It doesn’t matter if you call it a skipping rope or a jump rope (in the US), the truth is that this often-overlooked piece of gym equipment is the best cardio-centric movement you’re not doing. You might think of it as something just for school kids to use during break time, but it’s actually a training powerhouse.
No matter your fitness modality of choice, adding in rope skipping to your program training is useful and beneficial for plenty of reasons. From CrossFit to boxing, running to cycling, every athlete can benefit from a little time spent with a skipping rope.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of skipping and how to select the right rope for your personal goals.
Our Top Picks at a Glance
- Gritin Skipping Rope Editor’s Choice
- Gritin Speed Jump Rope
- Beast Rope
- Beast Rope Elite
- LEISIWEI Speed Skipping Rope
- Sportout Speed Skipping Rope
- TechRise Skipping Rope
- TOQIBO Skipping Rope
- Valour Strike Leather Weighted Skipping Rope
Note: There’s a lot more information below but clicking the above links will take you to current prices, further information and customer reviews on Amazon.
Benefits of Using a Skipping Rope
One of the most apparent benefits of using a skipping rope is that you can get in a workout anywhere. It’s easy to carry a rope in your bag and bring it along on holiday, during work trips, or whenever you know you have some extra free time.
Boosts cardio health
When you train your brain and heart to pump blood more efficiently, oxygen gets delivers to muscles and organs more easily. This is called aerobic conditioning, and it happens when you perform continuous movements of large muscle groups to help strengthen your heart and lungs. Skipping is considered an aerobic activity because you can perform it for longer periods and it boosts the ability of your heart and lungs to work under stress.
Emerging science shows that jumping rope can help with the development of your left and right brain hemispheres. This helps to increase spatial awareness and improve your memory. Skipping might help you feel more alert and increase your reading comprehension too. Since you’re jumping up and down on the balls of your feet when you skip, you’re always re-correcting and adjusting your body. This means that your overall balance and coordination improve, which in turn keeps your reflexes sharp.
Decrease foot and ankle injury
Skipping can help improve foot coordination and increases the strength of the stabilizer muscles in your ankle and foot. This helps to decrease the changes you injure those areas. For athletes or anyone who wants to get faster on their feet, jumping rope helps train you to stay on the balls of your feet instead of on your heels.
Increased elasticity of low-leg stabiliser muscles
Sure, you can do a million calf raises to get strong in your back leg muscles, or you could just skip rope and strengthen not only your calf muscles but also the tendons and fascia. Increased elasticity helps prevent Achilles tendon strain and plantar fasciitis.
Improved bone density
Studies have shown that jumping up and down helps to increase bone density. Since everyone should be concerned with bone density as they age, adding skipping rope to your workout routine can help prevent bone fractures in the future.
Portable and fun
Skipping rope is one of the most accessible cardio workouts because the rope is so compact. All you need is the space to safely swing the rope and you can easily create challenging heart pumping workouts.
Significant calorie burn
When added to circuit training, skipping rope can ramp up the intensity, helping to create a greater overall caloric burn. Compared to moderate-paced jogging for 30 minutes, jumping rope can burn more calories. Skipping rope can burn up to 1300 calories per hour which is equivalent to an 8-minute mile.
What Are the Different Types of Skipping Ropes?
If you’re planning to workout outside frequently, then you should select a skipping rope that won’t wear out quickly on hard surfaces. The most durable types of outdoor skipping ropes use PVC cord or shatterproof beads.
One of the most popular ropes in gyms, speed ropes are lightweight and durable. Speed ropes allow you to work on footwork, agility, and overall endurance. Speed ropes are quiet and are well suited for doing advanced skipping techniques like the double under. A double under jump is when the rope makes two passes per jump instead of one. Speed ropes can tangle easily, so it’s essential to store them properly.
Weighted ropes can offer more caloric burn and greater muscle engagement. Options range from .25kg to 2.25kg, so it’s easy to customise a workout based on your fitness level. The added weight gives you a more intense workout. Weighted ropes can be more expensive, but they’re durable and exceptionally functional, so it might be worth the investment if you’re at that fitness level.
