Although a skipping rope might be something you remember fondly from your school days, they are much more versatile than that. Adults training for boxing skip because it’s such a great cardio exercise.
The trend has caught on, and these days skipping is popular with members of the fitness community or those who want a simply workout they can do in the privacy of their own home.
Not every skipping rope is alike, of course, and there are various kinds for you to choose from. Let’s take a look at the best types of skipping rope, or jump rope, that you can buy.
Table of Contents
Weighted Skipping Rope
You can burn more calories with a weighted skipping rope and they are also better if you want to tone your muscles and gain strength.
If you want to start working out at home and slimming down while toning up, a weighted jump rope is a great idea. Your lower body is moving and your upper body gets a workout as well.
Even if you already have a workout plan that you follow, you can add a skipping rope to it. There are lots of workouts for beginners you can find online. You could also buy a smart scale to track your progress and help you stay motivated.
Weighted ropes are especially good for the shoulders and arms. They have between half a kilo to three kilos integrated into either the cable or handles. This extra weight gives a better workout because you will be using more energy and burning more fat.
Pros and Cons of Weighted Jump Ropes
Weighted ropes are typically aimed at experienced jumpers or those who are already in shape. They are also suitable for the beginner because they are slower than the non-weighted kind, meaning you can focus on timing, form and coordination.
The main benefit of weighted skipping ropes is they offer a better arm workout and can burn more calories than a traditional skipping rope.
The main drawback would be if you are new to working out and you want to develop some arm strength before using a weighted rope.
However, the good news is you can get skipping ropes with removable weights that you can add to the handles yourself.
Speed Skipping Rope
Although you probably won’t be considering this as a beginner, you still might want to have a look at speed skipping rope options. Perhaps you have a weighted rope and you want something faster.
In either case, a speed skipping rope can provide an intense workout. You will want a skipping rope that uses ball bearing mechanisms to connect the rope to the handles, for fast, smooth rotations.
Light PVC Skipping Rope
You’ve probably seen those cheap plastic skipping ropes at the supermarket or in a toy shop, and wondered whether that would be a good one to start off with. In fact, a lot of beginner jumpers choose a light PVC rope for this reason.
The problem is their lightness. They make it hard to jump rope because they’re so light you can’t feel the rope rotating around you so it’s harder to know when to actually jump.
This means you will probably trip over it a lot and very soon it will end up in the nearest bin. If you’re new to jumping rope or not so coordinated, you should avoid this type and instead look at better options.
A weighted rope, for example, will help you learn the correct jumping form. When you can feel the rope rotating around you, you will know when it’s time to jump, and the weight keeps it from rotating too quickly. A new jumper typically finds a lightly weighted rope (say around 250g of weight added) easier than a light rope.
Why Jump Ropes are So Popular Now
Jumping rope is excellent for fitness, and 10 minutes of skipping is the equivalent of running an 8-minute mile but kinder on the knees. Many of us haven’t used a skipping rope since school, but skipping is become a new trend with adults right now, since it offers such a great workout.
Skipping can provide all-over body toning, better concentration, improve cardiovascular health and mental health, and improve your coordination and balance. Skipping ropes are portable and you can take them to a hotel if you travel for work, or use them at home or at the gym.
The latest skipping ropes are specially designed for fitness goals, so they come with features like weighted handles, steel-coated cable or handles with ball bearings.
What Kind of Skipping Rope to Buy
Deciding which type of jump rope suits you best means you should consider what your goals are. Do you want to become stronger or more agile? Do you want to lose weight? Or do you simply want to add a new component to your current workout plan?
You can choose from vinyl cord, plastic, nylon or rubber tube ropes. They also come in leather or traditional rope. There are weighted, beaded skipping ropes and steel cable types.
Choose according to your fitness level and size, as well as whether you will skip indoors, outdoors or both.
Indoor vs Outdoor Skipping
Any skipping rope can be used indoors but not every rope is suitable for outdoors. If you’re going to be skipping on a hard surface like concrete, you need to make sure you choose a rope that can handle it.
Outdoor-friendly skipping ropes are made from more durable materials, such as stainless steel, so it isn’t damaged by repeatedly striking the floor.
