CrossFit has really brought jump rope training into popularity with athletes and fitness enthusiasts. While jump rope training has traditionally been associated with playground games and boxers, it’s a very powerful and effective workout that packs a lot of effort into a short space of time. A regular part of CrossFit daily workout programs (‘WODs’, or ‘workouts of the day’), if you are a CrossFitter, sooner or later you’re going to be jumping rope, and you’ll want to know what is the best jump rope for CrossFit.
You might think a jump rope would be a simple design, but there’s a lot more to it than you'd think. Jump ropes for CrossFit have a lot of design features that make some ropes faster or more stable than others, some better for different types of workouts and others more ‘all around’ ropes. There are even variations for your personal preference for grips or adjustability.
So how do you find the right rope for you? Well, we’ve searched the jump rope market to bring you the best jump ropes for CrossFit, and help you find the perfect rope for you!
Summary: The Best Jump Ropes for CrossFit
What Are The Benefits of Jump Rope Training?
Jump rope training has become a popular addition to fitness programs, not just among CrossFitters. It’s fun, fast, and it packs an intense training session into just a few minutes. In the CrossFit gym, it’s now a regular part of workouts and competitions, with complex jumps like ‘double unders’ (where the rope passes under the feet twice for each jump) and ‘crossovers’ (where the arms cross in front of the body every other jump) adding elements of coordination and dexterity.
Jump rope training is deceptive - it may look easy, but it’s an intense cardio workout that hits you hard in a short time. Unlike running or cycling, jumping rope works your lower and upper body at the same time, and that gets your heart rate up pretty quickly. Of course, the bulk of the work is from your legs, but your core, shoulders, and arms are moving and working with every jump, especially with movements like double unders or crossovers.
Once you get confident with your jump rope, you can pick up a lot of speed. As your jumping pace gets faster, you’ll feel the intensity. That makes jump rope an ideal addition to high intensity interval training, especially if you don’t have room to run.
Unless you were a jump rope whiz back in the playground, it may take you a little time to get even simple jumps consistent and effective. There’s a lot going on in jumping rope - controlling the rope with subtle arm and wrist movements, keeping your balance through your core, and maintaining the rhythm and pace of your jumps. It’s not as easy at it looks!
Once you have mastered the basic jump, you can start adding in more complex moves like double unders and crossovers. These are really challenging, and force you to adjust your balance or your pace and are excellent exercises to improve coordination and dexterity.
Plyometric training is about improving explosive power, and a lot of CrossFit relies on plyometric principles. Exercises like box jumps and wall balls are designed to improve controlled output of power, and jumping rope will improve your other plyometric movements. You might not be springing off the ground like you would in a box jump, but the repetition and control of the jumps - especially in double unders - will improve your lower body strength and power.
If you think you can’t jump rope because you find impact activities like running uncomfortable, jumping rope may be a surprisingly effective option for you. While there is a certain amount of impact from the jumps, unlike running, jumping rope manages and softens the impact of landing. It’s a simpler movement than running, so it’s easier to maintain form, and you can reduce concussion by staying light and on your toes. Many runners actually find jumping rope an excellent way to condition joints and bones for the greater impact of running.
Benefit #5: Convenience
Jump rope training is also a great addition to home workouts. The equipment (a jump rope) is affordable and easy to store - unlike most gym equipment - and it doesn’t take a lot of time or skill to get started. You can jump rope just about anywhere, and that also makes it a great workout for people on the go.
You might think that a jump rope is pretty simple piece of equipment. There’s actually a lot to choosing the right rope, one that will be fast, comfortable, and safe for you. Almost all jump ropes for CrossFit are coated wire, so there isn’t much difference in the rope itself. Handles, bearings, and how the rope connects to the handles all have options and affect how well a rope will work for you.
The following 5 features will help you decide on which is the best jump rope for CrossFit for you.
The bearings in the handle control how smooth the spin of the rope will be. Better quality bearings ensure a smooth, even spin, but they generally cost more.
The shape of the handle will affect how well you can spin the rope, how tired or sore your wrists and forearms get during a workout, and whether the handles slip if your hands get sweaty. The best ropes have ergonomically shaped handles that fit snugly in your hand, with knurls or a non-slip coating for a secure grip. If the handles are too long, you’ll risk muscle strain in your forearm because you’ll need to grip the handles tightly to prevent them swinging with the rope. So, ideally, your rope will have a handle no more than an inch longer than the width of your palm.
