Whether you call them speed ropes, speed jump ropes, or just jump ropes, there aren’t many training tools as old as this simple length of cable. What began in China hundreds of years ago as a game called “Hundred Rope Jumping,” has since spread throughout the entire world, thanks to its low-cost, easy accessibility, and (of course) undeniable effectiveness.
That said, many fitness enthusiasts tend to overlook speed ropes in favor of other, more complex exercise gear. But while complicated workout equipment can certainly isolate and improve specific areas, the speed rope’s strength lies in its simplicity.
You see, even though the exercise basically amounts to little more than repeated, sustained jumping in place, the fact is that it involves a wide range of muscles. This results in a workout that gets the entire body moving, instead of limiting the activity to just one or two muscle groups. This makes it a powerful option for those who want to get more out of their cardiorespiratory training.
Indeed, when it comes to exercise, there are few workouts that offer a wider range of benefits than speed ropes. So take a moment and see for yourself five reasons why you should include a jump rope in your exercise toolkit.
Jumping rope is easy, inexpensive, and convenient.
The average cost of a gym membership is about $40 – $50 per month. A piece of home exercise equipment (such as a treadmill) can run several thousand dollars. A jump rope, on the other hand, well, let’s just say that they cost significantly less. Even specially designed jump ropes, such as options with weighted handles or ones designed for Crossfit-enthusiasts seldom run more than $50.
Speed jump ropes are also extremely portable, and require very little space to use — no need for gyms at all. You can exercise in basically any open room, or if you prefer, take your jump rope outside. The rope itself can be easily packed into any backpack, briefcase, or bag. And as for jumping itself, even the uncoordinated will likely find their rhythm without too much difficulty.
Jumping rope burns calories at an insane rate.
Need to drop weight fast? Then speed ropes may be the solution you’ve been looking for. Research suggest that 10 minutes of using speed jump ropes can actually burn as many calories as jogging an eight-minute mile. And, the higher your jump-rope RPM (rotations per minute), the more calories you burn.
To give you a better perspective on how amazing that calorie burn rate is, that’s equivalent to about 1300 calories burned per hour. In comparison, most other strenuous activities (such as cycling or playing basketball) burn approximately half of that amount.
Jumping rope may be the best aerobic exercise there is.
Aerobic exercises provide a variety of benefits, with increased endurance being one of the most prominent. Traditionally, athletes have relied on running as their primary aerobic workout, but complications involving wear and tear on the joints are causing many health-minded individuals to turn their attention towards speed jump ropes.
Jumping rope offers the same aerobic benefits as running, but at a munch lower impact to sensitive joints.
Jumping rope reduces the likelihood of injuries.
Jumping up and down burns calories and helps build and tone muscles, but did you know that it can also help reduce your chances of suffering foot, ankle, and leg injuries? Working with speed ropes helps build coordination, even without the occasional jump-rope trick thrown in. Improved coordination and rhythm means better form when performing other exercises and while participating in sports-related activities. Additionally, jumping rope promotes stronger musculature in the feet and ankles.
Recent studies are also suggesting that jumping rope may help promote improved bone density in the lower body. Taken together, this means a reduced likelihood of experiencing injury to those areas.
There’s a reason that most of us learn how to jump rope when we’re kids — it’s fun! Even for adults, learning a new jump-rope trick every now and then gives jumpers a sense of accomplishment that not only looks impressive (and there’s nothing wrong with showing off a little when someone’s watching), but that also helps improve overall skill.
Additionally, jumping rope is unique in that it doesn’t require so much focus that you can’t watch a TV show or listen to a podcast while your working out, while still demanding enough concentration to keep the activity itself from getting boring. If your mind drifts too far you’ll likely trip yourself up, and that makes for an exciting experience.
Interested in incorporating speed ropes into your workout regimen? Here are a few jump-rope variations to help you reach your fitness goals.
- Alternate Foot: Stand on on the ball of one foot with your other foot raised off of the ground. As you jump, alternate which foot hits the ground.
- High Knees: As you jump bring your knees up as high as possible. For a variation, try High Knees Skipping, where you combine “high knee” with “alternate foot,” alternating which knee you bring up to your chest as you jump.
- Side to Side: Keep your feet together, and as you jump, move your feet about six inches from side to side, jumping first one direction, and then the other, while maintaining your rhythm.
- Side Swing and Jump: This requires a bit more coordination to master. Keep your hands together and twirl the rope to your left side without jumping it, then, as you bring the rope back, jump over it, feet together. Then, continue the motion and twirl the rope to your right side. Jump over it again as you bring the rope back to your center, and continue the sequence.
- Double unders: To really get the most out of speed ropes, consider a jump-rope trick beloved by Crossfitters around the world. Jump normally, but leap high enough and spin the rope fast enough that it passes under your feet two times for every single jump. And, if you manage to master that, then, then triple unders are the only place left to go…
Speed rope can take your exercise training to new heights. So hop to it, and see for yourself how effective a little jumping rope can be!