Add these battle rope pulls to your next upper body workout
By Ebenezer Samuel

It’s all fine and good to chase that big, muscular back with pull-ups and rows, but every so often, you need to change things up.

And if you have a battle rope and a few weights, you have the perfect way to do that. Training your back with a battle rope frees you up from machines, letting you attack your back from new angles, challenge your core, and hone in on your balance. You’ll fire up your heart rate by doing a lot of pull work with very little rest.

You won’t use a battle rope in standard fashion for this one, though: Here, it’s simply a rope that will let you pull a giant weight from one end of your gym to another. To start, tie one end of the battle rope to some weight. If you have access to a sled, that’s the best way to do this workout—you can simply tie the battle rope to the sled, then load the weight onto a sled. If you don’t have access to a sled, loop the battle rope through the center of a 20kg plate (or more, if you need) and tie a knot on one end. You can also use a kettlebell.

Directions: With a moderate load—at least 18 to 22kg less than your typical weight on a lat pulldown machine—do two sets of each move before moving onto the next exercise in the circuit. (If you’re using a short battle rope, feel free to add in a third set.)

1. Plank position single-arm rope pulls
Fire up your lats, biceps, and abs by getting on the free end of the rope and going into a high plank position. Then grab the rope with your right hand, and pull the weight all the way down to you. Once the weight reaches you, grab the other end and walk down to the other side of the floor. Take your time during this walk, because that’s your only recovery from the set. Next, you’ll repeat this with your left hand. Do two sets per arm.

2. Half-kneeling single-arm rope row pulls
Using the same weight as the exercise above, kneel on your right knee and pull the rope using your right hand. After each pull with your right hand, you can use your left hand to steady the rope, then grab it and pull with your right hand again. Repeat this for two sets per arm, doing your best to keep your chest up as you pull.

3. Lying hand-over-hand rope pulls
Finish the circuit by lying on your back and pulling the rope, hand-over-hand, down to you for two sets.

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