7 Essential Rope Flow Tips for Beginners and Beyond

In this video, we’re going to take a quick look at some important rope flow tips and ideas to consider if you are looking to incorporate the rope into your movement practice.

I put together a rope flow tutorial a few weeks back, and since then, I’ve had quite a few questions from you guys about how to get started, what rope to use, and beyond.

With that in mind, I thought I’d put together this video to help you avoid some common pitfalls, and really get the most out of your rope training.

Let’s take a look.

 

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Tip #1 - Experiment with different tools.

There are various different ropes you can use to practice rope flow. While the tool itself doesn’t matter as much as the practice, there are pros and cons to different types of ropes.

If you’re new to rope flow and you’re intrigued but you don’t want to invest in a specially designed rope, then a standard skipping rope can work fine to begin with. They’re relatively cheap and easy to get hold of. 

The only drawback is that because they are typically very light, you might not get the feedback that some heavier ropes can offer. 

Kelly Starrett shared a video where he uses an old gymnastic rings strap to do basic underhand and overhand movements, so even something as simple as that can work to get you started. 

In my beginner’s rope tutorial, I used a homemade rope sourced from an online retailer called Kanirope. So you could go this route and make your own. I made a super heavy rope, which works well for testing the body’s rotational capacity, but isn’t too good for learning new skills.

Then we have specialist ropes, like the ones made by the guys at Octomoves. Now, they were kind enough to send me across quite a few to try, and I‘ve done a review on the Phoenix. I also have the Funky Zen and Flowzilla, so I can do a comparison video between their other ropes if you’d like to see that – let me know down in the comments if that is something you’d like.

These ropes are pricier than the standard skipping rope or DIY options, but they do feel nice to train with. There’s a good balance between being challenging enough to train the body, but also easy enough to learn the movements in the first place. 

So to summarise that first point – you can get started with little to nothing, and then if you enjoy learning the basics, it may be worth exploring more specialist options like the Octomoves. They’ve kindly offered 15% off their ropes – just use the code HERO at checkout.

Tip #2 - Use knots to get the right fit

So you have your rope, the next thing is to ensure you have the right fit. If you stand on the centre of the rope and pull it taught, ideally the ends will come somewhere between your hip points around the top of the pelvis and the bottom of your ribcage.

You want enough clearance so you’re not constantly whacking yourself in the head, but not so much slack so that it’s always dragging on the floor and more difficult to generate power.

This can be achieved using a series of knots: 

  1. If you’re going the DIY route, the handle knots are essentially Boat Shoe knots. I get questions about how to tie the ends all the time, so I’ve linked to some resources in the video description on YouTube.
  2. To shorten the rope by around 10-15cm, you can use a simple knot, ideally around 10-15 cm away from the handle, or at least not in the middle of the rope.
  3. If you want to shorten it further, you can either add additional simple knots, or you could add a figure of 8, which should cut it by another 20cm or so. 

Tip #3 - Aim for Flow Before Speed

Now we’ll move away from the gear and explore the actual practice of rope flow.

The first important concept is to focus on technique and finding a flow state before you aim for speed. 

We often think that going faster or harder is better, but this isn’t always the case, and certainly isn’t when learning a new skill like rope flow. 

If you aim for slow and smooth first, this will help remove any tension and restrictions, and eventually, speed will come naturally.

On the other hand, if you try to force speed right away, you won’t have the technique as a foundation. The result will be sloppy and you’ll learn bad habits, and I can’t imagine you’ll get a great deal of positive transfer over to your sports and other movement activities.

So go slow before you go fast.

Related: 20+ Benefits of Rope Flow – Body, Mind & Beyond

Tip #4 - Skillwork vs Working Out

Another key concept to consider when rope training is that it’s a skill, rather than a workout. 

Sure, rope flow is a great way to challenge the body and get a good cardiovascular training effect.

But to reap the benefits long term, you’re better off viewing it initially as learning anew skill, as opposed to a way to break a sweat or challenge your body.

This means practicing little and often, break each skill up into small chunks, taking adequate rest, and staying fresh. The same goes for learning other skills like handstands or slack-lining. 

Commit to the practice, and then soon enough you’ll be able to incorporate rope flow into your more physically demanding training. 

Related: Follow Along Rope Flow Session for Beginners

Tip #5 - Stack Your Bones

Rope flow is an excellent way to practice using both sides of the body, and to mimic athletic movement patterns. Something that may help you get that feeling of athleticism with the rope is to think about shifting your weight to one side at a time.

You can imagine this as almost stacking your bones. So if I’m performing an overhand pattern on the right side of my body, I’m shifting most of my weight onto the right foot. I could even lift my left foot off the floor if I’d like to. 

Having the bones stacked on top of one another like this results in more efficient movement. We’re using the whole musculoskeletal system. This is where we see the link between rope flow and athletic movement patterns like striking, throwing, running, and more.

It’s essentially teaching you to conserve energy and become a more efficient mover. 

Tip #6 - Use Your Whole Body

This rope flow tip links in with the one before, and it’s to use your whole body. 

Watching someone roll a rope, it’s easy to assume that it’s just the shoulders involved. But the truth is, the rope is a full-body experience. 

Ideally, you want to let rope move you all the way from your toes to your wrist and everywhere in between. Getting the whole body involved has numerous benefits:

Coiling through the spine generates power

Pivoting from the hips allows you to transfer power from side to side.

Wrists are a big one, allow for more intricate control over the rope.

This isn’t something that you’re necessarily going to feel right away, but it’s something to keep in mind. This idea of whole-body integration and balance between both sides.

Related: 6 Rope Flow Mobility Exercises for Enhanced Fluidity

Tip #7 - Integrate Rope Flow into Your Practice

The rope is a versatile tool and can be incorporated into your movement practice in a number of ways. 

A few ways that I use the rope include:

  • Warmup for running and strength work.
  • To keep moving between sets.
  • Standalone zone 2 cardio.
  • Rotational training within strength session.
  • More mellow, moving meditation in the morning.
  • Taking out on an adventure – hike or to the beach.
The most important thing is that you find something that works well for you. 
 

Rope Flow FAQs

Yes, rope flow can be a fun, effective, low-impact way to improve various aspects of our physical fitness, including joint mobility, coordination, endurance, power, athletic intelligence and beyond. It is an increasingly popular tool that is accessible, easy to learn,and can benefit anyone from complete beginners to professional athletes. 

Rope flow is an effective way to increase your daily activity levels and caloric expenditure if you are work towards a body composition goal such as losing weight. It’s a low impact activity so can be performed for extended time periods without placing stress on the joints. You can also increase the intensity by exerting more force, using a heavier rope, or working towards more complex movement patterns. 

First, get yourself a rope and learn the basic underhand, overhand and dragon roll movement patterns. From there, you can begin integrating these patterns together, before learning more advanced techniques and then moving on to improvisation.

Related: In-Depth Rope Flow Tutorial  

Over to You!

Any questions, let me know down below! And if you have any bonus tips that you’d like to share with others, you can hit me up in the comments, or head over to our facebook group. Happy flowing!

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Luke Jones

Luke Jones is a Movement Coach, Wellness Enthusiast, Online Content Creator, and Founder of HERO Movement. Through articles, videos, courses, and online coaching, his big goal is to help people discover freedom of movement and create lives filled with well-being & adventure.

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