A basic rope for use in the gym doesn’t need to be very thin or fast. These skipping ropes have comfortable grip handles, thick PVC cord and can be easily sized. Thicker cords are especially useful if you’re starting with rope work. You can quickly establish a rhythm and get your heart rate to a target zone. Basic gym ropes won’t tangle like speed ropes or beaded ropes.
What Is the Ideal Length and thickness for a Skipping Rope?
No matter which type of rope you purchase, the length is critical to your rope-work success. The handle of the rope should come up to just about your armpit.
Excluding the handles, the cable should reach to the top of your chest.
An easy way to remember this is that you want your rope to be roughly 91 cms (approximately 3 feet) taller than you are.
The thickness of your skipping rope will depend on the intended use. Ropes range from 1.1 mm as an ultra-thin cable to 4 mm PVC cord. For most beginners, a 3.22 nylon coated cable might be most beneficial, since it can be used anywhere.
Types of Exercises You Can Do With a Rope
There are innumerable ways to add skipping rope into your workout routine, no matter if you’re doing CrossFit, cross-training, or conventional powerlifting and bodybuilding. Often boxing enthusiasts will rely on a skipping rope to help improve their speed and performance. However, what kinds of workouts can be done with skipping? Let’s take a look at the most popular.
First, it’s essential that you warm-up for skipping rope properly. This should include multi-plane jumps by jumping in all three planes of motion. Preparing your muscles and connective tissues for the work they’re able to do helps prevent injury. Most skipping experts suggest performing 8-10 jumps in each direction with a 30-second rest in between.
Exercises you can do with a skipping rope:
As it sounds, the basic jump is merely jumping up and down. The skipping rope passes under your feet while you’re in the air. This is a good jump for a warmup or as part of a longer cardio workout.
Side to side jump
Side to side jumps work planes of motion that some athletes might not activate often. The lateral movement while jumping makes this an agility exercise, and one that helps improve coordination and endurance.
Single leg jump
This jump helps isolate leg muscles on one side of your body. Keeping one leg straight while the other is bent at a ninety-degree angle helps encourage muscle stabilisation. Simple leg jumps provide a challenging workout.
A super rewarding jump to master because it’s so technical, double-under jumps require a lot of speed and wrist momentum. There are plenty of tricks to help you master this jump, but all double under jumps ultimately require a lot of practice and patience.
Other Things to Consider
Using a quality rope is essential to learn how to skip correctly and improve your fitness. In addition to the length of the rope, you should also carefully evaluate the rope weight and rope quality.
Most ropes on the market have been created to maximise user speed. This is great if you’ve been using a rope for a while, but not so great if you’re new to skipping. It’s hard to become proficient on jumps if you’re not able to feel where the rope is during its rotation. Speed ropes are best suited for advanced jumpers who want to fine-tune their performance.
The most effective skipping rope for a beginner should have some weight to it, but no more than 0.5kg. This will allow you to determine when the rope is coming around your feet to cue yourself to jump.
Weight in the handles of a rope isn’t ideal, so look for one that only has ball bearings in the handles. Proper skipping form means your arms move very little during jumps, so there’s not much benefit to having weight in the handle at all.
A quality rope is going to have durable handles that give you a good grip. Ball bearings are essential for the rope to rotate smoothly, especially at high speeds. When purchasing a rope, look for one that can be used on a variety of surfaces. Since a skipping rope is so portable, there’s no telling where you might workout.
A Detailed Look at the Best Skipping Ropes
Gritin Skipping Rope Editor’s Choice
This steel-coated PVC adjustable skipping rope is great for those who plan to take their workouts outside. A swivel ball beraring helps give an effortless spin while skipping. Thick handles are coated in soft memory foam, so your hands won’t fatigue easily when using this rope.
- Length is easy to change – great for getting it set up for the first time
- Easy to carry and doesn’t tangle
- Steel might be a little heavy for advanced users who are focusing on speed and agility
- Handles are weighted, which isn’t necessary
- Handles are large which might be taxing on those with smaller hands
It’s great that the Gritin has an adjustable length, especially if you’re going to be sharing your rope with other people. The foam handles might be unnecessary since most skipping work is done with the wrists and not the hands. Using this outside or in the gym makes it versatile, and a good choice for an absolute beginner.
