Published Jun 16, 2022 11:27 AM
Battle ropes are growing in popularity, and you might be wondering if you should add one to your home gym. Are battle ropes worth it? They’re not a magic answer to all your fitness woes; nothing is. But battle ropes can be a good way to mix up your cardio and strength training with a high-intensity exercise that’s engaging and fun. That’s something we can all benefit from.
Battle ropes (also called workout ropes or exercise ropes) are very versatile and can be used for strength and conditioning with a range of compound movements. They can help you improve your cardiovascular fitness with high-intensity training that’s more efficient (and more fun) than slogging through another run around the neighborhood. With a little creativity, you can even use them to train your lower body with various drags and pulls.
Alongside other gym staples like power racks, weight benches, barbells, and resistance bands, the best battle ropes can help put everything you need to achieve peak physical performance in your own home. We chased down some of the very best premium, value, and homemade battle ropes out there so you can stop shopping and start working out. We also rounded up the information you need to understand how to use battle ropes, make an informed decision, and make the best use of your new workout ropes.
Battle ropes are simple enough, but they’re also a fairly versatile piece of gym equipment. I started by brainstorming all the ways people use them — high-intensity cardio, dragging, pulling, and climbing — and searched for products that can handle everything you might throw at them. Next, I cut out all the sketchy suppliers with no reputation for providing a quality product. Finally, I looked for solid workout ropes and rope anchors across a range of prices to make sure everyone can find something that fits their budget. I even included a do-it-yourself option so you can spend the money you save on other gym essentials.
Best battle rope reviews and recommendations
If you want the best battle rope on the market, plain and simple, you can buy this one and move on with your day. The same premium build quality that earned TRX a loyal following in the military community makes this battle rope an excellent addition to your home gym.
This is the only synthetic rope you’ll see in this gear guide. It’s seriously expensive, but the added cost gets you a heavy-duty rope that can handle exposure to water, sweat, UV sunlight, and general wear and tear much better than the competition. The rubber handles provide excellent grip and keep the ends of the rope nice and tidy so they don’t wear prematurely. Like all our picks, this rope is 1.5 inches in diameter and 50 feet long. That results in enough weight for a heart-pumping workout whenever you need a good sweat session.
This rope’s only downside can be found in the price tag. Yes, (nearly) $200 is a lot of money to spend on a rope. But remember that this is an investment in a piece of fitness equipment that should last you many years. If you’re serious about stocking your home gym with the best, you have to pay to play.
Unspecified synthetic fibers
Synthetic rope holds up well against wear and tear
Beefy rubber handles add durability and improve grip
Premium quality worthy of a commercial gym
About as expensive as battle ropes get
Synthetic rope can feel rigid compared to natural fibers
Some of you are still picking your jaw up off the floor after reading about a $200 workout rope, and you’ll be relieved to learn that our next pick costs less than $70. That doesn’t mean the name-brand stuff is overpriced, but it does mean you can save a bundle if you can handle using a little elbow grease.
The cheapest battle rope you can buy is simply bulk-order manila jute rope. This is the same kind of rope many fitness equipment manufacturers use. It’s strong, flexible, and makes for a great workout. This particular rope uses natural jute stem fibers, which the seller claims are stronger than jute root fibers. We couldn’t tell you either way, but since you aren’t using this for a load-bearing application, it really doesn’t matter.
Because this is bulk rope, it doesn’t have handles like premade battle ropes. You can make your own with a few feet of duct tape or electrical tape wrapped around each end and still come in way under budget. You should also be aware that natural jute rope sheds, so plan on regular sweeping to keep your home gym clean.
A fraction of the cost compared to name-brand battle ropes
Three different sizes are available
Built using quality jute stem fibers
You’ll need to add your own handles
Light and flexible rope doesn’t provide the most challenging workout
Rogue is one of our favorite brands when it comes to fitness equipment. The company’s squat racks and barbells are a staple at serious commercial gyms and garage gyms alike. We’ve championed everything from weightlifting shoes to resistance bands. It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, to find a Rogue battle rope on this list, too.
The Rogue Conditioning Rope splits the difference between the no-expense-spared TRX battle rope and the DIY-special bulk jute rope. It’s made from natural fibers and comes in with the same 1.5-inch diameter and 50-foot length. If that sounds too similar to the pick for the best value, keep in mind that this battle rope comes with handles and is made right here in the US of A.
As with any natural fiber rope, you can expect this one to be a little messy. Natural fibers shed and you’ll need to clean up after it to keep your floor tidy — but you have to sweep anyway to clean up all the chalk dust. You do use chalk, right?
