Jump rope is one of the most effective training workouts for any athlete, focusing on several muscle groups and abilities.
Depending on whether you are doing speed rope, double unders, or singles for time you are going to be engaging your core, shoulders, legs, and more. The exercise can also improve your balance, speed, endurance, agility, and coordination.
The simplicity and effectiveness of this workout is why the jump rope has been, and still is so widely used in a multitude of training programs.
Though the jump rope has been around for a very long time there have been some innovations to the rope and the exercise, such as speed ropes and heavy ropes as well as the the introduction of double unders and crossovers.
For the majority of people a basic rope is going to suffice but if you plan to do a particular type of training such as double unders or speed ropes you are going to want to look for some particular features.
In this article we are going to cover what features to look for in jump rope, what to look for if considering a specialty rope, and wrap it up with the best jump rope options available on the market today.
Jump Rope Features to Consider
Length and Adjustability
As mentioned previously different workouts utilize different rope lengths, but as a general rule for finding your ideal jump rope length you will want to stand with your hands held just above your hips. Elbows and shoulders should be relaxed, landing in a position where you’ll be holding the rope handles when starting the exercise and during the ropes rotation. From here you will want to give the rope about 10”-12” of slack to easily rotate over your head through the exercise.
Most commercial jump ropes are going to come in a standard 10 ft length and feature some type of adjusting mechanism, some have collars to adjust while others require the excess rope to be cut off.
Whatever your rope has, it is recommended that you have a personal rope. Avoid common ropes in a gym or box, as these ropes take a beating, kink easily, and are not custom tailored to your height.
Once you have your own rope you will only need to make an adjustment once, therefore the adjustability feature is less important than ensuring your rope is set to your desired and proper length.
The weight of your rope and handles will also vary depending on your selected workout, but if you are just getting started we recommend avoiding a speed rope.
A heavy rope allows for more control, which can be good for a beginner while improving your coordination but will kill your arms if you’re are not use to the movement and additional weight. These ropes are typically used for fat loss and coordination exercises.
A speed rope is designed primarily for competition and time, they are very thin and weigh almost nothing. As you would expect with something this light and thin you are going to compromise control, which is one of the reasons a speed rope is not recommended for someone just getting started with jump rope.
You will also want to consider the weight of the rope handles as this will primarily affect your arms, which can be great for someone toning and strengthening but awful for someone just getting started.
Handles and Rope Connection
In addition to considering the handle weight you will want to consider the material they are made out of, length of handle, and the grip.
We recommend a metal handle for durability/quality, and then would encourage you to consider handle length as it relates to the size of your hand. Obviously the larger your hand the longer the handle and vice versa for smaller hands.
Another handle consideration is the gripping pattern, some are rough, smooth, recessed, etc.
In our experience and research the grip pattern only comes into play if you are competing or jump roping for an extended period of time, in which case we would recommend a rougher pattern for enhanced grip…otherwise it’s all preference.
Grip may be preference but you should only consider one option for how your rope connects to your handles; swivel with ball bearings.
Stay away from cheap plastic handles or any jump rope that does not allow a frictionless swivel and fluid rope rotation. The swivel of the ball bearing will reduce rope to handle friction and evenly distribute the rope weight throughout the movement for a smoother rotation.
Now..the rope, or in most cases the cable your jump rope uses is something to consider.
Ropes come in several materials; rope, cloth, leather, plastic, vinyl, rubber, nylon, steel cable, coated steel, etc.
We recommend going with a coated steel cable for functionality, durability, and quality. Nylon coating is one of the strongest but vinyl, teflon, or plastic coating will still do the job.
In addition to material you will need to look at rope thickness and weight.
We recommend starting with a standard or heavy rope for control and progressing to a thinner/lighter rope for speed and efficiency.
Best case scenario, you love jump rope and invest into a rope with interchangeable cables. If this is something you’re interested in, make sure your ropes state they are interchangeable because most are not and the majority of speed ropes cannot support thicker cables due to handle connections.
With everything previously discussed, the decision must be made…what’s your budget?
You can find a quality rope for as little as $10 or as high as $100, just make sure you consider the ropes features and buy one that meets your needs.
Now that we have covered everything you should consider when buying your jump rope, these are the best on the market!
Which Jump Rope?
We hope this article has challenged you to think about some key features when selecting your jump rope and provided the resources needed to make an informed decision when purchasing.