What Jump Rope Should I Get?

Nearly everyone at Vegvisir has jumped rope prior to showing up for their first session at our gym.

Remember grade school? When they made you use those plastic handled jump ropes with string that had links of more plastic to protect the rope as you slung that sucker as fast as possible on some concrete outside? 

They are way different than those fancy RPM jump ropes that we use every day in class. Both other than looking fancy and being really good at leaving marks on your skin, why use those over that plastic rope? Why not just a box of jump ropes from academy? Or the ones made of cloth and wood like you see boxers use in movies based in the 1940s?

Well, let’s talk about it!

“What Really Is A Jump Rope?”

Well we kinda answered it earlier! It’s two cylindrical handles that are joined by a rope that you jump repeatedly as you swing it around your body vertically.

We can dive even further saying that most are designed for use by one person and the primary goal of its’ usage is for cardiovascular conditioning!

That last little bit, rather the goal and intensity of that conditioning, is what actually differentiates jump ropes from one another in terms other than quality!

You’ve got:

  • Standard Ropes: Built for learning the fundamentals of jump roping!
    • These are typically the ones you find at Dick’s or Academy that have a single bearing design.
    • The ropes are made of nylon or leather and usually aren’t very durable when used for high repetition workouts.
  • Drag Ropes: Those old timey ropes you see old boxers use.
    • These are the most simple ropes. They use a plastic or wood build for the handles with a cloth rope connecting the two!
    • There aren’t any bearings and you have to use much more of muscular effort to keep these ropes going. Much like…
  • Weighted Ropes: For those who enjoy their forearms feeling like they might fall off. 
    • These have a wide variety of builds ranging from the style we use (double bearing speed ropes) to just a heavy version of a standard rope.
    • These ropes usually way about 1 pound and some ropes can even have 1 pound handles to make the effort of jumping rope a tougher forearm exercise!
  • Speed Ropes: The “CrossFit” rope
    • Finally we have come to what our gym uses!
    • These ropes are light and have made a huge surge in the fitness industry since CrossFit uses the double under as part of their training philosophy.
    • In order to improve speed of a jump rope and allow for something like a double under to happen more consistently, rope with lighter handles, thinner ropes made of metal cable wrapped in nylon for protection, and double bearing designs sprung up!

“Speed Ropes Are Good For CrossFit! WOO! But, What Makes a Great Speed Rope?”

A good speed rope is gonna need a metal cable (wrapped in nylon if you are gonna be learning how to do a double under with it). Next it’s gonna have light handles with a grippy surface made out of something durable like metal. Lastly, the rope is gonna have a double bearing design!

A bearing is the part of a machine that allows an object to rotate. We won’t go into the various types, just know that it is what allows the rope to rotate independently from the handle.

When we talk about two bearings, there is one piece that allows the handle to stay still while the rope rotates. The second allows the connection point of the rope to adjust to the various forced the jump rope places on the handle so that it can spin even more freely than if it were to be like a standard jump rope with its’ single bearing. Allowing for faster speeds and less chances the rope causes a trip.

“The Gym Has A Full Set Of Those Exact Kind of Ropes! Why would I get one of my own?”

There is really just one reason why an athlete would go get their own jump rope (and why you see a good amount of the athletes you share class with have their own rope), customization!

Yes, you of course can choose different colors and styles to reflect your personality with all the great speed rope brands. What really matters in the customization process is that you can have a rope fitted to your height!

As awesome as the class set we have at the gym is, they are really just generic lengths that are great for the majority athletes, but not perfect for most of them.

Why does that matter? Can’t you adjust your hand position?

Well, if you’re trying to dial in your form and have the most efficient double unders possible, a rope that is cut to your height can go a very long way in your success with double unders as you won’t have to overcome any mechanical advantages. It’s a difference that can definitely be overcome, but it is there!

There is another reason you would want a personal jump rope, it doesn’t have ANY KINKS! (We try to keep our ropes as pristine as possible, but in a commercial setting there is no avoiding getting a kink in the rope here and there).

“What if I want to get a personal jump rope now?”

While you have plenty of options, most athletes go with one of 3 routes:

The Budget OptionWODWell is the company most athletes go to when they want to dip their toe into the personal equipment world of CrossFit. Their grips and jump ropes are wonderful for starting out and can get the job done quite well! You are able to cut their jump rope to any height and it comes with a small rubber cap to prevent you from being stabbed by any frayed metal that comes from trying to cut their tougher steel cable rope!

The Popular Option: RPM is our rope of choice at the gym! (We even have $20 gift cards ready to go at the desk when athletes ask what jump rope they should get since we have a partnership with them)! These are super durable and the rope that I use. I have had to own two ropes, with one having a catastrophic failure after 3 straight years of CF Games style training and the other one is at 2 years and still has it’s original cable! Plus, it’s something that you are already comfortable with if you use our class set. The rope can be cut to any height is easy to cut with a proper set of wire cutters.

The Intense Option: Rx Smart Gear is the OG in the CrossFit scene. They use metal handles and the most secure rope design out there. You’ll spend twice as much on your rope than the RPM option, but you will get the most unkillable and smoothest spinning rope on the market. Also, Rich Froning uses it if that still has caché!

“Do I Need To Get One?”

If you want to train at home, you’ll have to get a personal one. Otherwise, it really is up to you on if you want that personal rope and the benefits it provides!

You can always ask your coach what would work best for ya and what they use! We can also help set up your rope, should you get one, as we all have set up jump ropes dozens of times.

I hope this helps ya with some of your jump rope questions!

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