Jumping Rope: The Underrated Athleticism Exercise

(Last Updated On: March 16, 2017)

Jumping rope, we have all done it even if it was just in gym class as kids. It’s a simple enough exercise really, swing the rope over your body and jump when the rope gets to your feet. It’s an old school exercise. I am sure back in the day there were even a couple cavemen having jump rope contests using a vine for a rope and whoever could jump it the most times without stopping got the bigger turkey leg.

It’s a great exercise, but is as time passes and people aren’t in elementary school gym class anymore they seem to give up on the jump rope as they move on with life. Even if they are still athletes, most sports don’t even use jumping rope as part of their training aside from boxing, MMA and wrestling.

Even sports like football and soccer that require foot skills and quickness somehow don’t utilize the jump rope as part of their training. It makes me sad to see all those poor under-used jump ropes laying in the corner all alone just waiting for someone to swing them around, so today I am going to make a case for why you should probably dust off that old jump rope and put it to some good use.

Jumping rope athleticism

Benefits of Jumping Rope

Jumping doesn’t get the glory of other conditioning exercises like sprints and kettlebell swings, but they are very effective make no mistake. You can use them as a solid warm up before exercising or as part of your conditioning program. Either way you should take advantage of the benefits of jumping rope. They include:

Increased athleticism – Jumping rope is a great way to increase athleticism. It has been shown to increase balance and coordination, 2 hallmarks of being athletic.

Increased ankle and foot stability – Jumping rope increases the strength of the muscles and tendons in the ankle area to help prevent ankle injuries.

Good form of cardio – It may have seemed easy back in school for some, but if you try and do 10 minutes of rope jumping you will find out it isn’t as easy as you may remember. If you aren’t in decent shape you may not even be able to go 5 minutes without a break.

Burns calories – Rope jumping is a serious calorie burn. Jumping rope has been shown to burn over 10 calories per minute. That can add up pretty quick if you have a long rope jumping workout.

Increases coordination – You will need to have some level of coordination to get the timing right for when to jump. If you don’t have the timing right away keep working at it and your coordination will improve and you will get better.

Low-impact – If you think about it when you jump rope you really only jump about an inch or two. This makes it very low impact and easy on the joints.

Portable –  You can do it almost anywhere, and it fits into any gym bag or even your purse.

Great warm up – Jumping rope gets your blood flowing, gets your joints loosened up and gets your heart rate up.

Increased finesse – You haven’t seen many of those muscled up fireplugs jump rope with any sort of skill have you? They lack finesse, probably a good idea for them to pick up a jump rope and add some finesse to their lives.


Athletes and Rope Jumping

Rope jumping as far as athletes are concerned seems to have become more of an old-school exercise. Many athletes, coaches and trainers alike seem to have moved on from the old jump rope.

That is except for boxing, wrestling and MMA. These sports still make some pretty good use of the jump rope. In training for other sports, it is mostly nonexistent aside from some coaches and trainers here and there.

While wrestlers and MMA fighters use it mainly as a conditioning tool it’s the boxers that really put in a lot of hard work with the jump rope. For boxers

rope jumping is one of their workout staples used to improve footwork, improve endurance and timing. They also use it to improve awareness while in motion, if you don’t have at least some level of focus while jumping rope you will be getting tripped up on the rope pretty regularly. In a boxing match if you lack focus you will get your head beat in. It also helps boxers be light on their feet so they can float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.



CrossFit and the Rebirth of Rope Jumping

I know some of you are rolling your eyes at even the thought of CrossFit, but CrossFit has brought back the jump rope in many regards. If you don’t believe me just ask a jump rope Manufacturer. Heck, there is a whole jump rope industry now with the CrossFitters and their speed ropes.

CrossFit doesn’t just do the standard jump roping though, CrossFit athletes do what is called the double under. When you do double-unders the rope goes around twice per jump, you need to swing the rope faster and jump a little higher to make it work. It requires a certain amount of timing and endurance to keep that going and you should also use one of those speed ropes for this to make it a little easier on yourself. Word of warning: learning how to do double unders can be a bit on the painful side.

Double Unders

Advanced Rope Jumping

The double under is tough without a doubt but it’s not the Mount Everest of rope jumping so to speak. Many CrossfFtters, boxers and other athletes can do triple and even quadruple unders. These are some next level skills for when you have mastered the double under and are looking for a challenge. There are even a select few out there that can do quintuple unders, hardly anyone can do these for reps though.

More Advanced Techniques

Once you have mastered the double, triple and maybe even the quadruple jump there are even more advanced techniques out there. There is also crisscrossing which you saw in the Floyd Mayweather Jr. video above. Crisscrossing really isn’t too hard once you get a good at rope jumping. Try mixing it in with some double-unders and rope skipping outside of you body area and you can really start impressing people then. Or you could just take it to a whole new level like World Champion Adrienn Banhegyi and former Olympic wrestler Buddy Lee. These two are pretty much the cream of the rope jumping crop and have worked for years on their craft. Just a word of warning they will likely make you feel very inadequate as a rope jumper.

There you have it. Get out there and grab a jump rope and increase your athleticism, your finesse and your endurance.