Battle Ropes the Right Way, by Thoren Bradley As a NCAA strength and conditioning coach I've seen many D1 athletes misuse battle ropes. The problem? The average person grabs the ropes, walks backwards until the ropes are relatively tight, and proceeds to hammer away aimlessly with different unstructured patterns of movement. This isn't doing much of anything, and it's unlikely to cause any sort of muscular adaptation. Why? Because there isn't enough actual load placed on the muscle when the ropes are pulled tight. Try this instead:
Grab the ropes, walk back, then take two big steps forward so the ropes are NOT taut.
Take an athletic stance and an upright posture.
Set a Tabata timer on your phone for 10 rounds of 20 seconds of work with a 10 second break.
Alternate each round between strokes of your choosing. But once you pick a stroke, you must maintain it for the whole 20 seconds; you can't switch until the round is over. Once the 20 seconds is up, feel free to switch to another pattern.
Find somewhere to escape the burn in your delts.
Like any other exercise, the load matters. If you allow more slack in the ropes (by stepping forward) you'll be forced to work with the weight of the rope itself. Stretching them out tight doesn't allow for any actual weight to be loaded on the movement of your arm strokes.