The influence that our nutrition and diet play on athletic performance aren’t always as apparent as they should be, but it’s there, either pushing you along with more energy, faster recovery, and a stronger immune system, or it’s dragging you down, leaving you feeling haggard, tired, and sluggish.
In our battle to conquer our nutrition the easy way out is supplements. With pre-workouts, post-workouts, intra-workouts, and every sort of pill and powder imaginable designed to help cure all of our nutritional woes we hit them hard.
But in reality, eating clean will do more for you than all of the nutritional supplements in the world. And the first step in cleaning up your nutrition is starting a food journal.
1. You’ll connect nutrition to performance. We all know that we should be eating well. That we can be eating better. But how many of us actually stick to these lofty ambitions consistently? Part of the reason we are undisciplined in our approach is that we don’t truly connect our nutrition and performance. Writing out your meals in a food diary, as well as your subsequent workout routines, will leave you with a clear A-B connection between what you eat, and how well (or not) your workouts go.
2. You’ll get a healthy dose of accountability with your nutrition. For far too many of us we eat what we feel like, and not according to what we need in order to perform like champions in the gym, in the weight room, or in the pool. Instead, we eat according to our cravings, which you know, and I know, are not to be trusted. Having to write out your meals in a food journal means you get honest about what you are shoveling into your mouth on the regular. You might be surprised to see that you are not eating nearly as well as you thought, or that you aren’t drinking enough water (as athletes are rarely properly hydrated), or that you aren’t even hitting your daily allotment of supplements. Writing out your nutrition will force you to come to terms with what you are actually eating, which is essential if you want to maximize nutrition for performance.
3. You’ll stick to the plan for longer. Whether your goal is to lose some weight, gain some weight, or maintain, regularly using a food journal will help keep you on track. Research performed by Kaiser Permanente found that those who kept track of their nutrition lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t use a log. Self-monitoring has been shown over and over again to boost adherence, so spend a few extra minutes a day writing out your meals, and you’ll find yourself more consistent with your nutrition, and your performance on the field.
The Food Journal: Your Secret Weapon for Athletic Success
It’s funny how often I hear from athletes, young and old, who feel like they are doing all that they can in order to be successful in the water. They stretch religiously. Hit the foam roller after all their hard workouts. Even write out their workouts in a training journal. But when asked to show how well they truly eat, I tend to get sheepish smiles.
The food journal is cheap, takes a minimal amount of effort, and will produce a disproportionate amount of benefit on your performance for the time required to keep one.
Start by sitting down with a pen and paper after your next meal and food journal your way to better workouts, a healthier lifestyle (heard that’s always good to have!), and more energy.
When it comes to swimming, the breaststroke looks easy. After all, the arm recovery is underwater, unlike the butterfly stroke, you get to breathe every stroke, and there are recovery periods for both the upper and lower body limbs during the course of the stroke cycle.
And yet, it’s profoundly difficult to truly master. The timing is where most beginner and intermediate swimmers struggle—how to sequence the breaststroke kicking and pulling motion to limit loss of propulsion is something that comes with practice and patience in the water.
But once you do start to get a hang of it, there are fewer feelings that you will enjoy more than the undulating, free-flowing movement that comes with good breaststroke technique.
Here are some tips for helping you master the breaststroke.
1. Choose your pulling motion.
There are two different kinds of breaststroke pulling motions: a palms-straight down pull, and a Y-pull, where your hands and arms form a Y at the outset of the pull motion (also called the turn-press pull). The palms down pull is useful for very short sprints and short course swimming as it is more taxing. The Y-pull works best for long course swimming and the longer breaststroke sets and races.
2. Breathe at the right time.
One of the perks of breaststroke is that you can breathe much more regularly than in freestyle or even butterfly. When swimming breaststroke wait until just before you are about to break the surface of the water with your head to exhale. Holding the air in your lungs for this extra moment will help you maintain buoyancy in the water and keep a straighter body line, which will reduce drag and keep your hips up.
