Jumping rope seems like such an archaic exercise these days. The boring act of jumping rope is turned upside-down when you start using the perfect speed rope in your workouts. Without it, it’s just jumping in place.
At least with running, you can see some sights, right? Like everything in fitness — and in life, really — it all depends on what you put into it. In the business of sticking it to the globo-gym masters, refugees like us are committed to getting bang for our buck. This means increased work performance and power output for less money and less complexity.
Jumping rope fits this bill perfectly. The perfect speed rope will ideally cost you only a small amount and it will provide you with a potential for exertion that you wouldn’t believe until you tried it.
Why Jump Rope
We’re not talking about your grandpa’s ol’ “skip rope in the afternoons before bingo” game here. We’re talking about high intensity speed roping. Think double unders, triple unders and crossovers. These are seemingly basic movements that produce outstanding results.
The coordination required for double and triple-unders is often underestimated, even by seasoned speed-ropers. The power output involved in consistently forcing your body to remain airborne for 1/4 second at a time, dozens of times in a minute is tremendous. You’ll be gassed before you can say “dear god this is amazing.”
The Perfect Speed Rope Features
In shopping for the perfect speed rope, there are a few considerations. The weight of the handles is important. You can go for broke and get some handles that weight a couple ounces, which will add a little resistance to your workout and really make things tough. Or if speed and reps is your motivation, lighter handles will probably be best.
Double and triple unders are things you will need to master after you get consistently good at fast singles. Our best recommendation is to get a rhythm. Something like “1-2-3 singles” followed by an attempt at a double. Rinse and repeat until you can start stringing them together. Pros can do dozens and dozens of double unders. It just involves the rope passing under your feet two times with each jump.
Triple-unders? Think double-unders, but add a rep! That’s right… you should be airborne while the rope passes around your entire body 3 times before hitting the deck. That means EXPLOSIVE power, and EXPLOSIVE, COORDINATED synchronization and rotation of the hands, wrists and arms. You can’t beat it.
Once you decide on the weight of the handles, take a look at the construction of the rope itself. We recommend a braided steel core/cable, surrounded by vinyl or polyvinyl. These, in our opinion stand up to wear and tear the best. If at all possible, practice on non-abrasive surfaces, like wood, tile, rubber, etc. Concrete, asphalt and dirt will reduce the lifespan of your rope… especially when you consider that if you do 100 double-unders, the rope is whipping against the floor 200 times in a short amount of time.
Lastly, along with the weight of the handles, you want to consider the construction of the bearing assembly. Is the rope just tied on? This is a NO-GO, because it will just tangle and twist. Look for high quality ball bearing construction of the rope/handle link. This will provide a smooth whip and really help you along as you progress.
We really like the Dragonshous Speed Jump Rope, which you can get on Amazon. It costs a little more than our ideal rope, but you get the benefit of aluminum handles. The handles are still lightweight, and they will be more resistant to breakage if you happen to drop them, throw them or accidentally step on or trip up at high speed. They’re definitely not mission-critical, but they are a nice addtion.
Our preferred speed rope is the WODWear Ultra Fast Speed Rope. This rope is perfect. The cable is perfectly weighted for high speed jumping, the handles are incredibly lightweight, and the ball bearings make it for a smooth whip every time. Expect some serious whip and speed out of this thing… once you get going fast enough it will be hard to distinguish the sounds of your individual reps… it’s that fast! It fits our budget specs as well, which means when you need to replace it (and you will, some day, just like every rope), it won’t break the bank.
Both of these ropes are fully adjustable to your preferred height. You’ll know what height works best when you find it, but our general rule is that if you step in the middle of the rope and pull the handles up to your sides, they should just about reach your armpits. Adjust as needed.
The End Effect
With the perfect speed rope in your arsenal, you can add a ton of variety to your workouts. You can do Tabatas as part of a HIIT workout, work strictly on coordination, use it as a warmup or cool-down, or couple it with other strength work to keep your body guessing.
As a side note: we really like Rogue equipment. The quality of their speed ropes is terrific. We strive to recommend products that we feel are the most effective gear for “refugees.” If we can recommend a cheaper, equally effective product for achieving peak physical fitness and performance, then that is what we will do. Our goal is for you to get fit, free yourself from the globo-gym masters, and build your own RefuGym using the best gear for the best price.
Like our recommendation? Hate it?
What is your favorite rope and why?