Earlier this year we taught you about battle ropes and how to not be intimidated by them. Now you love them . . . but you can only use them at the gym — or the CrossFit Box — right? Because you know, they're too heavy to carry around, and most people don't have the space to set one up permanently at home. (And if you do, we're officially jealous.) But then I discovered the Lightning Rope: It's a lighter-weight version of the classic set of battle ropes that's perfect for beginners — and easily portable, too.
The bright yellow Lightning Rope, produced by the company Muscle Ropes, is the same
diameter (1.5 inches) and comes in the same lengths (30, 40, 50, 75 and 100 feet) as the company's other products, but weighs significantly less per foot — 18 pounds for the 50-footer, compared to 25-plus pounds for the rope's big brothers "Thunder" and "Aftershock," for example.
But get something straight: These ropes aren't easy — they're still a super-challenging workout. But their lighter weight makes them easier to carry around between sessions, and great for people who want to lose weight or firm up, but not necessarily bulk up. (In fact, you'll see Lightning Ropes on the upcoming season of The Biggest Loser!)
So what do you DO with a Lightning Rope? Set it up in a driveway, garage, backyard or basement by anchoring it around a sturdy, stationary object — like a big tree, a metal pole, or a tire on your car — then back up until there's just a little bit of slack in the rope and you've got one end of the rope in each hand. Hollywood-based trainer Steve Lutsk, who's used Muscle Ropes with his clients for years, recommends starting with a 50-foot rope ($100) if you've got 25 feet of space to spare; otherwise, opt for the 40- or 30-foot option.
Lutsk says that adding four to nine minutes of Ropes work to the end up your regular workout will trigger what's known as the after-burn effect. "A few minutes of super-intense movement will really jack up your metabolism, so you'll actually burn more calories for something like 36 hours afterward," he explains.
So, now you have your battle ropes and are ready to get started? Try one (or both!) of Lutsk's go-to moves described below; start by doing each exercise for four minutes at the end of your next workout, alternating 15 or 20 seconds of fast-as-you-can-go intensity with 40 or 45 seconds of rest. As you get stronger, work your way up to nine-minute rope sessions, with longer activity sets and shorter rest periods.
Get the moves here!
The Conga Drum
Stand in a half squat position — knees slightly bent, butt out, belly button to spine, leaning forward slightly — and hold the rope with a neutral grip in both hands. Alternating arms, beat the ropes up and down as fast as you can while keeping your core tight and your shoulders back. "This is a great cardio workout because it gets your heart rate up, but it's also burning fat and using a lot of muscles in your arms, legs, and core," says Lutsk.
The Evil Santa
Start in the same position as above, but this time, move both hands together -- lifting and bringing them down in a whipping position at the same time. As you bring your arms down, also bend your knees into a squat position, then straighten out as you raise your arms up again. "This is how I picture Santa with his reindeer when he's in a really bad mood," says Lutsk.
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