3. Squeeze your head with your shoulders.
A helpful cue for breaststrokers is to have them squeeze their head with their shoulders when at the apex of the breathing/pulling motion. Boost this by imagining yourself throwing your shoulders and arms forwards into a hole in the water about two feet in front of you. This will help keep you focused on swimming forwards, and not simply up and down. (This cue is helpful for butterflyers as well!)
4. Kicking properly.
The breaststroke kick is an interesting movement, and one that is unnatural, which is why so many swimmers, regardless of ability, have such a hard time with it. It’s requirements, lateral ankle flexibility, internal hip flexibility, and the ability to time it perfectly all make it challenging to master.
Here are some key points to remember when learning and improving your kick:
Make sure that your feet finish together at the end of the kick. Your natural stance is shoulder width, and your feet and ankle will default to this position. Kick all the way through and have your feet touch at the end of the kick.
Accelerate your heels to your backside. Once the kick has been completed, recover the heels to your backside quickly. The faster your heel recovery, the faster you can pull your way through the stroke motion. Remember: your stroke is interconnected, what your arms do affect your leg timing, and vice versa. Snap your heels back quickly.
Knees should be around shoulder-width apart. For maximum power and range of motion your knees should be around shoulder width apart through the kicking motion. The hips don’t internally rotate very well, so the added space between your knees will allow you to kick more water backwards.
The breaststroke is a tough nut to crack. Follow these tips the next time you hit the pool deck for one of your swimming workouts and grind your way to a smoother, faster, and more enjoyable breaststroke!
For competitive swimmers there are fewer better moments than putting on a brand new racing suit for the first time. Slipping into a $300 piece of fabric that has literally been designed by space scientists and that you know will help you swim faster is a glowing moment.
Here are three things that the fellas should be remembering when picking out a tech suit for men.
1. Comfort and fit.
This one seems obvious, but too often competitive swimmers get caught up in what the suit looks like, and how much it costs versus how it actually fits. Hit up your local swim shop and try on a couple of the new suits (provided they have display models for you to try on).
You should have a full range of motion with the suits. Make sure that you can swing your hips and legs, and that you can touch your toes without the suit giving you a serious case of plumber’s butt.
While you won’t be wearing the tech suit for all that long, you do need to be able to be comfortable and ready to swim at full power and velocity with it on, and this means being able to move freely.
A couple other notes on form and function:
· The suit shouldn’t touch your knees.
· Use the rubber grip strips to pull the suit on and off.
2. High waist vs. Low waist.
There’s one particular aspect to picking out a men’s tech suit that is unique to the fellas—you get to decide on how much butt crack you are going to show or not show.
Ultimately, what kind of suit that you end up choosing depends on how your hips and butt are built. A high waisted jammer is good for swimmers who tend to show a lot of butt crack with their swim suits.
Suit manufacturers will claim that the higher waist also promotes better core stability as well, but I am not sure that I buy this. The only thing that really promotes better core stability with men’s swim suits is stronger core stability.
High waisted jammers will sit around 1 to 1.5 inches above your hips.
3. Don’t forget to take care of it.
The shelf life of a men’s tech suit is not long. That’s the sad reality of these water-repelling fabrics that were quite literally designed by space scientists in a lab. For most suits the typical life is around 12-15 wears. That’s not much, when you think about it.
To get the most from your awesome new tech suit, make sure you are doing the following:
Rinsing it with cold water after wearing it. You might think that applying soap, shampoo, or throwing it in the washing machine is doing your suit a favor—it’s not. The chemicals will degrade your suit quickly. Take the suit off after your races and gently rinse out the chlorine with cold water.
Don’t ever put it in the dryer. The temptation to do so will be strong. Throwing it in the dryer for 15 minutes will be appealing, particularly when you have to be back at the pool for finals in a couple hours. The water-wicking fabric will wear out faster when you do this, and the suit will also become misshaped. Let it air dry on a towel—the suits dry rapidly on their own, and you’ll help to preserve it’s form longer.
