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People in CrossFit: Anthony DiLuglio and Art of Strength

Maxwod Interviewed Anthony DiLuglio of Art of Strength

Not everyone can say that their profession is also their passion, but those who do, seem to bleed their craft. To say that Anthony DiLuglio is passionate about his work would be a serious understatement. Anthony built his business with the sole desire of educating others in the fundamentals of fitness. On his quest to improve the industry through education, he unknowingly put himself on a path to creation. Initially made famous for his training practice, this instructor and business owner found himself with a new title under his belt, manufacturer. Enter Art of Strength - Ropes Gone Wild.

Conceived from the idea of undulation, the Art of Strength Rope has become a valued addition to the Functional Fitness world. Anthony was originally introduced to the concept of battle ropes and rope training by fitness expert Ori Hofmekler, who used a similar movement in his Israeli special forces days. Constantly feeling anxious and full of energy, unable to sleep, Ori would grab a towel and whip it up and down with both hands, as fast as he could, 20 seconds at a time. Anthony took this high intensity, zero impact movement and brought it to his gyms, but bath towels would only last so long. In need of a more durable type of material, DiLuglio began to look at ropes.  

The truth of the matter is that the Art of Strength rope exists only because of the void Anthony found when he went looking for a similar product: a training and fitness rope that had the capacity to withstand the high intensity movements DiLuglio and his clients were performing. “I’m not a competitor,” Anthony says, “I’m here to help. We’re first and foremost educators. By accident, we became equipment manufacturers.” Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, he originally introduced a battle rope that was used for a somewhat similar purpose, but he found the product to be plagued with issues. “They were shedding everywhere.” Anthony recalls, “My hand got infected after I cut it on the rope because there were no handles. They smelled terrible due to the formaldehyde, and they flat out fell apart.” Recognizing the need for a more high quality product, Anthony developed the AOS Ropes Gone Wild line that we see on the market today.

DiLuglio believes that functional fitness training equipment should be both high quality and affordable. He frowns upon the manufacturers that sell inferior products at premium cost. “Out of respect for the customer, we’ve got to get away from buying shit” he says. With a majority of the ropes components made in the USA, Anthony has kept the manufacturing of this product close to home. The sleeve that encases the rope itself, can be branded with the desired companys name through a printing process that is most commonly used on cycling shirts, called  sublimation printing. This is a process in which the print actually becomes part of the material, making it virtually impossible for the image or type to wear off. The factory that makes all of the AOS webbing makes all of the webbing for the U.S. military. And the handles of the rope, which are manufactured right in his shop, are screwed on as opposed to slipped on, for more security.

Art of Strength ropes, by virtue of their use, will pop a few strands, get dirty, start to wear out, and the sleeves will rip - that’s normal. They are warranted for a year, but if they show some wear and tear in the following years, you don’t have to buy a whole new rope, which many other manufacturers recommend. With the “Pimp my Rope” option that AOS offers, you can refurbish your ropes’ damaged parts for only a fraction of the price. Not having to fully replace the equipment every few years is one of many reasons this product is advantageous to any gym.

When I asked Anthony what the benefits of integrating these ropes into a program were, he said “Simple Cardio.” DiLuglio’s clients have ranged from your average gym member to NFL athletes, boxers, cancer patients, children, and those who were obese. Having a piece of equipment that could be used by people with various levels of athleticism was vital. “A lot of clients can’t perform traditional cardio” Anthony says, “some don’t have stability, some can’t endure any type of impact, but they are still willing and capable. With the ropes, you can monitor them, and get their heart rate up to 70-80% of max within a 20 second interval, then bring it back down quickly and safely.” Used for sports rehab training and recovery programs, the battle training rope is a full body workout, and has virtually no barrier to entry. With benefits like muscle toning, metabolic activity, cardiovascular activity, and muscle endurance, the Art of Strength rope is the Swiss Army Knife of fitness gear and seems to be an unparalleled addition to any workout.

But can’t you get the same benefits from a kettlebell workout? I ask . “Yes.” he replies, “But there is a substantially higher learning curve with the kettlebell. What if it puts strain on your back, or you have poor balance or grip strength? Imagine being able to eliminate all those factors, but still get the same results. With the ropes, the learning curve is basically non-existent. Now that’s something that’s useful!” He tells me that people who have never used a rope before can close their eyes and perform the movements with precision. The undulating movement provides the body with a familiar circular flow of energy, making it easy to just let intuition take over.  

Anthony took his passion of fitness and made it his profession. Along the way he found a gap in the equipment market, and took it upon himself to fill it. Anthony’s main purpose though, is to educate. DiLuglio is more interested in people knowing the moves and the benefits of his ropes than he is in the manufacturing process. Through his Art of Strength Training Program, Anthony shows people - generally personal trainers and private gym owners -  the proper way to use ALL fitness equipment, and program correctly. “There is a baseline of fundamentals that needs to be brought back,” he states, “and ropes have become part of those fundamentals.” Art of Strength’s multi-month programs are designed so that small portions of information is dispensed each session, ensuring that participants really grasp the ideas. So much so, that they should have the ability to implement the concepts in their clients’ workouts the following week.

Anthony knows that people are not going to completely give up traditional gym equipment, but he believes that there is much more room for variety in this industry. Anthony believes in his product, and in the enjoyment of fitness. “People should be entertained while working out” he says. So find something that turns you on, if it happens to be his ropes, great. I’m sure he would be happy to show you a few moves.


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