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Try this unique workout to help build core strength and stability.
You might have noticed the large, ominous ropes coiled in the corner of your gym. Maybe you’ve even seen them demonstrated at your fitness center or used on the “The Biggest Loser” TV show. Turns out battle ropes (aka fitness ropes), long a strongman staple, are good for endurance athletes too. A basic four-minute workout two or three times per week can improve core strength and stability, while also adding an fun element of an anaerobic activity.
You can switch up your workout by varying the intensity and exercises you do, as well as by varying the diameter and length of rope used. To begin, start with shorter, lighter ropes and transition to longer, heavier ropes as fitness increases. If you are buying your own, a 50-foot, 1.5-inch diameter nylon rope will provide workout flexibility. Always make sure your ropes are anchored at one end.
Ingrid Marcum, an elite Olympic weightlifting and bobsled athlete, Chicago-based coach and director of programming for North Carolina-based Battling Ropes, suggests the following two-rope exercises to target multiple running-specific muscle groups.
Exercise 1: Crossovers
Crossovers target the hips and core with full-body engagement.
— Hold the ends of the rope with an overhand grip–your thumb and first finger should be facing you, knuckles toward the ceiling.
— Start with the rope slightly off to your right side, near your hip.
— Bring the ropes up and over to the other side in an arc pattern. As the ropes cross to the left, slam them down toward the ground.
— As soon as the ropes touch the ground, immediately repeat the motion to go back and forth from side to side.
— Turn your shoulders from side to side with the rope as it crosses in front of you.
— Repeat this crossover pattern for 30 to 60 seconds per set.
Exercise 2: Alternating Waves With Lateral Lunges
The sequence of alternating waves with lateral lunges improves strength, balance and coordination.
— Hold the ends of the rope with an underhand grip–as if you’re shaking someone’s hand.
— Start by moving your arms up and down between your hips and shoulders in an alternating fashion to create waves that move down the rope to the anchor point.
— Continue making waves and take a step out to the side. Lower yourself into a side-lunge position, keeping your heel down and your knee in line with your toes.
— Push back up to your starting position and repeat on the other side. Be sure to keep your waves going throughout the entire movement.
— Repeat for 5 to 10 lunges on each leg or for 30 to 60 seconds per set.