The log book is one of the most powerful allies in your battle to becoming a faster swimmer. Here are 5 less-talked-about benefits to writing out your swim practices.
When it comes to achieving that one thing we all want in the water—becoming insanely fast—writing out your swim workouts is as simple, and as powerful as it gets.
The reasons for doing so are well known among those who practice this simple and powerful way to max out performance: you have more consistent workouts, you stay motivated, and it gives you valuable self-awareness.
Here are five more things that happen when you start writing out your swim workouts in a log book.
1. Learn to value the process.
At some point you’ve probably heard a coach tell you to “trust the process.”
This is because process-oriented goal-setters are way more likely to achieve big things in the long run.
By focusing energy, both physical and mental, on being great each day, instead of fixating on results that aren’t always in your control, you actually relieve yourself of a lot of performance-related anxiety that debilitates and stalls swimmers.
Writing out your swim practices teaches you to be a great practice swimmer. To value and appreciate the daily process of improvement.
Each day you have a couple moments with which you reflect on the workout, assess how you did, and learn the lessons of the day. Over the course of doing this over the weeks and months of training you better appreciate and value how progress is made in the pool.
2. It shows you how powerful the “I know, I know” stuff is.
I get emails every day from swimmers asking me how to get faster. How to improve so that they can improve their goals.
The answer always starts with the basics: swimming with proper technique, eating well, and getting lots of sleep.
Or as I like to call them, the “I know, I know” stuff.
They are the things that every swimmer knows is super critical to performance. There is no “secret”—it’s absolutely crushing the fundamentals of high performance.
Let’s take sleep, for instance.
Sleep, in the words of super-spy Jason Bourne, is a weapon.
And a well-rested swimmer is an athlete who is ready to unleash the full capacity of their focus and abilities on a regular basis.
And if you are serious about kicking chlorinated butt in your swim workouts, then get serious about your sleep patterns. Step one in doing this is actually measuring how much sleep you are getting (you can’t change what you can’t measure), writing it down in your log book.
3. It’s a helpful tool for your swim coach.
Every swimmer on the planet has heard of Katie Ledecky. Her accomplishments in the pool and her tenacity in training have reached legendary status.
One of my favorite stories about her is from when she was a relative unknown age grouper swimming with NCAP in 2011, long before any of the world records or Olympic gold medals.
Her coach at the time, Yuri Suguiyama, encouraged her to start using a workout journal to track her training, her goals, even start a gratitude list. Perhaps most critically, she also started writing out more of her thoughts on her swimming, how she felt about particular sets, or how she was feeling.
For Suguiyama this became a vital communication tool between coach and athlete, and better helped inform his coaching as Ledecky swam her way onto the 2012 US Olympic Team.
Your log book is more than just a set of results---it should also reflect your full journey and experience as a high performance athlete.
We don’t always feel tremendously forthcoming when our coaches ask us how we are feeling or about a particular set during practice in front of the squad, so having a place where we can comfortably provide feedback to our coach provides a powerful way of helping your coach coach you better.
4. It gives you ownership of your swimming.
One of the more frustrating reactions from athletes is when they begin to look outwards to explain poor performances.
Elite swimmers are accountable to themselves for their swimming.
This kind of ownership means that they accept full responsibility for their performance. For how they warm-up. For how much focus they place on their technique during long recovery sets. For how they fuel themselves before and after practice.
Here are just two of the things you can do to develop more accountability to yourself and your swimming:
Writing out training goals. Set mini-goals for the week. These will help you stay focused on the things that matter, particularly during those heavy weeks of training when you aren’t feeling as fast as usual.
Rank your effort. If there is one thing you should pick up from this article, whether you start writing out your workouts or not, it’s that you should grade your workouts every day. It takes 3 seconds to write out a letter grade or number ranking. I can’t count how many workouts I’ve saved from knowing I’d be grading my effort afterwards. It’ll keep ya honest.
