Count me surprised, but after thinking about it, and counting my own navy experience as a deck officer, it made a lot of sense.
But first, the science. Adel Moussa posted this on his amazing SuppVersity blog, yesterday: Want to Get Ripped & Strong? “Battling the Rope” Could be THE Exercise to Do! The “Battle” is More Demanding Than Squats, Lunges and Deadlifts – Only Burpees Come Close. I’d never really heard of it.
Now, the SuppVersity is not the place where “anyone’s” assessments are posted. What we are interested in are hard facts. Hard facts as they are produced by scientific studies like the one Nicholas A. Ratamess, Joseph G. Rosenberg, SamanthaKlei, Brian M. Dougherty, Jie Kang, Charles Smith, Ryan E. Ross, and Avery D.Faigenbaum conducted (Ratamess. 2014).
The corresponding paper is about to be published in one of the upcoming issues of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning one of the few go-to journals for everyone interested in the irongame. […]
As you can see the energy expenditure and thus the oxygen consumption in the subjects’ mitochondria was by far the greatest during the battling rope (24.6 ± 2.6 ml ·kg -1 ·min -1) and burpee (22.9 ± 2.1 ml ·kg -1 ·min -1 ) protocols.
The free weight exercises, on the other hand, were rather disappointing. Outside of the squat (19.6 ± 1.8 ml · kg -1 · min -1 ), deadlift (18.9 ± 3.0 ml ·kg -1 ·min -1 ), and lunge (17.3 ± 2.6 ml ·kg -1 ·min -1 ), the energy expenditure was rather mediocre. The same could be said for push-ups and push-ups on the “bogus ball” (aka BOSU® ball) which turned out to be similarly ineffective as means of getting rid of yesterday’s cream cake.
As he always does, he charted it nicely (click to open the larger version).
Bottom line: Whenever your goal is to get ripped and buffed like the guy on the Men’s Fitness cover, physical play is key. Those exercises that involve the whole body and activate maximal amount of muscles are true “burners”. As a SuppVersity reader you’re well aware that it does not really matter whether it’s fat or glucose you’re burning and that exercise alone is not going to cut it.
I got to thinking about it and how back in the day, serving as a deck officer on one US and then two French ships, ranging from 7,000 to 11,000 tons displacement, we used 3″ diameter lines (calling them “ropes” is a no-no) for mooring operations. These lines are stowed below deck, fore & aft, and have to be hauled up for each operation.
Now, consider this.
DLs With Chains
What’s going on is that as he pulls, each link of chain that comes off the mat adds weight to the lift. And so it was hauling up 100-200 ft lengths of 3″ line from below deck at about 300 pounds per 100′. Each foot adds to the weight, it’s dragging across nonskid for more resistance, and then it has to get from ship to bollard on the pier, wound around the capstan, and then back again and re-stowed upon departure. It’s grueling, exhausting work. You’ll often need 6 guys or more on a single line.
So, now imagine that you use all these principles, and then some, to create a grueling but pretty short exercise routine with minimal impact and and risk of injury.
Make sure to see to towards the end where leg conditioning comes in.
The reason I jumped right on it is that I soon won’t have regular access to a gym. Come end of July, Beatrice and I are moving out of our San Jose house. I’ll be occupying our Arnold, CA vacation rental cabin in the pines, at 4,000 ft., when it’s not rented out. During most weekends and holidays when it’s rented out, I’ll be in my trailer, which I’m staging at my brother’s place in Placerville, CA, about an hour and a half away.
In either case, I’ll be rural. Yesterday, I must have wasted 30 minutes of my life sitting at traffic lights. Arnold has none. Placerville maybe has two. Bea is not yet ready to call it a retirement after 31 years, so she’s rented an apartment near the school, but will be spending as much time as she can up at the cabin, and I’ll be blocking off weekend time now & then. I’ll be doing some landscaping work I’ve always wanted to do, finishing off the last half of the basement into a workshop of sorts, writing, blogging, managing my vacation rentals—and playing around with my kettlebells, battling the rope, and messing around on the deck and trees for other creative activities.
Maximal muscle recruitment going hard, in self limiting exercise-that’s how you go hard and fast with Minimal risk of injury. Plus ropes are great grip work.
I’ll take that endorsement.