Get Ready to Get Ripped: Battle Rope Training

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The prestigious medical journal, The Lancet recently reported that the hand grip test is cheap, easy and out-performs some traditional methods for predicting one’s risk of death by cardiovascular disease.

Crushing Grip Strength!! KettleBell/Rope Training

A person’s handgrip is the universal sign of a person’s strength.  I can remember watching Superman 2 as a kid and seeing Superman crush General Zod’s hand like it was paper.  A handgrip can tell a lot about a person, not only his strength but also his risk of dying.  The prestigious medical journal, The Lancet recently reported that the hand grip test is cheap, easy and out-performs some traditional methods for predicting one’s risk of death by cardiovascular disease.  More crucially, the handgrip test was better able to predict a person’s risk certain outcomes than the more traditional means of doing so such as measuring systolic blood pressure. The study tracked the health outcomes of almost 140,000 people across 17 economically diverse countries, which is by far the largest and most comprehensive analysis of the hand grip test’s ability to predict future mortality, cardiovascular disease and stroke. The researchers found that for every five-kilogram reduction in grip strength (about 11 pounds) from the average was linked to a 16 percent increased risk of death, a 17 percent increased risk of cardiovascular death, a 9 percent increase in stroke and a 7 percent increase in heart attack. For years, many people used the old black hand crushers to a increase handgrip strength but a new study published in the International Journal of Exercise Science reports that the incorporation of kettelbell and rope training can enhance grip strength. 

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High intensity interval training (HIIT) with kettlebells and battling ropes, has recently become a very popular tool in the fitness and rehabilitation setting to elicit many improvements such as changes in body fat, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness in a short period of time.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) with kettlebells and battling ropes, has recently become a very popular tool in the fitness and rehabilitation setting to elicit many improvements such as changes in body fat, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness in a short period of time. Researchers assess the effects of a high intensity interval training (HIT) program using kettlebells and battle ropes on body composition (measured using skin-fold calipers) and grip strength (measured using a handgrip dynamometer).  13 college-aged students were assigned to a training group training 3 times per week for 5 weeks, where each training session comprised a 20-minute HIT workout with a work-to-rest ratio of 1:1 (15 seconds exercise and 15 seconds rest).

 
In each HIT workout, the subjects alternated 2 minutes of a kettlebell exercise (kettlebell swing, kettlebell swing and goblet squat, kettlebell shovel, kettlebell 1-arm alternating swing, kettlebell burpee) with 2 minutes of battle rope exercises (alternating waves, jumping jacks, parallel waves, rotational slam, jump slam) for 4 sets of each of the 5 exercises.

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The researchers found that the training group who used kettlebells and battle ropes displayed a significant increase in handgrip strength.

At the end of the study, the researchers found that the training group displayed a non-significant reduction in body fat percentage while the control group did not change at all.  The study was not controlling diet so the subjects were allowed to eat whatever they wanted.  The researchers found that the training group displayed a significant increase in right handgrip strength from and there was a non-significant increase in left handgrip strength. There were no significant changes in the control group. The researchers concluded that an HIT program involving kettlebells and battle ropes significantly increases right handgrip strength but does not alter body composition.

Leong DP et al. Prognostic value of grip strength: findings from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study. The Lancet. 2015.

The effects of high intensity interval-based kettlebells and battle rope training on grip strength and body composition in college-aged adults, by Quednow, Sedlak, Meier, Janot, and Braun, in International Journal of Exercise Science (2015)

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