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Monster Shoulders with Rope Training

For everybody who comes to the site looking for ways to challenge your body and ways to spur growth and strength development, I’ve got a hell of a way for you to do it, today!

Chances are, you have probably done some work with Ropes before, and I bet you liked it.

I like it too. It makes for very intense cardio driven by the upper body, and it tests your mental strength as well as your physical capabilities.

Let’s look at the standard rope training that is commonly done.

rope training rope training

The trainee takes an ulnar deviated neutral – forearm grip on the rope. From there, he raises the rope with shoulder flexion and then rapidly snaps the rope back down with shoulder extension.

rope training

This can be done with both ends of the rope moving upward at the same time, or by alternating the ropes.

This is, of course, a very intense form of training. In fact, new trainees are usually shocked when they try it for the first time and feel how tough it is.

But if you are like me, you like to mix it up and make standard training methods even more intense, so here is what you can try next time you train with Ropes.


Proceed at Your Own Risk

This is a warning right now – this training is intense. Everything from here on out should only be attempted by:

  • Someone who is properly warmed-up
  • Someone who is not afraid to feel the pain of serious effort
  • Someone who knows how to listen to their body and knows when to stop
  • Someone who is serious about training the shoulder musculature dynamically

If you meet these requirements, then move ahead. If not, please leave now.

Variation 1 – 45-degree Whiplash

Instead of drawing the rope straight up and down, whip the rope diagonally at a 45-degree angle. The path also resembles a Figure 8.

You would be surprised how much slightly changing the angle of the rope undulations affects your shoulders. It also hits the core very hard.

Begin with 5 to ten thrusts from to low left to high right, and then switch to low right to high left, shooting for evenness. Be conservative to start out until you find out how well your shoulder endurance holds up.

Variation 2 – Ultimate Warrior Rope Shake Thrash

Stand 90-degrees away from the tree or other solid object you have the rope rigged to. From there, grasp both ends of the rope with both hands. Think back to the good old days of wrestling when the Ultimate Warrior would draw power from shaking the ropes, and proceed to shake the rope in the same manner.

You may want to paint your face for this one. I think it will help you get a few extra reps.

Variation 3 – Super Long Side Laterals

For this one, we are going to work one arm at a time and instead of using only half the rope, we are going to stretch the entire length of the rope out.

Don’t just perform controlled Side Laterals like you are lifting with a dumbbell. Move the rope up and down like you are trying to uproot the tree or snap the bolts that are holding down the equipment you rigged the equipment to.

Your side and posterior laterals will be juiced up after this one, and you may even feel your traps sizzling, too.

Variation 4 – Posterior Delt Assault

Face completely away from the spot where you have the rope rigged and bend slightly forward. Pull the rope tight and then take a half step backwards. Grip the end of the rope in one hand and proceed to perform rapid shoulder extension movements. Think of performing a skiing motion, but imagine the Abominable Snowman is coming down after you and you have to try to escape with just one ski pole.

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These are just a few of the variations that you can do to mix up your rope training. I am sure that you can think up even more variations. If so, shoot a video and post it on YouTube and I will post it here. I want to see them and try them myself.

If you hate looking at just still shots, here is a video I shot in my yard for you. Unfortunately, the trucks were going by in full force, so I not only had to talk while gasping for air, but I also had to shout over the industrial traffic. Please bear with me.

Give them a try and report back here. Let us know what you think. We love the comments.

Also, if you get a chance, make sure to post this link to Facebook and share it with your buddies.

Now, go kick some ass.


Check out more videos on my YOUTUBE CHANNEL < = Go Now!


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12 Responses to “Monster Shoulders with Rope Training”

  1. Doug Says:

    Love the variations Jedd. It’s amazing what kind of athletic body you can build w/ such a simple, yet brutal training tool.

    Just bought a 80ft of 2″ from a guy off craigslist for $75. For those of you thinking that the 1″ is too way too small for you, the 2″ is a freaking monster. Start off small and build up to it; IMHO.

  2. Robert Holland Says:

    great post Jedd. What diameter and length rope do you use/recommend?

  3. Doug Parra Says:

    Awesome stuff, definitely a break from the “typical” rope training we see. Thanks for sharing:-)

  4. Jedd Johnson Says:

    @ Doug – Enjoy these variations bro. Let me know what you think.

  5. Jedd Johnson Says:

    @ Robert – This rope is 1.5 or 2 inches and it seems perfect, to me. I also use it for pull-up variations in the squat cage, and in the summer I also tossed it up around a branch and climbed it. It depends on the goals you plan on going after, but this thickness seems pretty darn good, giving dynamic resistance and also hitting the grip. It has a nice smell to it as well.

  6. Jedd Johnson Says:

    @ Doug – Rope training is very intense and only gets more challenging as the rope thickness increases.
    Nice find on CL by the way. Not bad at all. What did he use the rope for prior to selling it to you?

  7. Jason Says:

    Never heard of this before. When I read the post title I thought it was about climbing rope, not whipping the hell out of it.

    Must try it now.

  8. Jim Smith Says:

    @ Jason – It’s intense stuff and very little strain on the joints with this kind of resistance training.


  9. Shannon Says:

    How is the rope rigged at the opposite end? Also is it 2 separate pieces of rope or is it one continual piece just folded or clamped at the midway point?

  10. Jedd Johnson Says:

    What I used was one big, long rope and I just wrapped it around a tree. These are awesome drills. let me know how they go for you.


  11. Simon Says:

    Hey Jedd, just wanted to say thanks to the post. I use two and a half inch rope for these workouts. Just getting started but already seeing results in a little over a week. I am an engineer on a workboat in the gulf of Mexico and miss working out in a gym. But you do what you got to do to stay in shape. I am 172 pounds and eat about 6,500 calories a day just to maintain and gain muscle mass. Will post pics next time I am in port as we don’t have a good enough satellite signal to upload pictures.

  12. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Nice man. That rope is the real deal!
    You are an eating machine, too, man. Keep it up.

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