Natural manila fibers
Feels nice and heavy for a good workout
Very strong with a load rating of 500 pounds
American-made using natural fibers
Constant cleanup caused by messy natural fibers
Frayed ends could degrade over time
Best Battle Rope Anchor Straps
One of the biggest advantages of battle ropes is the incredible breadth of exercises you can perform with one. Many of these exercises require the center of the rope to remain fixed while you use one end in each hand. That’s where an anchor comes into play.
The cheapest way to anchor your battle rope is by plopping something heavy over the center, like a sandbag or heavy tire. That’ll get the job done, but it will also wear that portion of your rope prematurely. You can protect your investment with this nylon strap that protects the rope and whatever you anchor it to. The carabiner is a great perk because it allows you to unclip your rope without removing the strap from either end.
There’s honestly not much to criticize about this battle rope anchor. It’s well-made and super simple. At less than $20, it’s pretty much a no-brainer. Just make sure to find a suitable attachment point like a post, tree, or even the trailer hitch on your vehicle (although it’s a good idea to bring it inside when you’re not using it to keep it out of the weather).
designed for ropes with 1.5- to two-inch diameters
compatible with posts 14 inches in diameter or less
Nylon strap doesn’t damage ropes
Fits any post, pole, or tree under 14 inches in diameter
Can be unclipped without undoing either end
Not strictly necessary for all exercises
Requires some kind of sturdy post or beam
Our verdict on battle ropes
The TRX Battle Rope is a premium item that deserves a place in your home gym or even a commercial gym. If you’re looking for the least expensive battle rope possible, your best bet is to build your own from jute rope and duct tape.
What to consider when buying a battle rope
Battle ropes are extremely simple, so it doesn’t take long to learn enough to make an informed buying decision. You basically need to understand how a product is made, what kind of features it uses to stand out from the crowd, and how it will fit into your existing home gym setup.
Battle rope key features
Your first objective should be to determine what kind of rope you should buy. Spending more money will allow you to get stronger materials, but that may or may not be worth the extra cost. The least expensive exercise rope you’re likely to find is bulk jute rope. Jute is a natural plant fiber that is popular around the world for its availability, strength, and low cost. While not as durable as hemp or nylon rope, it can be a great option for battle ropes, which aren’t load-bearing. Just be aware that even though jute is extremely heat-tolerant, it’s relatively light and may shrink when exposed to moisture.
Upgrading to synthetic fibers will get you more strength, water resistance, and durability. Nylon rope is stronger and more resilient than jute, hemp, and polypropylene. It also holds up well to UV exposure, making it a great choice for outdoor gyms. These advantages aren’t cheap, though. Expect to pay more upfront for nylon workout ropes with the understanding that the material should last a very long time.
The best battle ropes come with grips installed at each end. This allows you to keep a firm hold on the rope while minimizing wear that can separate individual strands over time. They also keep the rope squeezed tightly so it’s less likely to start unraveling.
If you choose to make your own battle ropes, you can make your own grips with duct tape. Wrap the tape tightly in two overlapping layers for a secure, lasting grip that will protect your rope and your hands.
To be used effectively, battle ropes should be anchored in the center. A solid anchor lets each end move independently. The most popular anchors are ones that are designed specifically for battle ropes. They’re intended to be secured to a post and may include a carabiner so one end can remain installed while the other can be disconnected with your battle rope and put away when not in use.
If you’re building a low-budget home gym, you can always anchor your battle rope by placing a heavy object over one end. A simple sandbag, kettlebell, or U-bolt attached to a fixed point can do the trick. Just be aware that improvised anchors might accelerate wear on your rope compared to a manufactured anchor.
Battle ropes pricing
The best battle ropes from reputable manufacturers cost between $100 and $200. That will get you durable synthetic ropes with built-in handles for excellent grip. Budget-friendly DIY setups can be pieced together for less than $75. If you want a convenient, purpose-built battle rope anchor, expect to pay about $15.
FAQs about battle ropes
You’ve got questions, Task & Purpose has answers.
Q: How do you anchor battle ropes?
A: All you need is something to hold the center of the rope still while you use each end. That can be a purpose-built anchor attached to a post or something like a heavy sandbag placed over the rope.
Q: Are battle ropes for cardio or strength training?
A: Battle ropes are used for high-intensity training that can improve muscular strength, endurance, and power. You’ll be using compound movements that translate to real-world fitness in a wide range of applications.
Q: What muscles do battle ropes work?
A: Because battle ropes require compound movements, you’ll be using several muscle groups. They’re primarily designed to activate the arms, chest, shoulders, and upper back. In order to maintain a stable platform, you’ll need to maintain tension in your legs and core, as well.
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