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Don't be a rope-a-dope, get in shape with resistance training

Don’t be a rope-a-dope, get in shape with resistance training

You don’t have to be a boxer to be on the ropes. Or even in bad shape. In fact, knowing the ropes is one of the most versatile ways to get in good shape.

The sheer variety of ropes, cables and bands designed to promote strength and stability makes braiding them into your fitness regime a loop you’ll want to repeat again and again.

Take TRX straps. Short for “total body resistance exercise,” these heavy-duty nylon straps are a form of suspension training that rely on gravity and body weight to perform hundr of exercises.

With adjustable foot cradles, and comfort-grip rubber handles, the two straps help develop strength, balance, flexibility and, above all, core stability.

Portable and multi-functional, most gyms carry them, but all you really need to turn any area into a TRX training ground is a set of straps and a strong base around which to secure them.

Your body is the free weight that must be moved in a controlled motion, whether performing chest presses, bicep curls, crunches and elevated push-ups, or squats, lunges, hamstring curls and glute bridges. You can even do planks. It all depends whether you use the handles or foot cradles.

Cable-motion strength equipment is another great option requiring your muscles work to stabilize your body as you exercise. Unlike fixed devices, when you use free-motion cable machines, your body is forced to be that support.

Standard lower-body exercises such as squats, lunges, dead-lifts and step-ups are more challenging with the addition of a cable pull. The horizontal force the cable exerts on your body forces you to counter it to maintain your center of gravity, demanding core muscles stabilize and strengthen to keep you upright.