5. It teaches you what it takes to improve.
Unrealistic expectations are a motivation slayer. While they may start under the naïve guise of big, hopeful dreams they inevitably implode on themselves, leaving swimmers feeling unmotivated and demoralised.
I’ve seen it more times than I care to count (and experienced it myself on more than a few occasions)…
We make a big workout goal. White-knuckle it for a couple weeks. And then find ourselves super bummed when we haven’t improved at the rate we expected or hoped to. And so we give up.
A training history, and writing out your workouts, help you create more realistic expectation by showing you what it takes to improve.
You might not like how much work is going to be involved to see what it will take to achieve those monster goals of yours—but knowing is critical if you are serious about wanting to pummel those goals.
How Caeleb Dressel Used a Logbook to Become the Fastest Man Ever Over 50 Yards. Florida phenom Caeleb Dressel continues on his quest to becoming the fastest freestyler on the planet. Here’s how he used a logbook to help him along the way.
Olympic Champion Janet Evans on the Importance of Using a Log Book. Before Katie Ledecky, Janet Evans was the greatest female distance swimmer the US ever produced.
Michael Phelps Uses a Pen and Paper Logbook (Maybe You Should Too). The GOAT, Michael Phelps, is legendary for his gold medals and his epic training. Turns out he likes to write that out too.
How Katie Ledecky Took Her Training to the Next Level. The greatest freestyler in the world, Maryland’s Katie Ledecky, used a log book to help better inform her training.
The swim season is a long, long haul. For many fast age group swimmers there is no season—it’s non-stop from September to August, with a week or two to recover, catch up on socializing, and prepare for another monster season.
With the length of the season it’s natural that there are going to be some serious dips in motivation. Sustaining that kind of focus and discipline for the seemingly endless swim practices is hard. I get it. Been there, done that.
But there are some things you can do in order to mitigate the inevitable dips in motivation.
Here are 3 tips for competitive swimmers to keep the fire burning bright all season long.
Sleep more. Yup—you read that right. In terms of boosting performance in the water and even improving psychomotor function (i.e. less grumpy and stressed), there is no tip out there more enjoyable than getting more sleep. When researchers at Stanford had their varsity swimmers sleep an extra couple hours per night they got faster across every meaningful metric in the water, from reaction time, turn speed, and time to 15m (which decreased by over half a second!). Added sleep means you are less fatigued mentally as well, and more likely to make good life decisions in terms of your goals in the pool.
Surround yourself with greatness. While swimming can feel like a very lonely sport at times, with swimmers spending a couple hours at a time staring at a black, tiled line, there is lots of opportunity to build a powerful support system. Ever notice that when you hang out with other swimmers who are doing big things that their ambition rubs of on you? Choose positive people to be around. If you swim quite literally on your own, make the things you surround yourself with on a daily basis be motivating. Swimming posters with motivational sayings, or watching races of your idols daily on YouTube, for instance.
Pivot your setbacks. There is a goofy myth out there that if we have big goals in the pool that we should never encounter resistance or friction in their pursuit. As a result, when crap does eventually happen—and it always does—whether in the form of injury, illness, or another swimmer coming out of nowhere and dusting you, we succumb to that overwhelming sense of being demoralized and defeated. Obviously we weren’t cut out for this, we softly tell ourselves. Here’s the deal—setbacks are part of the process. Michael Phelps broke his wrist 8 months out from the craziest performance in Olympic history (8 golds in Beijing, in case you were wondering). And people also forget that he actually failed his first attempt at that record in 2004 in Athens. You can use setbacks to send you reeling on your backside, or you can double down and get aggressive with overcoming them.
