How to choose a jump rope? Our selection
The jump rope is such an enigma when it comes to crossfit training, it is essential for those pesky double-unders, and a piece of equipment that has so many variation and different types to choose from. Because its core function is a movement that takes a while to learn, and even longer to master, there are huge ranges in the design and function of ropes, and of course with that, also the price of them. Some ropes are designed for the pros, combining speed and lightness as well as smooth functionality all in one, but there are some good middle of the road options available out there that won’t burn holes through your wallet.
A jump rope is a jump rope, it can be a child’s plaything, or it can be an elite piece of fitness equipment. It is also not just a crossfit specific training aid as boxers, and more recently MMA fighters, have all had them in their gym. However, in crossfit, the main aim is double unders, so that already starts to narrow in on one certain type of rope which should be used, and that is the Speed Rope.
Types of Jump Ropes
Of course, jump ropes have also been a kid’s plaything before, but clearly, these won’t be ideal for crossfit, nor any other serious training really. But moving on from kids ropes, there are a few ropes that have specific functions.
- Beaded Rope – This is a rope with a nylon inner core that is covered in plastic segments, or beads, the beads are often brightly coloured and often used for skipping displays and exhibitions. But, they do add a lot of weight which is better suited for Rhythmic jumping. They are usually hardy and do not tangle easily, but these are not ideal for crossfit and should be used by a recreational or general fitness jumper.
- Leather Rope – More of a classical jump rope, that can be used recreationally, the leather rope is often heavy and has wooden handles. Again, this rope is more for casual fitness fans, rather than high levels of competition or action, but it is a comfortable rope with a good weight and sound.
- Speed Rope – This is the crossfit rope, or at least, a competitive sporting rope. It is made from a thin vinyl cord and are really only suitable for indoor gym usage as they can wear down on rough surfaces. The speed rope is much lighter and faster than other more traditional ropes and are used by boxers, fighter and of course crossfitters because they allow for much higher turns per minute. The speed and lightness of these ropes are what lend themselves to be used for double unders.
What to look for in a speed rope
Within the speed rope group you can get some pretty hi-tech and fancy ropes that can include bearing, different handles and rope materials, all for different outcomes and personal preferences.
The handles can come in very different materials, shapes, weights and grips, as well as general feels, and it really has to do with personal preference. Some prefer a heavy handle to give a base to spin from, while some prefer the entire construction to be light and controllable. The ergonomic shape and feel, as well as length and thickness, are also factors to consider.
The function relates to how the rope spins. Some basic ropes will simple attach to the handle and spin from inside there, other can have bearings, while others lie through the handle and the handle tip spins. Each of these functions will have their pros and cons and add different elements to the jumping experience.
An important, and often overlooked aspect of jump ropes is their ability to be resized, as a rope that is too long becomes troublesome and a rope that is too short is impossible to use.
This is another piece of crossfit equipment that can take a real hammering so it is important to get a rope that will last you. Cheaper ropes can fray and break from constant use, as well as perish at the moving parts.
Nine different ropes to consider
Jump N Rope R1
Seeing as jump rope, and speed jumping, are sports within themselves, you will often come across competition ropes such as the Jump N Rope. It is really a pure speed rope used for competitions, in fact, it has broken world records before, but that make it an ideal high performance crossfit jump rope.
A simplistic, yet long and light, handle gives you plenty of options for gripping and the lightness is to be expected for a rope designed so much for speed. What is really great about this rope however is the function which is a patented Jump N Rope design with dual stainless steel bearings that has often been imitated. There probably is no faster or smoother spin on the market than this rope.
They have also taken into account resizing, and again, being a competition rope, it is important to resize often and quickly, so they have their own sizing collar. But, if you find a size you like, you can use the crimp that comes with it to permanently lock in that length.
Finally, it is an incredibly durable piece of equipment because the rope itself is multi-stranded stainless steel cable.
RX Jump Rope
While a lot of ropes are used for crossfit, the RX is a rope that was designed for crossfit and has been used as a go to rope for many athletes for ages now. The most noticeable feature of the RX Rope has to be its chunky handles.
The handles are heavier than most, and have a very different shape, more ergonomically designed for robust useage. This offers up a lot more control, and thus appeals to a wider range of athletes from novice skippers to real pros.