This Gritin speed rope comes with memory foam handles that are designed to help you keep your grip, no matter how intense your workout. An adjustable PVC coated cable means you can customise to the perfect height.
- Ball bearing gives the rope easy spin, so you can sense where it is around your body
- Rope is very flexible – great for transporting
- Soft foam handles could add extra comfort if using the rope after a heavy lifting session
- Handles are large and bulky, might be hard for some people to hold onto for long periods of time
- The steel cable might be hard for some to cut
- Screw on adjusters inside the rope are plastic and can break easily
- Over-tightening the adjusters can lead to the handles cracking
The adjustment option on this rope is novel, but it might be difficult for some people to cut steel and then shove the excess rope b ack inside plastic latches. It’s great that this rope is light weight, but its also steel coated PVC, so it’s not as light as a real speed rope. This rope would be good for an intermediate jumper who is working on technique and skill.
The Beast Rope is thin, lightweight, and comes with a tidy carrying pouch, so it goes with you anywhere. Its flexible design makes this a great rope for those who are mastering more complex jumps, like the double under. Perfect for high intensity workouts, thanks to the ball bearing system spin.
- Thinner rope makes it a great option for speed work and technical work like double unders
- Bearings spin really quickly
- Handles aren’t weighted
- Can be used outside with an optional protector
- Rope doesn’t tangle
- Adjustable height options are suitable for many people
- The bearings can slack at times, so it’s possible that you lose your rhythm
- Handle design can be awkward for some users to hold
- Full rotation is occasionally disrupted by the handle
The versatility of the Beast Rope really sets it apart from other ropes on the market. It’s great that it can be used both indoor and out, and the brand stands by its product. Ideal for technical work like double-unders, or for any vigorous cardio-training program.
During full rotation, there’s a bit of resistance on the pull-through which adds time to a workout. This isn’t a big deal for lots of people, but it’s definitely not the rope to use during a CrossFit competition. A portion of the purchase of this Beast Rope goes to aid gorilla conservation, which is an added feel-good bonus.
This Beast Rope is super light weight because it’s made from aluminium. That means it’s great for fine-tuned jump and agility work, so it’s suitable for athletes who have been jumping for a while. This skipping rope rotates with ball bearings to easily control speed and whip. Thin handles help set this rope apart from the rest on the market; you won’t have to worry about an oversized gripped handle slowing you down. It’s easy to adjust but bear in mind the excess cord can hinder the ball bearings so really you might find this rope only suitable for one person.
- Grip grooves help keep the handles in your hands
- Handles aren’t weighted
- Simple length adjustment with an included Allen key that stores inside the handle
- Handles are rigid to provide smooth movement and balance
- Can tangle if it’s not stored properly
- Handle joints can snap if the rope isn’t used correctly
- Bearings can stiffen over time if used at high speed often
This rope is easy to handle since the Allen key stays hidden inside the handle. Tightening the grub screws before each use is a good idea just to be sure that nothing flies out while you’re skipping. The design of the Beast Rope Elite handles and the careful attention the bearing movement makes this an easy choice for serious skippers. A portion of the purchase of this Beast Rope goes to aid gorilla conservation, which is an added feel-good bonus.
This steel wire Speed Skipping Rope has a 360 swivel rapid ball bearing to make for easy movement. Accurately gauge where the rope is in relation to your body as you begin to master technical jumps. Ideal for double bottom movement, this skipping rope is great for those who are ready to take their jumping workouts to the next level.
- Handles are super thin, which helps to promote accurate form and muscle memory in your wrists
- Rope is extremely lightweight, making it excellent for speed work
- Well suited for agility work
- The gnarled handles might be uncomfortable for those not used to holding barbells or weights
- Rope is adjustable, but the excess remains, so the additional weight might add up over time
- Bearings might slip over time or at high speeds, which has potential for injury
The custom fit option is great on this thin rope, but it would be even better if the excess could be trimmed away. Instead, you have to rely on the threading of the bearings, which might wear out over time. This is a good skipping rope for intermediate jumpers who want to explore the functionality of a light weight without fulling committing to a speed rope.