Bonus Tip: Write out your workouts. One of the secrets to high performance, uh, performers, is that they know that motivation isn’t their muse. They don’t wait to feel motivated to go to the pool and unleash a devastating workout. It’s simply routine, habitual. And one of the ways to facilitate this kind of routine and process is to write out and track your workouts in a swim log. Logging your workouts will help you see big picture with your swimming, connect lifestyle to your training, instill accountability, and yes, even help you stay motivated on those days where you’d rather stay curled up in the sheets than head out the door to morning workout.
Getting the motivation to workout can be tough for most people. (Who am I kidding—everyone struggles with it in some measure.) We are programmed for the path of least resistance, and that path generally includes comfortable pants, a cold beer, and a pizza that is just above room temperature.
Here are five powerful ways that you can unleash some heavy-duty workout motivation on yourself in order to get to the gym and beat on it like it owes you money:
Surround yourself with fit-minded people. Like it or not, the people that we choose to surround ourselves with each moment, each day, each weekend, have a profound influence on us. I know, I know, we all tend to think that we are the exception to this, but social contagion is a thing. Find people who are doing what you are already doing, and you will find yourself getting pulled along by their wake.
Challenge yourself regularly. Motivation doesn’t come from taking things easy. In fact, easy workouts tend to be boring, tedious, and fill us with an empty sense of accomplishment. Beyond the long-term goals and dreams you have for yourself in the gym set weekly targets and things you would like to achieve. This will help keep you focused on the short term, and help you stay engaged from day to day during your workouts.
1MR. This is my favorite trick for slugging through those tough workouts—the 1MR rule. When you feel like you are ready to call it quits on your workout routine, whether it’s because you don’t feel like doing another ten laps around the track, or another 1,000m in the pool, just commit to doing one more lap, one more rep, one more exercise. This little piece of mental trickery helps avoid the avalanche of doubt and mental fatigue that comes from thinking about the full extent of the rest of the workout. You don’t marathon all at once, you run it by continually running to the end of the block.
Plan things out. One of the major pitfalls people have with exercise and nutrition is an unwillingness to plan and prepare ahead of time. There is a common misbelief that when push comes to shove, we will always do what we should do. (And let’s be honest—that’s almost never the case. Path of least resistance, remember?) Planning stuff ahead of time is one of those super simple, and usually overlooked, ways of staying on top of your workout motivation. This can mean performing meal prep to stay on top of your nutrition for the week. Or writing out the workouts you want to do ahead of time in the pages of your workout log. Research has shown that when we schedule stuff we are far more likely to adhere to it than if we go along by the seat of our pants.
Focus on developing a routine. We’ve talked a bit about planning. Most gym-goers and athletes are awesome at detailing what kind of results they want. I want to lose 15 pounds. I want to run a personal best in my 10K. But where they aren’t always so awesome is in putting together a routine that will help get them there. When you focus on the routine, the goals, the results, what happens at the end of the line, almost becomes fait accompli. Amateurs focus on the result, pros result on the process.
It’s the injury that is so common for swimmer’s that it is literally called “swimmer’s shoulder.”
Research performed by USA Swimming showed that 10% of current age group swimmers are presently experiencing some sort of pain or aggravation in their shoulders, while a whopping 26% of national level swimmers are having shoulder issues of some type.
For swimmers who have experienced it, whether as a chronic condition like I have, or in random, acute bouts, the injury can be frustrating, leaving you feeling hopeless, and cost you valuable chunks of training time.
But the good news it this—there are a ton of things that you can help ease the pain and also insure that you avoid injuring it again (or for the first time).
Here are a few ideas for fixing and preventing swimmer’s shoulder that have worked with myself (and my 20+ years of competitive swimming experience), as well as tips I have collected over the years from fellow swimmers and coaches.
1. Warm-up with fins.
Swimmers perform a metric butt-ton of meters in the water. From warm-up to warm-down, the pre-set and main set all combined it’s not uncommon for chlorinated athletes to log up to 8,000m in a single session. When you consider that a lot of that yardage is done with shoulders above your head, you can begin to imagine the stress and strain that we are placing on our shoulder joints.
