As with any sports training, jumping rope demands the best possible equipment, if you’re to get the most out of your workout. Choosing the right materials and the highest quality you can afford, not only gets you off to the best start, it can help to circumvent two common problems:
- Injuries caused by poor technique (due to poor equipment)
- Ineffective workouts and wasted energy.
Jumping rope is one of the safest exercises there is, when it comes to injury statistics. Compared to running, jumping rope puts less stress on joints when done correctly, and it forces you to maintain an upright posture.
This is because jump roping is done with the knees slightly bent and landing on the midfoot, thus distributing energy more evenly throughout the leg muscles.
Check it out:
Want to see how a real pro jumps rope? Check out our video of world champion Adrienn Banhegyi, the world jump roping champion:
Different types of Jump Rope
Fabric Jump RopesThis is the most common type of rope. It’s the one we had when we were children. They usually have plastic handles and a fabric or nylon rope. They’re cheap — around 4 euros — but the quality is often pretty low.
There are some decent quality fabric jump ropes, but for competition or speed workouts, a fabric rope has two major drawbacks:
- Weight (They’re heavy)
- Friction (They’re slow)
All of that excess weight equates to wasted energy.
These aren’t the best choice for athletes practicing Crossfit, Boxing or aerobic conditioning.
You can’t use these ropes outside on wet ground, either, as the fabric rope will absorb moisture, becoming even heavier.
Jump Rope with Plastic Beads.
Producing a show of colours and patterns, these are arguably the most Fun Ropes to watch someone using. They’re popular at competitions.
These are the best jump ropes for beginners, since the sound on the floor helps you to find your rhythm and cadence.
Weight is a favourable factor with these ropes, providing greater muscular feedback, allowing a beginner to get to grips with what’s going on.
The only drawback, is that the plastic beads inside can break eventually.
Also, once you have mastered simple jumps and have picked up some experience your body will soon want more speed.
Leather Jump Rope.
Popular with boxers, the leather jump rope has been a favourite of legends including Mohammed Ali, Pacquiao, Mike Tyson or George Foreman.
They used them primarily to enhance coordination and speed of leg movement, which helps gain confidence in the ring where agility is key. These boxing ropes have plastic or wooden handles and are faster than the plastic or fabric ones we’ve seen above.
However, because it is an organic material you should be careful about using them outdoors and in areas exposed to moisture.
Also, take care if you do high-speed jump roping because whips are made of the same material and it is no coincidence.
If you are a beginner, take care if you use this type of rope.
Plastic or PVC Jump Rope.
These are the most popular ropes on the market and their price varies greatly depending primarily on their quality. They can range from 4 to 60 Euros.
You can find them in various types, finishes, colours and cable thicknesses.
These ropes are suitable for beginners and more advanced athletes, but are not recommended if your only objective is speed. For example, if you want to do Double Unders in Crossfit, you will find them more difficult to master with this type of jump rope.
The weight and thickness of the cable are usually not optimally balanced for speed. However, for getting started on simple jumps and other workouts, they are more than enough.
One advantage of these ropes is that they can be used outdoors with no problem and the cables last longer than usual even on hard ground as they are not excessively heavy.
Steel cable Jump Rope (Fire 2.0)
This type of jump rope has gained popularity in the fitness market, especially among CrossFit athletes who want to do double jumps (double unders) as quickly as possible.
SEE ALSO: WOD 10 Crossfit routines you shouldn’t miss.
These ropes are basically designed with one goal in mind: SPEED.
There are 2 types of cable: 4 mm or 2.5 mm.
2.5 mm Ropes for Speed Jump Roping are not recommended for beginners, because you don’t feel the turn of the rope so much and, therefore, it is harder to pick up technique required for double unders.
However, they do produce less muscle fatigue, making them better for competitions. If you are not able to do 25 double unders unbroken, you should not start with these ropes.
Practicing with a 4 mm cable instead, allows athletes to better feel the rope.