A PVC embedded wire rope means that the Sportout Speed rope won’t get tangled in your gym bag. It comes with lightweight handles that are coated in memory form for easy grips. A dust-proof bearing offers 360 degrees of rotation that’s smooth and easy to use. The rope is easily adjusted, making it a great option if you don’t know your specific rope length
- Excess length can be trimmed off, so it doesn’t add extra weight to the rope
- PVC coating makes it suitable for outside workouts
- The memory foam coating on the handles can cause grip fatigue as well as improper form
- PVC thickness suggests its not suited for speed work
- Bearings are detachable, so they might loosen over time
The handles on this skipping rope have a rubber feel to them, which might be a benefit if you’re worried about your grip failing during a workout. PVC coating makes it a good choice to use for outdoor or gym workouts. But it’s probably not well suited for speed work or anything that involves technical jumps.
The TechRise skipping rope has a full rotational spin, and since this rope is heavy enough to sense it, you’re always going to know where it is in relation to your body. The smooth handles are easy on your grip – good news after a long lift. It’s easy to customise the length of this skipping rope, and the excess is quickly trimmed away.
- Very lightweight, so it’s great for speed and agility work
- Easy to customise the length
- Ultrathin steel wire
- Comes with a carrying bag to keep it tidy in your gym bag
- Handles can be slippery and hard to grip when moving fast
- Handle shape might not be good for some people because of the thickness
- Bearings might slow over time, making this less of speed rope
The TechRise has a lot going for it – it’s lightweight and can easily be used for double-under work or anything else that’s technical. The handles might be annoying for some users because they’re covered in that sort of soft foam that tends to deteriorate after time. The ball bearings are smooth and fast, which helps to isolate wrist movement while skipping.
This is a high-tech skipping rope for those who enjoy employing the most modern technology during their workouts. The TOQIBO has two functions and can work as a cordless skipping rope. An LED display tracks your metrics and lets you know how much time you’ve been skipping, and how many calories you’ve burned.
- The cordless function is suitable for those who might have problems with dexterity or for those who are brand new to skipping
- LCD display is a nice feature to let you know how long you’ve been working
- The weighted balls help you skip without a rope, so you can easily get a workout when space is limited
- Feeding the rope through the handle loop to use traditionally might not be very safe over time
- Instructions for set-up aren’t super clear
The LCD display is an innovative feature that sets the TOQIBO skipping rope apart from others on the market. Whether or not you need this tech-forward rope is determined by how specific you want to get with tracking your metrics. This is not the rope for speed or agility work, but it might be well suited for someone who wants to skip rope for caloric burning effects.
Old school leather skipping ropes have been around for a long time because they’re durable and efficient. Opposed to PVC wrapped around steel or aluminium, the advantage of a leather rope is that it’s going to last. This Valour Strike skipping rope features wooden handles that are ergonomically shaped or good grip. It comes with removable weights to add another challenge to your workout.
- Removable weights great for those that want to burn extra calories
- Wooden handles won’t break like plastic
- Vertical grooves on the handles help reinforce your grip
- Dual rotation system allows for stability, so you can focus on keeping your stabiliser muscles engaged
- Unless your hands are chalked, they might slip from the wood
- The rope is a little noisy since it’s made of leather
This leather rope from Valour is built to withstand even the most gruelling skipping rope workouts. The leather holds its form through rotations, so it’s easy to gauge where it is in relation to your body.
This rope is an excellent choice for someone who plans to incorporate skipping into their long-term training approach. It’s not a throw away rope and since it’s built to last, will be around for a very long time.
Skipping ropes are amazingly versatile and very portable, there’s never a reason to miss a workout. Whether you’re new to the world of skipping or you’re trying to perfect your double-under technique, there’s a rope that’s well suited to your level.
Skipping rope can help improve your cardio and your agility, which is good news for athletes of all levels. When you regularly incorporate skipping rope into your programming, your coordinate will improve, and you decrease the risk of foot and ankle injury.
It’s so portable, which means that skipping rope can be done anywhere that you take your rope. You’ll burn major calories while skipping, and it can help with your bone density and breathing efficiency.
When you’re in the market for a skipping rope, make sure you’re clear about your goals. Selecting a rope based on how you plan to use it is a great first step to selecting the ideal rope for your needs.