Never underestimate the power of a jump rope. This seemingly simple piece of equipment can help you to burn calories, build muscles and improve your coordination without taking up a lot of room in your home gym. Michael Slowak, a fitness and boxing trainer with Boxing Holic, adds, “Unlike certain workouts like sprints, jump roping doesn’t require much space and can be done indoors. This is perfect for rainy days or if you don’t have access to the gym.”
But before you buy one, you should know that not all jump ropes are created equal. In addition to the classic ones we used as kids, there are now weighted jump ropes and super lightweight versions used for speed work. Believe it or not, they are even smart jump ropes that help you count your number of jumps and calories burned.
So what’s the difference, and what can they do for you? We’re going to explain what each type of rope is used for and fill you in on our the best jump ropes for your at home workouts. But before we jump into that, let’s cover why skipping rope is so good for you.
The Benefits of Jumping Rope
Want to vary your routine and improve your overall fitness? Here are a few reasons why jumping rope is so good for you.
Jumping Rope Improves Cardio Fitness
Jump rope for just a few minutes, and you’ll notice how fast your heart rate starts to rise. Though beginners will want to start with just a minute or two at first, adding this simple exercise to your routine will strengthen your lung capacity and strengthen your heart over time.
And that improves your overall fitness and endurance. Just ask a boxer!
Jumping Rope Effectively Burns Calories
And let’s not forget the calorie burn! Though the number of calories will vary depending on the time and intensity of your workout, jumping rope for 10 minutes can burn just as many calories as running at a moderate pace for 30 minutes! Hello, weight loss!
Jumping Rope Strengthens Muscles and Explosive Power
Though a jump rope workout is especially good for the muscles in your lower body (like your quads, hamstring and calves), it’s actually a full body workout as it will also work your shoulders, biceps and core.
And if you eventually add more challenging exercises like double unders (where the rope passes under your feet two times with each jump), it will require a bigger jump which helps to train the explosive power that’s important to so many sports.
Jumping Rope Increases Bone Density
Because of the impact of jumping rope, it helps to increase bone density and reduce the chances of osteoporosis. (But if you already suffer from osteoporosis, be sure to consult your doctor before picking up a rope.
Jumping Rope Increases Coordination and Balance
When you jump rope, your hands, feet and eyes all have to work together to repeatedly jump over the cord at the right time (which improves coordination). And because you have to establish your equilibrium between each jump, it also helps to improve balance.
Though it may feel a little awkward at first, stick with it, and your skills will definitely improve. Once you establish the basic steps, you can even challenge yourself with one-footed jumps, crossovers or double unders.
Jumping Rope Increases Agility
Jumping rope requires you to work from the balls of your feet, which helps to improve your footwork and agility (which is especially important for sports that require quick changes of direction, like tennis, boxing, basketball and volleyball).
The Different Kinds of Jump Ropes
As you can see, jump rope improves your overall fitness and can help increase your performance in other sports. When buying a jump rope, you’ll find that breakdown into three basic categories: basic, weighted and speed ropes.
Basic Jump Ropes
This most basic of ropes is like the ones we all used as kids and can be made of woven rope, leather, PVC, steel cable or beaded ropes (along with two handles, of course). They generally weigh anywhere from a quarter pound up to a half pound.
A basic rope will give you all the benefits already described in this article, but if you want an additional challenge, you may want to consider a weighted or speed jump rope.
Weighted Jump Ropes
Just like the name implies, weighted jump ropes are heavier than the average rope and can weigh anywhere from half a pound up to five pounds or more.
The additional weight is either in the handles or the rope itself. Either way, the extra weight will increase resistance and work the muscles in your entire body a lot harder (including the ones in your wrists, hands, forearms, shoulders, back, core and your entire lower body). It also means a bigger calorie burn.
So if you’re looking to increase your overall muscle strength, a weighted jump rope could help a lot.
Speed ropes, on the other hand, are lightweight, fast spinning ropes that were originally designed for jump rope competitions. They usually have special bearings in the handles to help them turn more smoothly and are great for fast tempo jumps like double unders, high knees or crossovers (which are especially good for improving agility and speed).
Though not a great choice for beginners, they’re a great challenge for advanced jumpers that what a high-quality rope.
Now that you know a little bit about the different kinds of ropes, let’s dive into our favorites in each category.
Related: 7 Treadmill Desks To Help You Stay In Shape This Winter
Our Favorite Classic Jump Ropes
If you’re new to jump roping, you may want to stick to a classic rope to build your coordination and fitness before branching out into a weighted rope or speed rope. Here are a few to consider.
1. XYL Sports Jump Rope
Length: Nine feet eight inches
Weight: 5.1 ounces
This budget-friendly rope clocks in at around $8, and it features soft grip foam handles, a durable PVC cord and comes in three different colors.
The length is adjustable, but be aware that you will have to pull the rope through the handles and cut off the excess rope. In other words, you won’t be able to share this rope with a person that’s much taller or shorter than you.