The function is excellent, it offers more than enough speed, but most importantly is how smooth the action is. The handles have a multi-directional swivel axis bearing system that produce a near frictionless rotation.
One downside of this rope is that the length is not adjustable, so if you were to want a different size it would mean buying a brand new pre-sized cable.
It is also a bit prone to damage on the rope as the cable is coated in vinyl rather than the more durable nylon coating.
Elite Surge Speed Rope
Again, this is more of a competition rope, and it has been clocked at seven rotations a second, but a really good crossfit rope thanks to its special ball bearing function system.
The handles are extremely light aluminum construct, and coated in a non-slip material with extra length for personal preference of grip.
The function is where it really gets interesting as the Elite Surge has a super fast patented ball bearing system in the handle tip that allows for great speed and smooth rotations. However, it is so fast that it is probably not a good rope for beginners as they may struggle to keep up with it.
A very durable rope, there are even a few different weighted options with the super thin uncoated 1/16 inch cable being pretty much unbreakable from regular use.
Fit Skuad Jump Rope
This is still definitely a speed rope, but it is a little more versatile and it makes it one of the most popular and highly regarded ropes for crossfit. Smooth function, quick spin, and durable, the Fit Skuad rope is a great allrounder.
The handles once again are lightweight and very responsive as you would come to expect from a speed rope, but they can get a little slippery with sweat thanks to the thin foam coating.
The function is quick, and very, very smooth, so it feels easy to use and can be ideal for even beginners to double unders and fast rope work.
Fit Skuad take their durability quite seriously as the handles have a lifetime guarantee while there is even a 120 day guarantee on the cable itself.
It also comes with a carrying case, extra cable, plus a quick practice guide to mastering double unders.
Spartan fit Speed Jump Rope
Spartan is a well recognised name in the fitness, and even crossfit, industry, so it is always worth checking out what they have to offer as it may be tailored to what you need.
A solid speed rope, the Spartan has long, light stainless steel handles with pronounced bulbous ends to aid grip while the function is smooth and sleek thanks to a 360 degree handle rotations, while the cable itself is military grade steel that they claim will last a lifetime.
It is designed with double unders in mind, so the action is of course smooth, but the speed is not lightning quick, a really good rope for someone who want to take their skipping to the next level.
WOD Nation speed Jump Rope
This is a product that is designed with crossfit in mind, and as such, there are a few little aspects that make this a really good rope. It is sturdy in design and very stable allowing you to recover quickly and jump even quicker.
The handles are long and designed in a classical speed rope style with a solid function that is built around smoothness. Of course, it is quick as well with its 360 degree ball bearing rotation through the handles and the coated wire cord.
It is also designed to be rugged and take take abuse, so much so that they offer a lifetime guarantee, but more than that, they throw in a second cord as well as a great carry bag as added extras.
Powerskip Jump Rope
More of a recreational jump rope, the Powerskip does allow for some speed work thanks to the ball bearing system in the handles, but this should not be considered a speed rope.
This is a good starting place for those very new to skipping, the handles are extremely comfortable and easy to grip, with memory foam and a chunky size. The function is smooth thanks to the ball bearing, but it won’t reach the speeds of a speed rope.
There is an adjustable length to these ropes, and they can definitely be used for crossfit, but this should be considered a beginner’s rope.
King Athletic Leather Jump Rope
Rather unusual for a crossfit rope, the King Athletic is a leather cord, but it does have speed capabilities thanks to ball bearing handles. To be honest though this is far more of a recreational rope and should only be used for those who are just starting out with skipping.
The handles are foam coated plastic attached onto the leather cord which can be prone to tangling, but the leather itself will last long and can be used outdoors.
Sporter Jump Rope
A fairly basic jump rope, the Sporter can no doubt be used for crossfit and double unders, but it should not be the one you choose if you are starting to master your skipping. It is not a speed rope, but it can be moved quick enough thanks to a good function and ball bearing handles.
The handles are pretty basic and not designed to help with speed, but they can be made heavier for more control by adding ball bearing into them. The construct is a little cheap in feel with PVC and sponge making up the majority, so this won’t be the most durable rope, but it will be fine if you are just getting used to skipping.