Strength Training with Ropes

We are eight weeks out from UFC Rio and the camp for Edson Barboza is in full tilt! Our Art of Strength Training Ropes came in to The Armory this week and the timing could not have been more perfect.  As a trainer I have used “ropes” in the past and love the results. They are a fantastic upper body tool and with a phenomenal striker like “Junior,’ these will be fun to work with!

We received the both 1.5 inch and 2 inch Bulldog Jacketed Ropes, which are 35 feet long each. We have used ropes for the fighters training for a few years now and they are a great tool. The problem we had with the classic manila ropes were that they always left a mess all over the place! They took a beating during training and always left parts of the manila rope all over the floor. The fighters also starting getting their hands beat up from the rope as well. I don’t mind calluses and toughening of hands, but there is no need for open cuts or burns that restrict the athlete from grabbing the gi or putting on gloves to train. Not to mention opening the door for unneeded infections for the athlete.

The Bulldog Jacketed Ropes are very nice. First, the nylon covering on it looks like it will be very durable and it definitely protects the rope as well as the athlete’s hands from possible burns and tears. Secondly, the ends of the ropes have a nice metal cap on it to protect the rope and keep it from fraying. You have to be sure not to grip the metal when using it, it is easy to mistake it for a handle and that won’t be a good thing on the athlete’s hands.

We evaluated the 1.5 inch and the 2 inch ropes, wanting to see if there was a big difference in the resistance and workload on the athlete. There certainly is a difference! Running through the warm-ups and exercises, the extra ½ inch on the ropes clearly made the workload more difficult. It is nice to have 2 ropes that you can alternate the athlete through some of their work. Changing resistance is always important in your training, whether its weight, speed, intensity, or duration.

There is a nice large ring provided with the ropes for securing thru a carabineer to fasten to something. Having seen a lot of training ropes get beat up, frayed, or the metal fastener cut through whatever it is hooked to, we decided to try a rig of our own. We sunk an eyehook deep into the floor and seated it into an epoxy that has a bit of give to it. We also used a heavy bag spring as a dampener to allow the eye hook to have a bit of a strain relief on it so it wont pull or back out of the floor.

The ropes are awesome for upper body cardio and endurance training for the athlete. It is a nice change to some of the mundane exercises that we have found ourselves stuck with over time. We are putting together a series of exercises that we should have live on in the next week or so. Stay tuned…

Joe Mullings is the owner of The Armory BJJ / MMA Academy. He has been the strength & conditioning coach for UFC fighters Edson Barboza, Luiz Cane,  Kurt Pellegrino, Hermes Franca, Matt Wiman, as well as numerous StrikeForce and Bellator fighters. Joe holds a Brown Belt in BJJ. 



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