Although battle ropes are mostly known for working arms, shoulders, and core, there are several exercises you can do with battle ropes that will target your chest muscles. By using different grips and working the ropes to create in and out waves or corkscrew circles, you will stimulate your chest muscles and build definition. By combining push-up exercises with rope work, there are exercises you can achieve an intense chest workout.
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What Body Part Does Battle Ropes Work?
The truth is, it’s up to you what muscle groups to target when training with battle ropes. Arms, shoulders, and core will almost always be engaged during battle rope workouts. Additionally, performing battle rope exercises as part of a circuit pushes your heartbeat up, providing a great cardio workout.
- Battle ropes primarily work arms, shoulders, and core (abs and lower back).
- High-intensity battle rope circuits provide an excellent cardio workout.
- By squatting, jumping, or lunging during battle rope exercises, you can work your legs.
- Try specialized battle rope exercises designed to work your chest.
Battle ropes allow for a lot of variation in workouts. Holding a squat during a traditional rope slam works your legs. Similarly, battle ropes can be used specifically to work your chest muscles, providing an excellent total body workout.
Are Battle Ropes Cardio or Strength Training?
Battle ropes are both strength training and cardio. By performing battle rope exercises continuously for 30 seconds or more, you will elevate your heart rate, providing an incredible cardio workout. At the same time, however, battle ropes will build strength, mass, and definition in the muscle groups you choose to work.
- Battle ropes provide both cardio and strength training benefits.
- Most cardio exercises target the lower body—battle ropes build strength in the upper body at the same time they provide cardiovascular exercise.
This combination of strength training and cardio is part of the reason battle ropes are such a valuable piece of gym equipment. While other cardio equipment, such as treadmills, stationary bikes, ellipticals, and even running, target lower body muscles during your cardio workout, battle ropes give you cardio benefits at the same time you work your upper body.
5 Best Battle Rope Exercises for Your Chest
It’s time to set the record straight. Battle ropes won’t just leave your arms and shoulders burning. They can also be used to activate your pectoral muscles. Try each of these workouts below. From the burn and soreness in your muscles, you’ll feel the proof that battle ropes can provide an intense chest workout.
Battle Rope Chest Flyes
Battle rope chest flyes will target your pectoralis major and provide definition, particularly where the muscle meets the sternum. To perform this exercise:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend at the knees, facing the rope’s anchor point.
- Allow yourself to hinge forward slightly in a half-squat position. Keep your core muscles tight.
- Grip each end of the rope in the “handshake” grip.
- With your arms extended, move them in and out, creating symmetrical waves in the rope.
- When moving back to the center, allow your hands (and the ropes) to cross over one another. This will help target the part of your chest muscles closest to the sternum.
Although you’ll feel this workout in your shoulders as well, it’s an excellent way to target the chest with battle ropes. Begin with 30-second intervals, followed by 1 minute of rest. Then, work your way up. When using battle ropes, remember to set a fast rhythm to the exercise, but one that you can maintain for the entire duration. You can build up speed as your strength grows.
In and Out Waves
In and out waves function similarly to chest flyes, but the grip is reversed, with the end of the rope sticking straight up toward the ceiling when gripped. This allows you to keep your back straight and arms low, targeting the lower chest.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend at the knees slightly, facing the point where the ropes are anchored.
- Keep your back straight and your eyes ahead.
- Grip the rope in each end so that the ends are sticking up as if you were holding a bouquet of flowers in each hand.
- Keep your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle, with your hands in front of you, palms facing each other.
- Open your arms outward and bring them back together, creating twin waves in the ropes.
- Do not lift your arms above the shoulder. Keep them low and focus on opening outward, not upward. This will target the chest.
Perform this exercise as quickly as you can for 30 seconds. Make sure to keep a rhythm and move the ropes in symmetrical waves to target each side of your chest equally. You can either repeat this exercise 5 times, or add it to a circuit.
Battle Rope Circles
A simple exercise with a few variations, battle rope circles keeps your chest muscles tense and activated throughout the duration of the workout, forcing the muscles to work intensely. To perform this exercise:
- Hold the battle ropes in a “flower bouquet” grip.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
- Keep your back straight, your eyes forward, and your chest up.
- With your arms slightly bent, move each arm in a circle in opposite directions. The goal is to move the ropes in mirrored corkscrew motions.
- Reverse the motion, corkscrewing the ropes in the opposite direction.
The key to this exercise is to use each rope independently in mirrored motion. This will keep your chest muscles tensed and active. Perform this exercise for 15 seconds, reverse the direction for 15 seconds, then rest for 1 minute.
This is where battle ropes get really fun. You can incorporate additional movements to create a total body workout. This one incorporates the push-up movement with rope slams to target your chest at the same time it provides a cardio workout. For this exercise:
- Begin in a push-up position with a rope in each hand.
- Dropdown into your push-up until your chest touches the floor.
- Push up from the floor, bringing your knees toward your chest and springing into a standing position.
- Raise your hands, holding the ropes high over your head as you jump into a standing position.
- Bring your hands down overhead, slamming the ropes hard.
- Drop down into the push-up position and repeat.
Repeat this exercise for 5 reps and add it to your battle ropes circuit. By combining push-ups with an overhead slam of the ropes, you activate your chest on both the major movements of this exercise. The overhead rope slam works like a dumbbell pullover, activating chest and back muscles and complementing the chest-targeting push-up.
Up-Down Battle Rope Flyes
This exercise combines two excellent chest workouts with a cardio element to tax your muscles and get your heart rate up. The best way to perform this exercise is:
- Begin in a standing position, holding a rope in each hand. Use a handshake grip.
- From standing, drop down into a push-up position, low enough that your chest touches the floor.
- Push up from the floor and jump into a squatting position.
- Perform battle rope chest flyes as described earlier for 5–10 seconds.
Repeat this exercise 5 times or add it into a circuit with the others on this list for a battle rope chest workout. As you build strength, increase the speed of the chest flyes or the duration that you perform them between up-downs.
Do Battle Ropes Work Your Chest?
When used to perform specific exercises, battle ropes provide an excellent chest workout. Focus on exercises that move the ropes in and out rather than up and down to target the chest. Also, using the ropes to create corkscrew circles activates chest muscles for the duration of the exercise. To add difficulty and an extra chest-strengthening element to your workout, perform push-ups, then leap to your feet to perform rope slams or rope flyes. Try these out and you’ll both see and feel results in your chest strength and development.