Rope Flow with Heavy Ropes

Rope Flow with Heavy Ropes

Rope Flow with Heavy Ropes

Standard flow ropes weigh between 450-550 grams. When one approaches practice with intent and consistency, flowing with these ropes offers significant benefits. Namely, improved coordination and proprioception, balance, athleticism, timing, spatial awareness, and mobility. Systematic practice can be further enhanced by varying certain parameters, including the type and weight of the rope.

Heavy Rope Flow Journey

My journey with heavier-than-standard ropes began about six months into my practice, in early 2021. I switched from a standard rope (450 grams) to a heavier one (750 grams). Although the difference in weight may not seem significant on paper, the actual experience was entirely different. At that stage, my technique was poor, and my tissues and joints had not yet adapted to rope flow. This led to discomfort and eventually an injury (an intercostal strain that lingered for 2-3 months).

Naturally, I abandoned heavy ropes and didn't consider trying them again. Fast forward to late 2022, when Pablo from Winding Ropes reached out and sent me a pack that included two heavy ropes (1 kg and 1.5 kg). I tried rolling them, and while it was challenging, I didn’t experience the same issues as in 2021. My body had adapted to the heavier rope, but the experience was still not particularly pleasant, so I rarely used the two ropes.

 

Rope Flow Progressive Overload

Then came progressive overload. Early in 2023 Pablo sent me another heavy rope, a customized Ghost Shark (around 850 grams). This was a game changer. The rope was heavy enough (but not too heavy) and moved with considerable momentum, but in a satisfying way. Everything slowed down, giving me time to focus on every detail of my movements. I started rolling the Ghost Shark every day, and after about a month, I noticed significant improvements in my technique and timing. 

 

 

 

With this progress, I went back to rolling the 1 kg and 1.5 kg ropes, and suddenly, I had no issues with them. In fact, I initiated a #heavyropechallenge, where participants would roll the heaviest rope they had for at least 10 minutes each day for 30 days. I discussed this challenge with Pablo here:


To summarize my experience and practical insights: using heavy ropes greatly improved my technique and timing. Notably, I became better at generating force from ground contact and keeping my arms closer to my body, driving the rope from my core. There were some timing issues in my technique that went unnoticed with standard ropes, but the heavier ropes exposed them and helped me correct these flaws. Today, I no longer struggle with rolling 1.5-2 kg ropes, and 750 g to 1 kg ropes feel almost like standard ones.

 

For anyone looking to incorporate heavy ropes into their practice, I recommend following the principles outlined in my conversation with Pablo. First, ensure your fundamentals are solid and that you understand correct body mechanics. Second, use the principle of progressive overload to select your first heavy rope, taking into account your body weight and the weight of your everyday practice rope. For most people, a starting weight between 650 g and 1000 g is ideal. Third, approach the practice with caution to avoid injuries and setbacks. Adopt a 'beginner's mind' and focus on gradually rebuilding your foundations day by day. Fourth, be aware of your mobility limitations, as they will be challenged when you increase the rope's weight. Be patient, especially with riskier patterns (e.g., overhand/underhand sneaks), and you will see significant improvements in your body's capabilities.

Happy (heavy) flowing!

Alpaca Flow

https://www.instagram.com/alpaca.flow

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