Ergonomic handles. Unique quadruple ball-bearing system offers smooth rotation. Lightweight coated steel cable for fast-paced workouts. Great for double, and even triple unders. Comes with 2 extra-long cables. Easily adjustable to any height. Available in a variety of colors. Includes spare hardware and carry bag.
Nylon resin handles get slippery during intensely sweaty workouts.
Construction, durability, and performance comparable to more expensive models. Delivers fast, fluid motion. Steel swivel bearings. 90º connection. Length is easily adjustable.
90º rope connection makes crossovers difficult. Prone to tangling.
Lightweight. Good speed ability. Good beginner weight. Foam padded handles for improved grip. Swivel bearings ensure smooth revolutions. Adjustable length. Comes with 2 free ebooks – jump rope techniques and nutrition tips.
Rope kinks and twists when not in use. Plastic bearings may not be the most durable.
Lengthy for tall users. Adjustable to any length. Features foam grips for secure hold. Perfect for speed jumping and double unders. Comes with an extra cable. Includes carry bag and e-book.
Screws require occasional tightening. Longer handles can feel awkward for some.
Durable lightweight foam-covered aluminum handles. Good grip. Foam handles reduce fatigue. Double ball bearings paired with a lightweight cable. Supports speedy workouts. Additional cable and extras included.
Not long enough for people over 6 feet. Slim handles aren't for everyone.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
If you’ve dismissed jumping rope as something best left to schoolgirls playing double Dutch on the playground — or Rocky Balboa types bulking up in sweaty gyms — think again. In reality, jumping rope is a great way to burn lots of calories, develop muscle strength, greatly improve your cardiovascular health, and improve your balance and coordination.
Best of all, it’s relatively easy to master, requires only an inexpensive piece of equipment to start, and is far more fun than slogging away on the stair machine or doing mindless miles on the treadmill.
Make no mistake: jump ropes aren’t complicated pieces of equipment. But there’s way more to know about buying one than simply choosing the first one you see on the shelf. That’s why we’ve written this guide to choosing and using the best jump rope for your needs.
For a sport often associated with young children, jumping rope offers a surprising number of benefits to adults.
It’s more efficient than jogging when it comes to getting in shape. In one Harvard study, participants who jumped rope for 10 minutes per day showed equal fitness gains to those who jogged for 30 minutes each day.
It torches through calories. Jump rope at a steady pace for 10 minutes, and you can burn as many as 125 calories. By comparison, the average jogger burns around 100 calories in a 10-minute jog.
It’s good for your bones. Assuming you don’t have osteoporosis or some other bone disease, the impact of jump roping stimulates greater bone density.
It can make your ankles stronger. Thanks to the ball-of-the-foot posture during a jump rope session, it increases the strength of your feet and ankles without much danger of injury.
It’s great for your coordination. It takes a lot of brainpower to coordinate your swinging arms with your jumping feet. Plus, jumping rope improves your reflexes, spatial awareness, and agility.
While all jump ropes are basically a pair of handles with a rope in between, the material of that rope — which is sometimes referred to as the cable or the cord — can make a big difference when it comes to speed, performance, and durability.
Forget about those flimsy plastic jump ropes made for children, or a plain piece of rope. There are four basic types of jump ropes suitable to adult exercisers: bead, PVC, speed, and leather.
Bead jump ropes have a plastic or nylon inner cord covered with polyurethane beads. Most have matching plastic handles. Often brightly colored, the beads definitely add a splash of style, and these jump ropes are the most popular type for competitions and exhibitions. But flashy good looks aren’t all that beaded jump ropes have going for them.
Pros: Because the beads make a slapping sound when they hit the ground, it’s easier to keep a proper jump rope rhythm, making beaded jump ropes the best choice for beginners. The beads help keep the rope from tangling — a big plus if you’ve ever endured the frustration of trying to untangle a hopelessly knotted rope — and they are very durable.
Cons: On the downside, these aren’t very fast ropes, so as your skills and strength increase, you may eventually “outgrow” the rope. Plus, it hurts quite a bit when a misstep causes the beaded jump rope to give you a slap.
PVC jump ropes are the most popular type for fitness buffs who want to gain the benefits of a jump rope workout but aren’t looking to do any fancy moves or hit high speeds. As the name suggests, these jump ropes have fairly thin PVC plastic cables, which come in a range of colors, weights, and thicknesses. The thicker the cable, the heavier the jump rope, although even the thickest are still fairly lightweight.
Pros: PVC jump ropes are very durable, but they do tangle easily. They swing fast enough to provide an excellent workout but slowly enough to suit beginners still working on coordination.