If you are training for boxing or martial arts we recommend using 4 mm plastic-coated steel cable jump ropes — they not only allow high speed, but also train your resistance more efficiently.
The durability of 4 mm cables is obviously higher than 2.5 mm cables because the PVC or plastic coating is thicker.
Bare in mind that these jump ropes are made of very dense cable. This means they are very fast ropes but that mistakes are costly and painful. Avoid using these ropes on concrete, as the hard surface can wear away the plastic.
They are recommended for use in parks with rubber flooring like the ones you can find in any city if you use them outdoors or in a gym with rubber or parquet flooring indoors. As a user you should look for models with high-speed bearings.
Prices range from low quality, 5 euro ropes, to the high end kind sold by Velites Sport.
Weighted Jump Ropes (Fire 2.0 Weights)
Okay, finally there are weighted jump ropes. Here, your imagination is the limit.
Choose from weighted ropes, add weights into the handles, or find a rope which allows you to hang weights on the cable. The best, most efficient option, is to add weights to the handles, and to use a thicker cable.
Weighted handles and thicker cables are great for building speed, power and endurance at once. Done correctly, jumping rope with added weights is a killer workout.
These ropes are not for beginners and it require quite a repertoire of movements and previous experience to take advantage of them. Their price is also high if you want a good range of weights. A complete training pack usually costs about 70 Euros (Velites online Shop).
Outdoor use will depend on the cables you use; the middleweight ones usually have more durable coatings. On the other hand, the heavy cables usually suffer more from repeated impacts.
You also need to be careful indoors if the floor is fragile — now it’s the rope causing damage!
10 points to sum up the guide to choosing your rope for training or competition
To sum up, these are the points to remember when choosing a rope:
- The most important thing when choosing a rope is the thickness and density of the cable… the material it is made of MATTERS.
- If you have a rope with a thick, low-density cable, such as a PVC rope, you will start to feel the air resistance in the speed of rotation.
- If the cable is thin and dense as in the case of steel ropes, we are talking about SPEED.
- High/medium density ropes like PVC or 4 mm steel ropes are the most suitable for beginners.
- If you are interested in CrossFit or functional workouts, you should choose steel cable ropes: 2.5 mm if you have mastered the technique and 4 mm if you are a beginner.
- If your interest is martial arts training, the 4 mm steel or leather ropes are your best option.
- If you intend jump roping to be your main form of working out, we recommend weighted jump ropes.
- If you want to put on a colourful show while jump roping, use ropes with plastic beads. If you are a beginner you can get started with these ropes, but to put on a show you should become a pro.
- Handles should be comfortable for the hand. For CrossFit or fitness look for comfortable lightweight handles, preferably made of strong materials such as metal for durability.
- If you train outdoors, you can use either weighted jump ropes (with PVC coated cables) or steel cable ropes, preferably 4 mm. Outdoors, in damp conditions, leather or fabric ropes, or wooden handles are not recommended.
- For indoors, you can use any jump rope you want depending on your goals; taking care with the heavier weighted ropes, which may leave marks on the floor.
Ideally you should do your workouts on rubber flooring over a concrete base.
How to adjust your jump rope to your height and your level of expertise… All you need to know.
Finally, to end this guide please note that the most important thing, regardless of which rope you use, is that it should always be properly adjusted.
SEE ALSO: Infographic: 10 functional workouts for jump rope
As you can see, the ideal length is achieved by standing on the rope with one foot and raising the handles horizontally to the height of the nipples.
If you are a beginner you can extend this cable length by 2-5 cm, never more, because you would completely change the mechanics of movement when jump roping and that’s not good for your training. A little more length gives you leeway and lets you hear the pounding of the rope on the ground to pick up pace and technique more easily.
As you progress in technique and agility you can gradually reduce the cable length until you are comfortable with the ideal length.
Any questions, comments or opinions are welcome. Other related posts that may interest you:
- Choosing your VRope jump rope for Fitness or Martial Arts
- How to adjust your jump rope for double unders. The key
- How to do double unders in three steps
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