Is The Rope Pull Machine Overrated For Cardio?

rope pull machine
August 8, 2023 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “is the rope pull machine overrated for cardio?”. The rope pull machine is an interesting machine that is used to improve conditioning.

I have only seen this machine recently in gyms that I go to. I thought that it was an interesting piece of kit, some people say that it is overrated for cardio and conditioning.

This article will explore this topic in more detail, it will be an insightful and good read.

Is The Rope Pull Machine Overrated For Cardio?

To determine whether the rope pull machine is overrated for cardio, it is necessary to take into account a variety of factors.

Firstly, the machine can provide an effective cardio workout. You can alter the height of the rope and the resistance. This allows you to progress on this exercise and it provides numerous challenges.

However, the rope pull machine is primarily intended to improve your upper body conditioning. The rower works both your arms and legs at the same time which makes it more effective for cardio and conditioning.

The rope pull machine is good for a change of pace, your grip will benefit also from using this machine. I also advise people to incorporate a variety of exercises for cardio.

This helps make cardio more enjoyable but also a more sustainable part of your life long term.

rope pull machine

Effective For Upper Body Conditioning

Where the rope pull machine really shines is when it comes to improving your upper body conditioning. It works your pulling muscles and core well and you can also work your shoulder by moving the rope in reverse.

You could easily incorporate this exercise at the end of your upper body workouts. It will help to pump a lot of blood into your arms and back and improve recovery.

You can work on your grip with this bit of kit as well as improve your conditioning. The ability to make this exercise harder by varying resistance and changing rope position presents lots of challenges.

It also helps to alleviate boredom. Some forms of cardio can be monotonous and boring. The treadmill is a good example of this. 

Previously I have talked about why you may be feeling bored on the treadmill.

Low Impact Option

The rope pull machine is a good lower impact form of cardio. If you don’t like running on the treadmill as it puts too much stress on the joints, you can use this machine for cardio.

It will also hinder your recovery less using the rope pull machine than doing longer runs on a treadmill. If you find using a stationary bike is stressful on your knees, you can try the rope pull machine as well.

Overall this machine is great for improving your upper body conditioning, getting your heart rate up and improving your grip. It is an enjoyable workout modality also, you can alter the difficulty of your workouts.

Some sessions you can do rope pulls at a higher resistance setting for shorter more intense bouts of effort. Other workouts you can go for more time at a lower resistance setting.

Is The Rope Pull Machine Better Than The Rower?

Both the rope pull machine and the concept 2 rower are very good forms of cardio. You will improve your conditioning regardless of which piece of apparatus you use.

But for me the rower is superior. You can work your arms, back and legs with this exercise. It is a complete total body movement, very functional and is intense at high resistance settings.

It is also enjoyable, personally I would rather use the rower than the rope pull machine. However, it is worth giving the rope pull machine a try for a different challenge and to see how you like it.

I have explored rowing as a form of cardio before on my site.



Variety is the spice of life and I have always maintained that variety is important when it comes to exercise.

Varying movements in the gym can help to keep things fresh and prevent overuse injuries. Likewise, varying the form of cardio that you do can help to make cardio more enjoyable.

A lot of people only have one or two forms of cardio that they do regularly. This is better than nothing but it is not optimal. In a lot of cases this form of cardio will be walking or running.

Walking in nature is great for improving blood flow, conditioning and overall well being. It is good to vary your cardio exercises to present new challenges and increase your enjoyment.

Adding the rope pull machine into your workouts for conditioning will be a fun way of challenging yourself. You will engage your lats, arms and core.

Hitting the muscles from different angles with the rope at different heights will also provide unique muscle stimulation.

Don’t Just Do The Rope Pull Machine For Cardio!

Whilst the rope pull machine is effective for improving your conditioning, don’t rely on it as your sole form of cardio.

The machine doesn’t work your legs as well as other forms of cardio. With the elliptical for instance you can work your arms and legs at the same time and engage in various different workouts.

The treadmill also conditions your legs as you can run or walk up various levels of incline. The rower is a complete full body exercise that works your body as a unit and is highly effective for conditioning.

Therefore, you need to use the rope pull machine as another tool in your arsenal. You should compliment it with other forms of cardio like the rower and elliptical.

How To Use The Rope Pull Machine

Good technique is always something that I preach on the website. Every exercise should be done with solid technique.

The same is true with using the rope pull machine. This machine typically has different settings of resistances. You can choose from easy settings and hard settings.

Harder settings are best for shorter bouts of more intense effort. You can also adjust the height of the rope, this will allow you to hit muscles from different angles.

When you have the rope very high you want to focus on sitting tall and pulling the rope straight down towards your hips. When the rope is in the middle position, you are essentially rowing at more of an angle.

You still want to pull towards your hips and pull your arms back. Whenever you are using this machine you have to ensure that you keep your core engaged and turned on. 

You don’t want to twist your spine, so it really is crucial to keep your core tight. When done properly this exercise will work your core, arms and lats well.

Final Thoughts

Is the rope pull machine overrated for cardio? The answer is that it is not overrated. It will improve your conditioning when used properly but it is best used in conjunction with other conditioning exercises.

You won’t target your lower body as effectively with the rope pull as you can with other cardio exercises. I would advise rotating through at least three to four cardio exercises.

In my case, I use the elliptical, treadmill and rower. I did try the rope pull machine at my gym to see what it was like and I liked the exercise. Although, I won’t be including it as a regular staple in my workout routine.

If you have any comments on the rope pull machine please leave them below. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

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