Cons: You might feel a sting if the rope hits you during a swing, but it won’t be as bad as the slap of a beaded rope.
Speed jump ropes are just what their name implies: ropes designed for maximum turning speed. Most have thin metal cables, and many have a plastic or rubber coating over the metal, which might be brightly colored. Most of these ropes have plastic handles; some feature ball bearings to keep the cable swinging smoothly at full speed.
Pros: These super-fast jump ropes are highly favored by participants in CrossFit and other rigorous workout programs. Speed jump ropes are also suited to advanced moves such as double jumps and cross-unders.
Cons: Speed jump ropes are not for beginners. It takes coordination, endurance, and good muscle tone to keep up the pace for a full workout. If you are serious about jump roping, however, or want to add some exercise “tricks” to your workout, this is the rope to aspire to. Speed ropes tangle easily, and the plastic coating tends to wear away when used on rough surfaces or outdoors.
Leather jump ropes lost some of their popularity once PVC ropes hit the fitness scene. But some old-school jumpers, especially boxers and martial artists, still favor these traditional jump ropes. They can be quite fast, although not as fast as a speed jump rope. Many have wooden handles.
Pros: Favored by some professionals, leather jump ropes are very durable and easy to pack. Because the cable is somewhat thick, it doesn’t tangle as easily as a plastic cable, and the leather doesn’t make much noise when it hits the ground.
A good jump rope doesn’t have to ruin your budget. In fact, a jump rope is one of the most cost-efficient pieces of exercise gear you can buy. While none are very expensive, the average cost does depend on the type of jump rope.
Expect to pay under $10 for a basic beaded jump rope and up to $15 for a beaded jump rope with weighted handles. A good PVC jump rope with adjustable length, comfortable handles, and a smooth swing typically costs $10 to $20. A basic speed jump rope generally costs less than $12, but if you want ergonomic or padded handles with ball bearings for the smoothest swing, expect to pay $15 to $25. Plan on spending $10 to $20 for a leather jump rope with wooden handles.
Choose a jump rope that suits your height. A jump rope that’s too short will smack you in the head. A jump rope that’s too long is likely to tangle around your feet.
Many jump ropes let you adjust the length — generally by pulling the cord through the handles — but some are fixed in length. For a jump rope with a fixed length, use the following guidelines, and note that the jump rope length does not include the handles:
If you are 4’9” to 5’4”, you need an 8-foot jump rope.
If you are 5’5” to 5’9”, choose an 8.5-foot jump rope.
If you are 5’10” to 6’1”, you need a 9-foot jump rope.
You can get far more precise with an adjustable jump rope. Here’s how to measure your ideal rope length. Again, the handles are not included, only the rope itself. Step one: Set the rope on the floor and stand on its center with one foot. Step two: Pull the handles straight up against your body so the rope is taut.
For beginners, the ends of the rope should touch your shoulders.
For experienced jumpers, the ends of the rope should be in your armpits.
For doing double-unders or other advanced rope work, the ends of the rope should hit your nipple line.
Q. What’s the correct posture for jumping rope?
A. Correct posture is vital to avoiding injury. Your back and neck should be straight; don’t lean forward or crane your neck to look at the ground. Instead, look straight ahead. Keep your shoulders and arms relaxed, letting your wrists do the work of twirling the rope. Slightly bent knees help your lower body absorb the impact of jumping, and when you land, it should be on the balls of your feet, not the entire sole.
Q. What type of handle should I look for?
A. A good jump rope handle is padded or textured so it’s easy to grip even after your hands start to sweat. Whether made of wood or plastic, the handle needs to be long enough to fit your entire hand without crowding your fingers, but there shouldn’t be more than an inch or two of extra length beyond your grip. Many high-end jump ropes have ball bearings inside the handles for the smoothest and fastest spin, but you’ll pay a little extra for that feature. Some jump rope handles include removable weights. These add to the workout’s intensity but are best left to experienced jumpers.
Q. Is jumping rope a safe form of exercise?
A. For most people, jumping rope is an excellent and safe form of exercise, if done properly. Always wear shoes with good arch support and stability while you jump; barefoot jumping puts too much stress on your feet. The best surface for jumping rope is a wooden floor, like most gyms, or packed dirt. If you have to jump on a hard surface like concrete, lay out a pad to help absorb the impact. It’s best not to jump rope on carpet, grass, sand, or gravel, as these loose and uneven surfaces greatly increase the risk of twisting your ankle or losing your balance.
If you have arthritis, bad knees, ankle or foot instability, or trouble with your hips, check with your doctor before purchasing a jump rope. And always start slowly, only increasing your speed and the length of your sessions as you gain strength and coordination.
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