A simple way to loosen the load that we lump onto our shoulders is to use swim fins during our warm-up. Not only will you help get your legs warmed up faster, but wearing fins during the opening set of the practice will help ease your shoulders into the workout.
2. Stretch your pecs
One of the big misconceptions with this particular injury is that we should focus all of our injury and preventative measures on the shoulder capsule itself.
But that’s not usually where the problem started, only where it ended up manifesting.
Swimmer’s shoulder is usually caused by muscle imbalances in the back, poor technique, and tight pectoral muscles from repeated use. You might be familiar with the rounded, slouched shoulders that many swimmers tend to have from swimming on their front for so long.
You can correct this before and after during your swim workouts by making sure to mobilize the chest area (which you probably already are with arm swings), while also performing chest stretches afterwards to keep them loose.
Additionally, you should hit a foam roller for 5-10 minutes after each session in the water to loosen up your t-spine. Not only is it a relaxing way to end your workout, but rolling out your t-spine will help keep your chest open and loose.
3. Train with a snorkel.
As mentioned earlier, one of the leading causes of swimmer’s shoulder is a muscle imbalance in the back and shoulders. This arises often from swimming predominantly to our dominant side.
So how can we correct this?
By taking our breathing patterns out of the equation entirely and training with a swimmer’s snorkel. By having your face down in the pool you will be forced to have a more balanced, even stroke (there are a ton of other reasons snorkels are awesome—from allowing you to swim with better hip position, focus on technique, and so on).
Evening out the musculature, and undoing the years of breathing to one side is not easy, but introduce some longer, easier reps of straight freestyle swimming with a snorkel in order to help begin the process of developing a more evenly strengthened back and stroke.
Other quick things you can do to help deal and avoid swimmer’s shoulder:
Kick more. The more you kick, the stronger your hip rotation, meaning you rely less on the shoulder and chest for propulsion, particularly at the front of the stroke. Developing a strong flutter kick is hard, and takes a lot of time on the kickboard, but beyond making you a faster swimmer it will also help lessen the load on your shoulders.
Stick to your pre-hab routine even when you aren’t injured. For most swimmers the moment they decide to get serious about when shoulder health is when they are banged up and injured. You’ll see them dutifully hit their internal and external rotator exercises on the band, and spend more time stretching. Make this stuff routine and not just a band aid, and you will be injured less often as a result.
Being injured sucks. You know it. I know it. The bad news might be that you are having to spend some time on IR list, but the good news is that there are some powerful and proven things that you can do in order to make sure you don’t end up there again. Give a couple of these strategies a go over the rest of the training cycle or season and swim your way to healthier, stronger shoulders.
The bench press is perhaps the most popular exercise in the weight room. It’s a test of brute strength, will, and power, and it is very often the barometer by which athletes, gymgoers and casual lifters measure their upper body strength.
And yet, for it’s popularity, a surprising number of people I work with at the gym continue to struggle with it. From a lack of consistency in training the exercise, to technical errors, we can all stand to level up our bench press a little bit.
Here are a few things that you can do to improve your bench press the next time you hit the gym.
1. Get serious about what you want to accomplish under the bar.
For most lifters and athletes alike the answer to what they want to achieve on the bench is simple and clear-cut: I wanna get stronger and bigger.
Seems legit, but let’s get a little more specific:
How does the bench press fit into my overall goals in the gym? Am I looking for unilateral power (in which case dumbbell bench press would be our go-to)?
What are the weaknesses in my lift? Do I have proper technique? Could my elbows be more tucked in? Do I struggle with my lockout?
Am I hitting all of the supporting areas (back, shoulders especially) that will help boost my overall benching speed and power?
How often am I currently doing bench, and how much more could I be doing it? Hit up your training journal and get a better idea of how much you are actually performing this lift.