Still, we think this rope is a great choice for beginners. And if you don’t think your money has been well spent, this rope comes with a 100% money back guarantee and lifetime warranty.
2. Degol Skipping Rope
Length: Nine feet
Weight: 5.29 ounces
Another affordable option for beginners is this wire rope from Degol, which has a PVC-coated wire cable and EVA memory foam handles for a comfortable grip. But the best feature is a ball-bearing system where the rope attaches to the handles. Often not found in economic models, it helps prevent the tangling of the rope and gives it a smoother spin.
Just be aware that while this jump rope is adjustable, it will require you to pull the excess cable through the handle and snip it off with a wire cutter.
3. Watsou Jump Rope
Length: 9 feet 8 inches
Weight: 5.64 ounces
This adjustable jump rope from Watsou allows you to adjust the fit without the hassle of cutting off the extra rope length and can accommodate users up to seven feet tall. The rope itself is made from silicon-coated steel wire and also features dual speed bearings for a smoother spin.
Another nice plus is that it’s available in four metallic colors, including black, blue, pink and gold. Overall, a great buy!
4. RX Smart Gear Drag Rope
Length: Available in small, medium and large
Weight: 10 ounces
Weighing at a little over a half pound, this basic rope will add a little resistance to your routine and is a good precursor to heavier weighted jump ropes. Made from woven rope, it’s gentler on the skin in case of those missed jumps and also features no-slip handles.
If you’re not keen on having to cut off extra length from your jump rope, this one comes in three sizes and can accommodate people between 4’8″ and 6’2″.
Just keep in mind that this is a basic rope with no ball bearings. But if you want to increase your resistance without the rope getting too heavy, this is a pricier but good option as far as basic ropes are concerned.
Our Favorite Weighted Jump Ropes
Ready to add some resistance and burn more calories? Here are our favorite weighted jump ropes.
5. TRX Weighted Jump Rope
Length: 10 feet (adjustable)
Weight: Variable with removable 9 oz weights in each handle
With removable 9-ounce weights in each of the rope handles, this pick from TRX gives you the option to train with or without the added resistance. Other nice features include a PVC-coated cord, grippy handles and low friction bearing in the handles for smoother spinning.
This rope also has a six-year warranty, and if you really want to get the most out of it, there’s a special offer with its purchase: a 50% discount on the TRX Training Club annual membership, which works out to just $25.
This rope is the total package for serious skippers!
6. N1Fit Store Weighted Jump Rope
Length: Adjustable for heights between 5’1″ to 6’6″
Weight: 1 pound
If you’re looking for a more economical weighted rope, this one for about $10 will add resistance to your workout without breaking your budget. It has memory foam handles for extra comfort and a tangle-free cable where most of the weight is concentrated.
We also like the fact that it comes with a two-year warranty and the option to return it if you’re not totally satisfied. Just be aware that the weight of the rope is not adjustable.
7. Everlast Evergrip Weighted Jump Rope
Length: 9 feet (adjustable)
Weight: Adjustable up to a total of 1.5 pounds
This rope from Everlast has three steel weights in each of its foam grips that can be added or removed to adjust the weight for a maximum of 1.5 pounds overall. That means that one day you can do speed work, and another day you can add weight for more resistance.
It also has precision ball bearings for smooth spin, comfy handles and can be adjusted for length. A very solid buy for the money!
8. Rogue Fitness Pro Jump Rope
Length: Available in five different lengths from 95″ to 115″
Weight: 1 pound weight in each handle, about 2.5 pounds overall
If you’re serious about going heavy, this rope features two one-pound handles that will seriously challenge your stamina and strength. Though this rope is not adjustable, it does come in five different length options, including 95″, 100″, 105″, 110″ and 115″.
It also features 360-degree swivel bearings for a super smooth spin. Though this rope is well constructed and very well reviewed, it’s definitely expensive and should be used on smooth or rubber services only to avoid cable damage. The weight is also not adjustable.
Our Favorite Speed Jump Ropes
Ready to get fast and furious in your jump rope session? Try these models when you feel the need for speed.
9. Wod Nation Speed Jump Rope
Length: 11 feet (Adjustable)
Weight: 6.24 ounces
With its patented four metal ball bearing system, this speed rope is built for fast and smooth jumping. The handles are made of tapered nylon for a better grip, and the 11-foot steel cable can be adjusted to size by snipping it with wire cutters.
Other nice adds include a carrying bag, an extra cable and replacement hardware. It also comes in nine different colors to match your favorite gym gear.
Related: At-Home Cardio Workouts [That Go Way Beyond The Treadmills]
10. Rogue Fitness SR-2 3.0 Jump Rope
Length: 10 feet (adjustable)
Weight: 4.64 ounces
This well-constructed speed rope features a high-precision, ball-bearing swivel design to help avoid those dreaded kinks during your workout routine. The handles are made from aircraft grade aluminum and are available in 6.75 or 5.25-inch lengths, depending on your preference. The handles are also available in eight different color choices.
