You may remember them from gym class, but ropes have been a popular fitness tool in gyms across the country for years. Frequently used by bodybuilders and MMA fighters, battling rope workouts (also known as fitness or exercise ropes) increase upper endurance and core conditioning, while also increasing overall strength.

Here, figure pro Nicole Wilkins demonstrates how to execute this unique routine created by Gino Caccavale, New York City–based trainer and founder of Muscle in Motion. You’ll blast serious calories and build sleek muscle—plus add serious fun to your weekly routine.

Rope Climb

Works: Shoulders, Back, Arms, Core

This upper-body exercise not only works the arms but also requires an engaged core in order to help develop agility and coordination in your back.

  • Reach your right hand above head level and grip the rope. Place left hand 12 inches below right. Bend your knees and wrap your right ankle and left heel around the bottom of the rope.
  • Simultaneously drive your elbows down while pushing with your legs to lift off the floor. Remove your left hand from the rope and place it 12 inches above your right, and pull your body upward.
  • Perform two sets of 20 pulls. To descend, reverse your arm movements while keeping your legs relaxed.
Double Rope Pullup

Works: Shoulders, Back, Arms, Core

This exercise focuses on your lats and can help improve functional fitness and increase muscle mass.

  • Begin standing. Reach up and grab the two ropes, one in each hand. Pull your body upward while pushing elbows downward until your chin reaches hand level. Bend knees and cross ankles to create ground clearance as you lift off of the floor.
  • Descend to almost a full hang, tapping toes lightly on the floor , then pull up again.
  • Repeat two sets of 8 to 12 reps.

Tip: If it’s too difficult to pull your body weight, jump into 90-degree arm position and hold.

Cross-arm Wave

Works: Shoulders, Back, Rear Delts, Core

The outward arm movement works your rear delts, which can help your posture.

  • Start with your feet slightly parted, knees bent, core engaged. Grab ropes at hip level. Cross your left wrist and the rope over right wrist and rope, keeping elbows slightly bent. Pull ropes outward and back, pulling shoulder blades together.
  • Return to start now with left wrist under right. Continue outward wave.
  • Perform two sets, for one minute each.

Tip: Be sure to squeeze your shoulder blades together each time you move your arms outward.

Lateral Step Alternating Wave

Works: Shoulders, Core, Inner and outer thighs

This full-body move requires continuous movements of your arms and legs without pausing.

  • Start with feet wider than hip width, knees bent, core engaged. Hold ropes at hip level. Keeping elbows bent, raise left arm to hip level.
  • Push your right arm back down while simultaneously lifting your left arm to eye level. Continue waves.
  • While doing waves, step your left foot to right. Return left foot to original squat position. Repeat with right foot.
  • Do two sets for one minute.

Tip: Keep knees bent during sidestep without standing upright, to keep core engaged.

Down Wave

Works: Shoulders, Back, Core

Keeping your legs bent will help you stay grounded and give you power for this exercise.

  • Stand with your knees slightly bent, core engaged. Grab and hold ropes at torso level .
  • Raise arms to eye level, keeping a bend in elbows and explosively whip arms downward to create a wave.
  • Do two sets for one minute.
Alternating Two-arm Lunging Wave

Works: Shoulders, Core, Legs

This move works the entire body and requires concentration on each muscle group.

  • Stand with your knees bent, abs engaged. Hold ropes at hip level. Perform down waves, alternating your arms.
  • At the same time, lunge left leg to the rear. Return to original quarter-squat position and repeat lunge back with right leg while still moving ropes.
  • Perform two sets for one minute each.

Tip: Make sure you never lock your legs. It will make it difficult to engage your core.

Kneeling Alternating Wave

Works: Shoulders, Arms, Core

An engaged core and neutral spine are a must for this exercise.

  • Kneel with your knees six inches apart, core engaged. Hold ropes at hip level.
  • Keeping elbows bent, raise your right arm to eye level. Snap right arm to hip level while simultaneously lifting left arm to eye level. Repeat, creating a wave-like effect.
  • Perform two sets for one minute each.
Rope Jacks

Works: Shoulders, Core, Inner and outer thighs

The added cardio in this move really boosts your calorie burn.

  • Start with your feet together, holding a rope in each hand at your sides.
  • Jump feet outward like a standard jumping jack; raise arms and ropes overhead to form a Y.
  • Return to start; do two sets for one minute.

Tip: Do not lock your knees; keep them soft on both inward and outward leg movements.

Side-to-side Wave

Works: Shoulders, Core, Obliques, Intercostals

  • Each time you move side to side in this move, you will be performing a mini crunch.
  • Start with your feet apart, knees slightly bent. Grab one rope in each hand, holding them outside your left hip.
  • Raise your arms together across the center of body, to eye level. Quickly drop arms to outside right hip. Repeat to outside left hip.
  • Transverse side to side for two sets, one minute each.

Tip: Be sure to slam the ropes to the ground on each side making a wave-like motion.