The Endless Rope Machine

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When the new Glitter Gym opened up I walked through the floor of equipment passing judgment. Good, bad, awful, and so on. I was doing some recon on what I would use to build workouts. One piece of equipment made me laugh.

It was a flat bench with an arm that held a thick black rope. The person exercising was pulling the rope, which looped back around. It looked silly. I dismissed it and continued my recon.

About a month later as I was heading out of the gym, I decided I’d give it a try as a joke. I experimented with the different settings and found the two highest tension settings to be interesting. Unlike the other members of the gym that were using the easy setting for 10-15 minutes, I used the 2 highest settings and did 3 sets of 30 seconds. All out.

There were also three angles you could pull the rope from. I preferred the straight vertical.

It was humbling. I got a great HIIT like workout without pounding my knees. I liked it a lot better than the rowing machines, which never clicked with me.

Endless Rope Machine Video

Apparently these machines have been around for years, but this was the first time I had seen one. Have you tried an Endless Rope machine? What did you think? There are tutorials online showing how some people have made their own.

7 thoughts on “The Endless Rope Machine

  1. Jim M.

    I’ve never seen this piece of equipment before at the several gyms I’ve been to here in CT. Looks very interesting though and I would definitely try it if my gym had one. One thing I noticed is there seems to be a lack of eccentric muscle action (inherent in any rope pulling I suppose), not that that’s good or bad, just an observation.

  2. Stuart Gilbert

    Jim, apart from running I can’t think of any “cardio” activity / piece ( which is what this essentially is ) that has a loaded eccentric.
    We have one of these in our gym. I’ve never used it, but this article has piqued my interest. What rest period did you use between your 30 second “sprints” MAS? I might give this a go in the next week or two. I was never a fan of the rower, stairwell or strippers, preferring to use treadmills or exercise / recumbent bikes for any cardio / interval work. My only reservation would be that as it is an upper body erg it probably won’t get the heart rate as high or provide as much overall fatigue as some of the other pieces I mentioned. But on the plus side, as you mentioned the injury potential is probably less, unless you do something to your hands, fingers or shoulders.
    I’ve always wanted to try one of Concepts Ski drugs. Now they are a rarity in gyms. So are, these days, Versaclimbers, which I never got to try. I suspect they went out of fashion because they were just too difficult.

  3. Stuart Gilbert

    MAS,
    I tried this machine last night. I substituted it for my usual grip exercise at the end of my weights workout. I did the 3 x 30 seconds like you did on level 6. It certainly worked my grip, but also pumped up my last and biceps, so ended up being a nice little upper body finisher for my weights session, which I’ll probably keep.
    I asked about the rest periods as I was thinking about the exercise studies using 30 second sprints that have had 4 minutes rest periods between efforts. I theorized that 4 minutes wouldn’t be needed, as it wouldn’t be as systemically demanding as a lower body effort, so without having seen your answer above I settled on 2 minute rests, in order to give a “good” effort to each rep. I got 32, 31 and 30 metres respectively. I can see me slowly bringing the rest periods down over subsequent sessions while trying to stay as close to these numbers as possible. I can imagine with only 30 seconds rest that your second and third reps didn’t resemble “sprints”…mine wouldn’t have done. Lol.
    Another drawback of this machine is that it doesn’t have the precise monitor of the Concept 2, so it would be harder to monitor and track progress in the short and mid term especially than it would on the rower. I suspect that that is a bigger concern of mine than it is yours however.

  4. @Stuart – You are correct. By my final set I was dragging. Probably need to bump up the rest period. I just moved back to Seattle, so now I need to find this glorious machine again. 🙂

  5. Angelo Coppola

    I’m glad you wrote about this. I’ve walked passed this machine several times (literally, it’s right alongside the indoor track at my gym) without giving it much thought. The HIIT angle makes it super interesting. I’m not sure if you have a Y in your area, but the Ys near me (Pierce & Kitsap counties) have them.

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