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In this article, we’re going to look at how we can use the battle ropes equipment as a tool to develop a boxers conditioning.

Quick Facts

When used with purpose, battle ropes can be a fantastic tool for conditioning training.

We can use battle ropes for variation, or when a boxer is carrying a lowerbody injury, to keep improving fitness.

Like any training method, battle ropes are often used incorrectly. 

In this article, we’ll tell you how to avoid some common mistakes when using the battle ropes.

Why battle ropes?

Developing fitness is always a high priority for coaches and boxers alike. We need to find creative ways to overload energy systems to create peripheral (muscle) and central (cardiovascular) fitness adaptations. 

Training can often become monotonous, so we need to create variation to keep motivation and performance high. 

We’ll often use battle rope variations as part of a circuit training session to increase the heart rate. We’ll also use them with boxers that are carrying lowerbody injuries, or are too heavy, meaning running is out of the question. The battle ropes can still provide a great conditioning stimulus to maintain or improve a boxer’s fitness.

At Boxing Science, our favourite battle rope exercises are alternating waves, double arm waves, or double arm slams. These exercises help our boxers reach high intensities, and provide a real challenge to their fitness. We encourage them to make big waveswith the ropes, at a fast pace.

Key benefits of battle ropes

  • Great conditioning tool with reduced impact on joints
  • Increased muscle demands – which can increase oxygen demand and heart rate
  • Increased muscle demands can encourage neuromuscular and peripheral adaptations
  • Improve local muscular endurance
  • Good for increasing heart rate for conditioning circuits
  • Can be used for full body or upper-body training sessions.

Common mistakes, and how to fix them

We often see battle ropes performed with some key errors, which limits the effectiveness of training sessions. Below, we describe some of these key errors, and the ways we recommend fixing them.

Performing exercises with poor technique, e.g. forward lean, internal shoulder rotation and shoulder shrugging – To reduce the chances of shoulder joint pain, sit back, brace the core, keep the chest out, and the shoulders back.

Local muscular fatigue (the burn!) can limit the intensities needed for cardio-respiratory adaptation – Keep the exercises varied and frequently changing, use battle rope exercises as part of a bigger circuit. Vary exercises every 20-30 seconds.

It’s hard to quantify intensity and volume, so monitoring training loads can be challenging – Record Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE 1-10) and Heart Rate during battle rope circuit sessions, to check that you are working at the required intensity (>9) to improve fitness.

When Should I Use Battle Ropes?

  • As part of conditioning circuit to increase heart rate
  • To target peripheral adaptations – use 30 second maximal efforts with 2 minutes of rest in between efforts
  • As a conditioning session 1-2 times per week, to reduce training monotony, increasing variation
  • As a conditioning stimulus during de-load weeks or between training camps
  • When running currently isn’t an option for conditioning sessions.

Check out the video below, where battle ropes are used as part of a tough S&C circuit.


Battle ropes can be a great tool for conditioning a boxer, as long as they are used correctly. 

For a conditioning stimulus, use battle ropes as part of a circuit for training variation, or with a boxer that can’t currently run for conditioning.

Use battle ropes with good technique and high intensities for 20-30 second efforts to raise the heart rate, keeping exercises varied and changing throughout. 

Want to learn more about conditioning for boxing performance? A video library of over 70 exercises, plus video workshops from the worlds leading experts in sport science for boxing is now available to Boxing Science online members.