2. Crank up your bench press by reinforcing the foundation of the lift--your core muscles.
Doing core work is a pain in the butt for most athletes and gym-goers, and yours truly is no exception. Typically it’s programmed out for the end of the workout routine, when I am bagged and tired from heavy lifting and some interval training for conditioning.
But having a strong core goes beyond looking saucy with your shirt off at the beach or in front of the mirror--it is the very foundation that provides the stability (and therefore also the power) and platform for the bench press.
Instead of viewing the bench as a chest exercise, think of it as it actually is when performed correctly, a full upper body movement that recruits your back, shoulders, triceps, biceps, and yup, your core.
So does this mean you should blast out an endless number of crunches on the swiss ball? Nah. Stick with planks, as the shoulder stability that comes along with performing them (and the countless variations that come with them) pair up nicely with your bench press.
3. Use visualization to improve technique and also lift a little more.
You’ve probably at one point or another, used visualization during your athletic endeavors, whether you realized it or not. Athletes have long relied on visualization to assist in easing stress, honing their performance, and even engage in a little bit of “deliberate practice” before the real thing.
Research with track athletes found that when they performed a quick visualization of their ideal sprint 1-2 minutes prior to running that they performed better nearly 90% of the time. Those are some legit results, particularly when you consider that all it takes is a few moments of concentrated focus to do.
The next time you are about to load up the bar spend a few moments imagining the grip of the bar, the explosion upwards, the controlled breathing and braced core as you flawlessly execute the lift.
When it comes to pound-for-pound effectiveness, there is little out there that is as awesome for getting in killer shape than a set of battle ropes. Here’s more about how this old-school will give you some serious new school results.
1. Battle ropes encourage a balanced strength and conditioning approach.
Whether you are an athlete, regular gym-goer, or just getting back into the swing of things at the gym it’s likely that you have a profoundly dominant side. This is natural from using one arm/side of our bodies for a majority of the heavy lifting over the course of the day.
Battle ropes can help you to even out this imbalance, which is especially key for athletic performance and in for injury prevention, by taxing both sides of your body evenly. It’s much harder to hide behind your strong side, as you can with a barbell, for instance, when your arms are moving unilaterally.
2. You can use them just about anywhere.
Battle ropes are portable, and don’t require a large amount of space. You can tie them up to a tree, to your front tire, to the picnic table at the local park, and hammer away at developing that shredded core and Kung-Fu grip.
Bonus points for being able to use them outside in the sunshine. Working out in the great outdoors, with fresh air and the sun on your back, is at least 15% than being stuck in the fluorescently lit gyms and weight training rooms.
3. You can pack a killer workout in ten minutes.
Why go running for half an hour when you sky-rocket your heart rate, flush yourself with lactic acid, and leave yourself gasping for oxygen in as little as ten minutes with a set of battle ropes?
Battling ropes are highly anaerobic in nature—think of them as doing wind sprints for your upper body—meaning that the most amount of benefit comes from high effort with rest for a shorter amount of time.
4. It is an anaerobic workout for your upper body.
Most of the time when we think about aerobic and anaerobic exercise we think solely of our lower body. Running, biking, and skipping, for instance. Battle ropes target your shoulders, delts, the posterior chain, and of course, your core in a way that is hard to replicate otherwise.
For athletes who use their upper bodies in competition and even in the course of your workout routine this is especially helpful, as it is hard to get this kind of workout elsewhere.
5. The bar of entry is low.
Whether you are an Olympic champion looking to saddle up for another four years of heavy training, or you are getting back into the gym after a layoff there is a battle ropes workout for you. The speed and power you exert on the ropes is limited only by the conditioning you currently possess.
Unlike racking up the barbell with more weight than you can lift, there is a ceiling with the battling ropes, lessening the likelihood of injury.
There is a minimal amount of instruction in order to pick up a pair of ropes and shake them out for a few minutes at a time, making them an ideal form of conditioning work for newbies and pros alike.