athletes at a mechanical disadvantage, because we’re pushing and pulling at the same time.”

Breger recommends incorporating one or two Battling Rope exercises into your normal workout when beginning. Once you become comfortable using the heavy ropes, try out the whole workout. Do each exercise for 15 seconds, and slowly work your way up to one-minute sets.

Mint has a 30-pound battling rope at each of its locations (1724 California St., NW, 202-328-6468 and 1001 16th St., NW, 202-348-6468).Warm-Up
Breger recommends warming up the entire body before doing a Battling Ropes workout. Incorporate some arm circles, planks, and squats into your regular warm-up.

Exercise 1: Arm Waves
Muscles worked: Triceps, shoulders, core, quads
Reps: One set of 15 seconds

Hold the two ends of the rope, palms facing down. Stand shoulder-width apart with your knees slightly bent. Create waves with the ropes by moving your arms up and down at a controlled, rapid pace.

Exercise 2: Alternate Arm Waves
Muscles worked: Triceps, shoulders, core, quads
Reps: One set of 15 seconds

Hold one end of the rope in each hand, palms facing down. Stand shoulder width apart with your knees slightly bent. Create waves with the ropes by alternating your arms up and down at a controlled, rapid pace.

See Also:

Fit Check: Weight Lifting Workout

Fuse Pilates: An Invigorating Dance-Yoga-Pilates Workout

Exercise 3: Arm Circles
Muscles worked: Shoulders, core, quads
Reps: One set of 15 seconds

Hold the two ends of the rope, palms facing down. Stand shoulder-width apart with your knees slightly bent. Create counter-clockwise circles with each end of the rope.

Exercise 4: Side Throws
Muscles Worked: Triceps, shoulders, back, core, quads
Reps: One set of 15 seconds

Hold the two ends of the rope together on one side of your body, palms facing down. Stand shoulder-width apart with your knees slightly bent. Lift the rope and throw it to the other side of your body, keeping your hips stationary while twisting your core. Lift the rope and throw it back to starting position. Repeat this motion at a controlled, rapid pace.

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Posted at 03:30 PM/ET, 12/02/2011 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Blogs