Because skipping is high impact, the level of cushioning under you is important. Grass or carpet is going to be more comfortable than hard flooring or concrete. You should also consider a good pair of trainers to prevent slipping as well as to cushion your landings.
If you’re planning to skip in a flat or upstairs room, a soft surface will be better for both your joints and your neighbors! Do you only have hard floors? If so, you can skip on a Pilates mat or thick yoga mat. Developing a good skipping technique also protects your joints and helps keep the noise down.
Skipping Rope Handles
Beginners will find it easier to keep their skipping rope handles at about waist height, while seasoned skippers can raise them level with their ribcage for a tougher workout.
Jump rope handles can be leather, plastic, aluminum or foam. Pick wisely here, because an uncomfortable handle will negatively affect your jumping. Longer handles (more than 6 inches or 15cm) are better than shorter ones, and ergonomic designs featuring contour grips are good for longer skipping sessions.
The problem with very short handles means they can slip out of your hands, or you might catch your knuckles on the rope. Hollow plastic handles aren’t good for a controlled spin, and they can slip out of sweaty hands. You should look for sturdy handles with comfortable, moisture-wicking grips.
Skipping Rope Length
The taller you are, the longer rope you will need. Check both the static rope length and also the dynamic length. The static length means the length of the rope when it isn’t being used.
The dynamic length is how long it is when you’re actually jumping. This measurement will depend on the exercise you will be doing as well as your body size, which is why it’s easier to focus on static length.
Here is a handy guide to make sure you buy the right length of skipping rope according to your height:
• Height 4’ to 4’9 210cm rope
• Height 4’10 to 5’3 245cm rope
• Height 5’4 to 5’11 275cm rope
• Height 6’ to 6’4 300cm rope
• Height over 6’4 335cm rope
Choosing a rope which is not only the right length for your height but also good quality means you can have the most enjoyable and effective training.
Many skipping ropes come with adjustable lengths, which is good if you are between heights or if more than one person will use the rope.
Jumping rope targets not only endurance but also balance, concentration, coordination, dexterity, speed, and agility. It’s great for the legs and shoulders, and provides a really good cardio workout.
A lot of sports athletes jump rope to warm up or get their heart rates up because it’s a simple yet powerful training method.
Tips for Skipping as a Workout
One classic skipping exercise is to whip the rope under your feet twice while you are still mid-jump. This is great for both cardio endurance and muscle strength. If you’re a beginner though, focus on finding the right skipping rope for your workout style and body first.
Are you ready to start skipping? Stand with your hands level with your waist. Your elbows should be relaxed and your shoulders loose. The rope should have at least 30cm of clearance above your head and in front of your feet.
Keep the weight on your toes instead of trying to skip flat-footed. Your knees should be nearly straight (slightly bent) but not locked. You should be skimming over the rope each jump, avoiding hard landings or huge leaps unless you are doing an advanced workout.
Beginners will find it easier to learn to skip with a heavier rope and thicker cable. A heavy skipping rope moves more slowly, so you can control the movement of the cable better, to improve your skill and coordination.
Because of the slightly slower rotation of a weighted or thicker rope, you will be doing fewer jumps, so if you are new to double-unders (jumping twice before the rope is down) or can’t manage ten yet, go for the heavier rope.
So Which Material is Best?
Skipping ropes made from actual rope or even cloth or leather will be lightweight, making them better for advanced jumpers. Leather and cloth doesn’t last as long as rope or other materials.
Rubber and vinyl plastic are the most common types, and they are equally good for beginners and advanced jumpers. Plastic ropes are durable and come in a variety of colors.
You can also get ones with thin metal cables which move really fast and are designed with advanced jumpers in mind. Once you can do at least 100 consecutive double-unders, you can consider one of these.
Oh, and wire ropes can serious hurt if they hit your feet so make sure you never skip barefoot with one!
Jump Rope/Skipping Rope: In Conclusion
There are skipping ropes available for every budget, preference and ability. Skipping can burn up to 1000 calories an hour.
Armed with the above tips and guidance, you can choose your next skipping rope. A good one will last for years to come and be both comfortable and enjoyable to use.
Disclaimer: Don’t skip if you have back pain or a knee injury. If you have another physical limitation, it’s wise to consult your doctor before you start skipping.