The cable of this 10-foot rope is adjustable. But like all steel cable ropes, it’s better to use it on non-abrasive surfaces to avoid damage.
11. Beast Gear Skipping Rope
Length: 8 feet nine inches (adjustable length)
Weight: 7.05 ounces
Want to get those double unders going on a budget? This economical option from Beast Gear comes with rotating double ball bearings for speed and control. The industrial strength aluminum handles are contoured for a better grip, and the rope also comes with a spare carrying case and an extra cable.
But again, this rope is better used on non-abrasive surfaces.
12. Cross Jump Rope Get Strong Set
Length: Available in 8 feet, 8 feet six inches, 9 feet, 9 feet six inches
Weight: Variable with a 1-pound and 2-pound cable
Last but not least on our weighted rope list is the super adjustable Cross Jump rope. It features a “Fast Clip” system which allows you to easily switch between a one-pound and two-pound rope depending on your strength training needs.
It also comes in four length options with a maximum of nine feet, six inches. With the purchase of your Crossrope, you also get free access to an app that features 1000 fitness tutorials.
Of course, all of that adds up to a pretty hefty price. But for serious jumpers, this rope may be worth it.
And if you’re not in the mood to heavy up, you can opt for the Crossrope Get Lean jump rope set that allows you to switch between a .25 and .5 pound cable.
Our Favorite Smart Jump Ropes
Gone are the days of boring jump ropes. If you’re ready to take your jump rope workout into the 21st century, here are two of our top picks for smart jump ropes.
13. Tangram Smart Jump Rope Rookie
Length: Nine feet 10 inches
Weight: 7.05 ounces
If you need a little extra inspiration to get your routine jump started, it may be worth investing in a smart rope. This one from Tangram connects to an app that you can download to your phone and will help you to track your time, number of jumps and calories burned.
For even more motivation, you can connect with the community of users to see how you rank. Things like bonus rewards and interval training will also put an extra spring in your jump.
The cable can be adjusted to your height, and the handles come in four different colors. Just be aware that the equipment does take coin batteries that will last you roughly six months if you jump thirty minutes a day.
14. Senri Smart Cordless Jumprope
Length: 10.6 inches | 9.84 feet
Weight: 4.8 ounces
This digital jump rope tracks your workout, so you can watch your progress each week. Unlike the other picks on our list, this smart rope is also entirely cordless. In lieu of a lengthy silicone or PVC rope, each handle features two steel balls with high-precision bipolar hall sensors to give you the most accurate rep count.
Don’t love the idea of a cordless jump rope? It also comes with a 9.84-foot cord, so you can convert it to a more traditional rope.
How to Pick a Jump Rope
No matter which type of rope you decide on, there are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing.
Obviously, the most important thing is length. Be sure the rope is adjustable to your height or comes in size appropriate for you. A good rule of thumb to be sure the rope is a good fit is to step on it with your foot and pull the handles upward until they’re taught. They should reach somewhere between your armpits to your shoulders.
Manufacturer’s who sell adjustable ropes generally give instructions for fitting the rope to your height which you should follow carefully.
The weight of rope will depend on what kind of workout you want to focus on. Ropes for speed work usually weigh from a few ounces to a little less than a half pound.
If you want a workout with more resistance, you can try a weighted rope. Some are weighted in the cord, but others have removable weights in the handles. That’s an extra plus because you can vary your routine between more and less resistance.
Ropes come in various materials like PVC, woven rope and coated steel wire which is considered to be the fastest. Just be aware that these kinds of rope are recommended for non-abrasive surfaces to avoid damage.
Handles may be wooden, foam or aluminum so pay attention to be sure you get the kind of grip you prefer.
Hop, Skip and a Workout
We hope our guide to jump ropes has been helpful. This simple piece of equipment can be used for speed, resistance or integrated into your HIIT or CrossFit routines to give them an extra punch.
Both affordable and portable, a rope can be used for your home workout or taken with you on the road when you want to squeeze in a quick workout. Even if you only have 10 minutes to spare, you can get in a great cardio workout.
In other words, jump ropes aren’t just for kids and may even be the key to taking your overall fitness goals to the next level.
You might also be interested in: What is HIIT? [A Beginner’s Guide to High-Intensity Interval Training]
The 14 Best Jump Ropes For Your At-Home Workout:
- XYL Sports Jump Rope
- Degol Skipping Rope
- Watsou Jump Rope
- RX Smart Gear Drag Rope
- TRX Weighted Jump Rope
- N1Fit Store Weighted Jump Rope
- Everlast Evergrip Weighted Jump Rope
- Rogue Fitness Pro Jump Rope
- Wod Nation Speed Jump Rope
- Rogue Fitness SR-2 3.0 Jump Rope
- Beast Gear Skipping Rope
- Cross Jump Rope Get Strong Set
- Tangram Smart Jump Rope Rookie
- Senri Smart Cordless Jumprope