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A jump rope may make you think of middle school recess and gym class, but the lightweight piece of equipment can actually give you a pretty solid workout. In fact, according to Jillian Michaels, health and fitness expert, and creator of The Fitness App, a jump rope workout is “ arguably one of the most effective forms of cardio. [Because] it’s extremely efficient and burns far more calories than traditional steady-state cardio.” According to Compendium of Physical Activities jumping rope for 10 minutes can burn as many calories as jogging at an eight-minute-per-mile pace.
The calorie burn isn’t the only benefit a jump rope workout will bring to your bod, either. “[Jumping rope] has all the traditional benefits of cardiovascular exercise: lowered blood pressure, weight management, helps regulate blood sugar, boosts mood, aids with sleep, and so on. However, jump roping also helps to improve coordination, bone density, and lower body strength!” Michaels adds.
And let’s not forget it’s incredibly portable and affordable, too.
Proper Jump Rope Length
Perfecting the length of your rope is a science, too. To find the right length for you, step on your rope in the absolute center and pull the rope straight upward at the handles. The handles should extend to your nipple line. Upon rotation, there should be a solid amount of space between the crown of your head and the top of your rope.
Perfect Jump Rope Form
And just like with any other exercise, form comes first. The perfect jump includes keeping your upper arms close to your sides and your elbows in with your lower arms out at about a 90-degree angle. holding the rope with your hands around hip height. Keep your jumps small, bend your knees but only slightly, and make sure to land on the balls of your feet for a quick turn-around.
Ready to skip your way to slim? Check out this simple jump rope workout, perfect for any man on the go.
Types of Jump Ropes
While you’re probably eager to pick up a rope and get started, you’ll want to ensure you pick the right type of jump rope for your needs and adjust it to the appropriate length.
- Speed rope: This type of jump rope is easily adjustable to suit your height and typically made with nylon. It is lightweight and great for fast movements like double-unders (that’s two rotations of the rope between jumps) and it’s more durable than its cotton cousin.
- Weighted rope: Weighted ropes, running up to 2 pounds, add an extra element of difficulty to your workout by increasing the need for solid grip strength, and packing an extra wallop on your forearms.
Jump Rope Workout Moves
Basic jump: Michaels says the basic jump is where all athletes should start. “Simply hold the rope in both hands at hip level. Rotate your wrists to swing the rope and simply jump over it with both feet at the same time,” says Michaels.
Jogging skip: This follows the same rhythm as the basic skip. “You’re simply alternating which foot touches the ground. So, with each skip you are alternating right foot to left foot. It’s basically jogging in place while skipping the rope.”
Double under: Once you’ve established a consistent rhythm with the basic jump you can move on to more advanced moves like the Double under. “The double under is when you swing the rope around twice for each jump. This either requires a faster swing or a higher jump, but I like to incorporate a little bit of both.”
Ski jump: Jump a couple inches to your right as you swing forward, then to your left on the next jump. Continue with the same rhythm, alternating back and forth.
Heel taps: Jump over the rope and tap your right heel down as you swing the rope forward. Then jump and switch heel taps. Continue with the same rhythm, alternating back and forth.
Michaels says that if you “plan on using the jump rope strictly for a workout, gradually build your stamina up to 20 minutes or 30 minutes.”
Jump Rope Workout
Ready to combine your skills? Give this workout a go.
Instructions: Do the three sets in order, resting 3 minutes in between each one, then repeat.
Tip: For more difficult movements, like double-unders, practice your timing without the rope by simply rotating your wrists. It’s normal not to master these on the first (or second!) go.
Forward jumps: 50
Double unders: 20
Forward jumps: 50
Ski jumps: 50.
Heel taps: 25
Ski jumps: 50
Double unders: 20 jumps
Ski jumps: 50 jumps
Double Unders: 20 jumps
Jump Rope Workout Apps
CrossRope has two app options available for the avid jumper: Lite (which is free) and Premium (which is $9.99/month or $79.99/annually).
Within this app, you will find an extensive array of jump rope workouts, catered to beginners and experts alike. Many follow music and themes to keep things interesting and you’ll get intuitive audio and visual cues as you go along
To be paired with the Tangram smart rope (more on that below), this app features a wide range of interval training workout options. While you can stick to forward jumps on each interval, you can also mix them up with other jumps shared above. The technology in the rope will monitor your moves as you go so you’ll always know when you’ve completed an interval.
The Fitness App
Michaels’ The Fitness App is host to a number of great HIIT workouts that incorporate a wide range of jump rope intervals into the mix.
Best Jump Ropes
Rogue SR-1 Speed Rope
Looking for the basic, essential speed rope? Look no further than this nylon cable option from Rogue. The coated cable is made with both speed and agility in mind. Plus, it’s easily adjustable to fit any height. Before adjustments, the cable is 10-feet and the handle is 6.75 inches.
CrossRope Get Fit Bundle
This could possibly be the only jump rope kit you’ll ever need. With four jump ropes and two sets of handles in one set, there’s a match for every type of jump rope workout you want to tackle. Opt for the lighter ropes (1/4 LB and 1/2 LB) for cardio or HIIT workouts and the heavier ropes (1 LB and 2 LB) for a full body workout. Thanks to the easy clip system you can switch between ropes and the easy-to-grip handles (slim and power) easily.
TANGRAM Smart Jump Rope
The beauty of the TANGRAM jump rope is that it allows you to easily track the number of jumps you take, time spent jumping, and estimated calories burnt. While these metrics might not always come with 100 percent accuracy, they’re pretty close and provide more opportunity for you to monitor your progress over time. The rope itself has a nice weight which allows it to flow smoothly.
Everlast Weighted & Adjustable Jump Rope
If you’re looking for a simple weighted rope, this is a great option. Adjustable and durable this cable option includes 0.4-pound removable weights in its handles, so you can adapt the difficulty to fit a particular workout or day.
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