Once upon a time choosing a jump rope was easy … you had a choice between the beaded one or the leather one. Now, as rope jumping has grown in popularity for fitness and as a sport, you have seemingly endless varieties and styles of ropes to choose from. In fact, we get calls and questions all the time from people who want help picking the right rope. This article is intended as a guide, or a handbook of sorts, for picking the best jump rope for your style, setting and activity.
Here are a couple of key considerations before you pick a rope:
- Outdoor Rating: Will this jump rope be used indoors or outdoors? Many jump ropes now will wear out very quickly on hard surfaces like concrete, so it’s important to pick an outdoor rated rope if you’re planning on jumping outdoors.
- Trick Rating: Will this rope be used to do tricks, like crossing moves? Many ropes now are built exclusively for speed, and won’t do crossing moves well.
- Speed Rating: How fast do you want the rope to go? Competition speed jumping and CrossFit have really spurred much of the recent jump rope innovation, with a big variety of speed ropes now on the market.
- Durability: Does your jump rope need to last for a while? Or is it OK if it breaks down after a few months? There are big differences in manufacturing and material quality that affect the durability of your rope.
- Ease of resizing: Are you OK with a jump rope that comes in one set size, or would you like to resize it to fit different people or activities?
- Versatility: Do you want to use your jump rope indoors and outdoors? Do you want to swap out rope styles for different activities (for example for double under speed jumping and the freestyle jumping)? Some ropes are more versatile for many activities than others.
- Cost: Where do you get the most bang for your buck?
Next, consider what type of activity this jump rope will be used for. Here are some of the major categories.
These are excellent all-around jump ropes, equally useful for speed jumping or fancy hand movements and crossing moves. Comfortable handles with a quality cord is vital. It’s also important that your fitness rope doesn’t tangle, as it will probably live in your gym bag.
Boxer's Training Rope 2.0 - website
Why we like this rope: This is a simply designed "does everything" fitness rope that is great for high intensity interval workouts that mix speed and freestyle elements. Features a solid core 5mm PVC cord won't wear out when jumping outdoors or on abrasive surfaces. Also, easy to resize and lightweight.
Heavy Beaded Fitness Rope - website
Why we love this rope: Heavy 2" thick walled beads add extra weight to the rope for more intense workout. The heavy beads also make it ultra durable for use on concrete or any other rough surface ... no worries about replacing your rope every couple months. The long handles with foam grips make for a comfortable, slip-free hold when you sweat and make it easier to work in freestyle moves like criss crosses.
Jump ropes for kids don't need to be extra fancy. A good combination of quality, cost and that "fun" factor is what's important. These ropes are all made of very durable materials (so you won't worry about them breaking or getting tangled up), they will last a long time even if jumping out on the playground or the street, and they're all reasonably priced.
Anna's Rainbow Rope - website
Why we love this rope: Big and soft foam-grip handles fit comfortably in little hands, and the ultra tough nylon-woven rope won't wear out, even on the toughest concrete surfaces. Super easy to resize with a screw on the top of the handle. Choose from an assortment of "rainbow" colors kids love.
Short Handle Licorice Rope - website
Why we like it: Made with a durable cord that won't twist or tangle, and comes with an innovate "snap lock" system that makes resizing the rope extremely simple. Comes in a variety of colors (including a clear blue rope that we're partial to).
Cost: $1.65 - $3.20 (depending on quantity)
Rainbow Flashing LED Jump Rope - website
Why we like it: Ok, so this one is a little pricey for a children's rope, but it's just so cool! (We give it a 10 out of 10 on the "fun factor.") This rope lights up and looks great in the dark (see a video). It's powered by a battery in the handle and offers a variety of different flashing modes. Handles are very durable, and the rope itself is surprisingly durable as well. Comes with a 90-day warranty.
SPEED / DOUBLE UNDERS
If you're a speed jumping competitor, you want a cable speed rope that will do around 6-7 jumps a second. Also key here is comfortable and light weight handles with quality USA made cable (cable made in the US doesn't kink or break as easily as Chinese cable). Durability, a balanced feel, and ease of adjusting for the perfect length are also important.
ELITE Surge 2.0 - website
Why we love it: This is a CrossFit rope that is simply amazing for any kind of speed jumping, and has been used with much success in speed jumping competitions. Double ball bearing system in the handles give it an incredibly smooth and efficient spin. Handles are very light at 5oz. What really sets this rope apart, however, is the versatility, as you can easily swap out and use different styles of cable, including a super fast bare wire cable for competitions.
Ultra Light Speed Rope - website
Why we like it: The lightest speed rope on the market, offering that extra little edge in competitions. Weighs only 2.4oz. Cord length is easy to adjust, and it comes in a variety of different colors and with a two-year warranty on the handles.
In the best freestyle ropes, the handles and cord work together, allowing for great control over the rope. These ropes make intricate and complicated tricks much easier for the athlete. Both PVC and licorice style jump ropes are very popular, while beaded ropes allow for a greater presentation to judges and audiences. The licorice is faster and allows for greater ease in doing power moves and multiple unders.
Pro Freestyle Jump Rope - website
Why we love this rope: It can be used indoors or outdoors (it uses a super durable PVC rope), and the rope is kink resistant. The long handles with the low profile grip tape make it easy to use and perform any freestyle tricks. It's extremely easy to resize, it's inexpensive, and it comes in a variety of colors (for those presentation scores). See a video of this rope in action.
Custom Single Beaded Rope - website
Why we love this rope: This is essentially the same rope as the single beaded rope, just with more options for customizing bead colors and patterns. With this rope, your color combinations are endless as you can choose from a big variety of handle colors and customize the colors and layouts of the beads. You can also purchase it with 8" long handles, which gives you an edge when performing intricate crossing moves. Made with ultra light beads for a quicker spin.
About the Author
Matt Hopkins is a former competitive speed jumper and jump rope coach. Matt has won numerous national championships in speed jumping, and his athletes have won several national speed and freestyle titles and have broken world and national speed records. He also taught middle and elementary school PE in Leavenworth WA for 23 years.