The advances in jump rope technology and the proliferation of jump ropes styles over the last few years is, for me, pretty remarkable. When I started out with jump ropes as a fitness coach 20 years ago it was mostly a fringe sport limited to boxers and playgrounds (and the best jump ropes still used beads or were made with leather cords).
But in the last 5 or so years, jump rope has gone mainstream. Celebrities have started incorporating jump rope into their fitness routines. CrossFit has spawned a whole new jump rope sport (double unders). And jump ropes hang in just about every gym in America.
With all this growth, fitness companies have taken notice ... in a big way, developing jump ropes of every conceivable style, size and color. A search for jump ropes on Amazon.com brings up more than 6,000 results.
So how do you choose?
As a fitness coach and a jump rope specialist I've coached a few speed jumping national champions and a world record holder, and have even won a few speed jumping competitions myself. I've used and experimented with hundreds of different varieties. Here's what I recommended you look for in a good, every day jump rope for fitness workouts:
- Price: Even the very best jump ropes are relatively inexpensive to make (unless electronics are incorporated). I've found that $30 is a good top-end threshold. Expect to pay at least $10, but no more than $30 for a great fitness rope. Any less and I'd question the quality. Any more and I'd say you're not getting what you pay for.
- Handle Weight: It's important that the handles be relatively light weight. If you're jumping for fitness you're looking for a great cardio burn. Heavy handles will cause your arms to tire before you hit your cardio peak. Look for a rope that weighs less than 6 oz.
- Handle Design: Look for the following features:
- Grip: If you're jumping rope for fitness, you'll sweat, and the handle will be tough to hold onto as it gets wet. A flared design with a fatter end and a foam or other sticky grip will help you hold on when you sweat.
- Durability: Cords and cables wear out, no matter how well made. But your handle should last a long time (or a lifetime). Look for a well reviewed rope (with no complaints of handle breakage) made of light-weight aluminum or unbreakable plastic polymers. This way you can simply replace the cords when they wear out, instead of replacing the whole rope.
- Ease of resizing & rope replacement: Most jump ropes come at a default "one size fits all" length. But rope length is important for comfort and efficiency when jumping. The rope you buy should be easy to resize to fit your perfect length. (See my jump rope sizing guide.) It's also important that the handles easily detach from the rope. This allows you to replace the cord when it wears out, instead of the whole jump rope.
- Cable Quality: lf you buy a cable rope (vs a PVC rope), look for cable covered in quality nylon. The highest quality jump rope cables are typically USA made and coated in nylon. Vinyl coated cable is very flexible but will wear out extremely fast.
Using these criteria, you should be able to find any number of very good jump ropes for fitness. Below, I've listed my personal favorites based on skill level.
Good all around jump ropes that are very forgiving, easy to adjust and easy to handle and rotate at slower speeds.
ELITE Pro Freestyle Rope
Summary: An excellent all around jump rope with long handles for a strong hold, an easy length adjustment system and a slower PVC cord that can be used both indoors and outdoors.
- Weight: 4.8 oz
- Handles: 8" handles made of unbreakable plastic polymer and low profile handle grip tape (so the handles don't slip when you sweat). Comes in a variety of color combos.
- Rope: Solid core PVC rope that is durable on both indoor and outdoor surfaces.
Price: $9.99 website
These are excellent fitness ropes for experienced rope jumpers who haven't quite hit the level of a Floyd Mayweather, but can jump for long periods without missing.
Cable Freestyle Rope
Summary: A long handle rope that uses a cable, making it both easy to handle and quick. This is a favorite jump rope for competitive freestyle jumpers who use it for doing tricks at speed. Comes in a variety of different colors.
- Weight: 5 oz
- Handles: Unbreakable plastic polymer long handles with foam grips. Uses innovative "snap lock" system for easy cable resizing or replacement.
- Rope: 10' kink-resistant, tangle free cable with white coating. This is an indoor only cable that will quickly wear out on pavement.
Price: $11.99 (bulk discounts for gyms available) - website
Boxer's Training Rope 2.0
Summary: Heavy duty PVC rope that can be used on any surface. Because the rope is attached to the handles at a 90 degree angle it's fast (great for double unders), but it won't do intricate crossing moves as well.
- Weight: 6 oz
- Handles: Unbreakable plastic polymer handles attach to PVC cord at 90 degrees for increased efficiency and speed. Snap lock system for easy resizing and rope replacement.
- Rope: Heavier solid core 5mm PVC cord (10' length) that can take a beating on any surface
Price: $8.99 (bulk discounts for gyms available) - website
These jump ropes are best for advanced jumpers who need a very fast ropes. These jump ropes are designed for speed skipping and double unders, and come with a variety of different cable types for different uses.
ELITE Surge Speed Rope 2.0
Summary: An incredibly fast and versatile fitness rope that has become popular for speed and double unders at competitions, with competitive jumpers using to get up to seven jumps a second. Handles feature a patented ball bearing system that make it very efficient and smooth spinning.
- Weight: 3.4 oz
- Handles: Machine cut aluminum handles with a foam grip. Attach to the cable at a 90-degree angle. Dual ball bearings in each handle. Come in a variety of different colors.
- Rope: USA made cable comes at 10 feet in length. Come in a variety of different colors and thicknesses / outdoor ratings.
Price: $29.99 - website
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.