Jump ropes are making a big comeback in many gyms. Okay, maybe they never really left. Boxers have been jumping rope for a long time to improve their coordination and refine their footwork. But many a CrossFit WOD (workout of the day) now includes jump rope routines as a quick and simple cardio workout.
Jumping or skipping rope is one of the easiest ways you can improve your stamina and have a good workout at the same time.
There are moves known as double unders, triple unders, jumps with twists, as well as many other variations too. Although these workouts can be grueling, so your WOD will be more bearable if you have a good rope to jump with.
This guide looks at many of the different jump ropes on the market to help you decide which is the best for you.
The benefits of jumping rope
When you say jump rope, many people simply think of the skipping ropes you often see in school playgrounds. Jump ropes, however, are an excellent fitness tool for adults and children alike.
A jump rope offers the following benefits:
- Unlimited variety of footwork or steps, which can increase your agility, balance, and coordination
- Completely portable exercise tool that is easy to carry and can be used anywhere for a good cardio workout
- Regular use of a jump rope will improve your endurance and cardiovascular capacity
Of course, any fitness program, like CrossFit, can’t ignore the advantages of a jump rope workout. The following video from the CrossFit workshop demonstrates a rope swing drill.
What to look for
Not all jump ropes are made the same. They can vary in the type of material the rope is made from, the style and weight of the handles, and the functionality. Each factor will affect your workout and how comfortable you are using the rope.
Most of the ropes used in CrossFit will be speed ropes, which means that you rely more on your coordination. Made of a thin metal cable that spins very fast, you won’t see it as it moves unless it whacks you—ouch! These ropes are designed for use by intermediate or advanced users.
The rope should have some form of covering. Nylon coatings are much tougher and last longer than a vinyl coating. As a rule, American-made cables will be more durable than cables made overseas and should kink less easily.
Nylon ropes tend to be an inexpensive style of rope often seen at your local gym. They are ideal for double-under’s or alternating legwork. Specialty weighted nylon ropes or heavy gauge nylon cord ropes can add more intensity to a cardio routine with the extra weight.
Any CrossFit athlete will tell you that your arms tire first when jumping, not your legs. As your arms begin to fatigue, you will start to miss the jump. It’s important that the handles should be lightweight and comfortable to hold.
Some sort of foam or soft grip material on an ergonomic handle will prevent your hands from getting sore or chafed. A sturdy, well-designed ball bearing system in the handle that ensures a tangle-free motion will also help the rope spin smoothly and freely while not catching.
Can you resize the rope perfectly to fit your needs or those of others who may be using it? A jump rope that is too long will slow you down, while ropes that are too short may cause you to mis-jump and get tangled. The ability to easily adjust the rope out of the box is of utmost importance when making a choice.
Can the handles accept ropes of different sizes to match your ability level? As you progress, you may wish to use a thinner rope, while intermediate athletes will prefer a rope with heavier links. Some types of ropes are specially designed for use outdoors on hard surfaces.
The best jump rope for CrossFit style workouts
By taking into consideration all the factors above, I have looked at the many jump ropes currently available on the market. In my opinion, these are the five best jump ropes for CrossFit you can buy.
This incredibly versatile jump rope has become popular with CrossFit enthusiasts at a competitive level for its speed and double unders. Some competitive jumpers have been known to achieve up to seven jumps per second with this speed rope, due to its specially patented ball bearing system.
Machine-cut aluminum handles, weighing just one ounce each, are attached to the American-made cable at a 90-degree angle. The thinner handles allow for more precision while turning the rope, with dual ball bearings in the handle giving an extremely balanced feel.
- Very durable and backed with a 2-year warranty on the handles
- Cable is easy to adjust with a cable cutter and Phillips screwdriver
- Compatible with six different cable types, including ultra thin cable, 3/32″ nylon-coated cable, and PVC freestyle cord
- Even with the foam grips, the handle can become slippery when you sweat
- Not suitable for crossing moves
If your top priority in a jump rope is something that turns or spins quickly, this ultralight speed rope could be the ideal choice. The slender, lightweight cord is fitted with a highly efficient ball bearing system to allow you to hit impressive speeds of up to 320 jumps per minute.
Very light yet durable aluminum handles are extra long and covered with a comfortable foam grip. A 10-foot long cable can be customized with the easy screw adjustment hardware. A tough PVC coating prevents the cable from breaking should it hit the ground too hard.
- Long aluminum handles won’t lose their grip if your palms sweat
- Super fast, can cut down the time of your WOD
- Lifetime warranty
- Includes a replacement cable and carry pouch
- Some users have found the adjustment screws work themselves loose as you jump
- The handles can be too slim for some users
This WOD Nation jump rope is yet another rope that’s great for speed jumping. The rope uses a patented 4-bearing system, with two bearings in each handle and two on the tips that hold the coated steel cable. The swivel bearing at the tip of the cable ensures the rope doesn’t lose speed or shape, even if the swing isn’t perfect.
Ballistic plastic handles are extra durable if you should drop them and feature a tapered end for more grip. The steel cable is very lightweight and can be easily adjusted with a wire cutter. You also get a spare cable in the package, in addition to a nylon carrying bag that keeps it from getting tangled in your bag or locker.
- Very forgiving for beginners and inconsistent swings with the swivel at the tip of the rope
- Lightweight and easy to store in your bag
- Durable steel cable is backed with a lifetime warranty
- Handles tend to get slippery as you sweat
- Steel jumping wire can kink easily
When you first start your CrossFit program, you may not be too confident at jumping rope. Those thin metal cables aren’t always visible at higher speeds and certainly hurt when they slap against you. This beaded style jump rope is ideal for beginners, with a more tactile feel that allows you to gauge where the rope is as you practice.
The adjustable nylon rope may not be as fast as a speed rope, but it has a good weight, which makes it great for training and muscle memory. Shatterproof 1-inch segments of brightly colored plastic cover the durable braided nylon cord, so you can learn to dominate the rope quickly. It also doesn’t sting when it inevitably hits your shins.
- Perfect for beginners, with the 10-foot cable providing enough length for most users
- Ergonomic handle grip with weighted plastic segments ensures smooth consistent rotations
- Good weight for cardiovascular workouts
- Can be difficult to adjust, as you need to uncap the handles and untie the knot
- The rope will be too slow for moves like double unders and the like
My choice for the best jump rope for CrossFit style workouts
Speed is of the essence with most CrossFit rope jumping workouts. To achieve those double-unders, or even triple-unders, you’re going to need the best jump rope with a smooth and quick action.
The Elite Surge 2.0 Speed Rope, with its patented ball bearing system and super thin cable, is certainly one of the quickest on the market. The six different cables it can handle makes it suitable for any WOD.