Plastic handles are cheaper to produce, but they don’t last as long as aluminum handles, and they tend to be more slippery when your hands get sweaty, meaning you’ll have to add tape to plastic handles. On the plus side, plastic handles are lightweight and often come in cool colors. At the bottom end of the jump rope market, some plastic handles are so thin that a strong grip will actually bend them and lead to cracking.
The single most important factor in getting your jumps consistent and correct is the length of your rope. Almost all ropes are adjustable, but some ropes need to be cut and then secured with screws. This means that if you make a mistake and cut your rope too short, you’re stuck with it. Other ropes have sliding sleeves that allow you to change the length of the rope - ideal if there’s more than one person using the rope.
Depending on your interest in jump rope workouts, speed may be very important. Lighter ropes that attach outside of the handles are typically faster and more nimble, and better for double unders. Complex movements like crossovers are easier to control with a heavier rope and a more stable connection for the rope inside the handle. If endurance is your interest, and you prefer simple but longer jump rope sessions, you’ll want a lighter rope but a more stable connection to reduce arm and wrist fatigue.
A fast, versatile, and robust steel cable jump rope with aluminum handles.
The Lion packs a lot of features into its design. Knurled aluminum grips won’t slip even when your hands get sweaty. Unlike many other ropes, the Lion is innovative enough to meet the needs of most types of jumps. Tapered handles create a perfect angle of crossovers, yet the rope is light, agile, and fast enough for double unders. An adjustable rope that uses Allen keys, so there are no screws to lose and you can change the length for multiple users.
Value for money
With a RRP of $34.99, the Lion is one of the most expensive ropes on the market. Although if you shop around you can usually find it for around $20. However, the Lion is top quality and will last for years. Add that to the Lion’s design features that mean it’s an all-purpose rope for multiple jump rope exercises, so you don’t need different specialist ropes.
The Lion is excellent quality throughout, with a smooth but robust bearing connection housed within aluminum handles. PU coated steel cable won’t kink, crease or break.
A very fast yet affordable jump rope, ideal for new CrossFit athletes.
Like the Lion, the Survival and Cross jump rope has right-angle external bearings for the rope, making it very fast (ideal for double unders), but also smooth and agile enough for starting out in crossovers. The right angle design does limit the agility of the rope a bit, so if you want to compete in complex moves like crossovers at speed, you will probably want a more nimble rope eventually. The rope also has a one-time adjustment held with screws; this is a standard design but it means you can’t adjust the rope length once you’ve cut it, and you need to keep an eye on the screws as they will loosen over time.
Value for money
The Survival and Cross jump rope can be found for around 10 dollars, making it excellent value for a jump rope of this quality. Like the Lion, you get a multi-purpose rope that will meet most jumpers’ needs, and it’s one of the fastest ropes on the market.
While the Survival and Cross jump rope looks great, to get extra speed and keep the price down, the handles are ultra light and aren’t as robust as some more expensive ropes. They’re also shorter to make them more stable, but jumpers with larger hands might find them too small.
A very fast jump rope, perfect for double unders and competitions.
The CrossFlames adjustable jump rope is one of the fastest ropes on the market, with a complex ball bearing and spindle construction that makes this rope extremely smooth. The join is outside the handle, so there’s no torque in your hand and the rope can move easily at speed, making this a perfect specialist rope for CrossFit competitions and double unders. Being built for speed, this rope lacks the agility of some other ropes and isn’t an ideal choice for crossovers. Black cable coating also makes this rope easy to see, even at high speeds. The handles are smooth and can slip if your hands get sweaty, so you’ll probably want to tape them. They are also very small (to keep weight down), so adding a little tape will give you a bit more to grip.
Value for money
The CrossFlames jump rope is a mid-range rope, usually available for around $15. It’s a good price for the quality, but it’s a specialist speed rope. So if you also want to do complex jumps you will probably want to also invest in a more agile rope alongside the CrossFlames.
The CrossFlames’ ball bearing construction is top quality and will last through hours of high-speed jumping. The only downside of this rope’s construction is that the handles are very light. That’s great for speed work as it reduces wrist and arm fatigue, but they aren’t as robust as aluminum handles on other ropes and you’ll need to treat them carefully. On the plus side, CrossFlames offers a lifetime warranty so if your rope gets damaged you should be able to get a replacement.
Specialist speed rope ideal for serious CrossFit athletes and competitors.
The WOD Nation jump rope is designed specifically for fast work like double unders and CrossFit competitions. Everything about the design has speed in mind, so it’s smooth and light. On the down side, it isn't very agile, so it’s very much a speed rope and isn't very forgiving for moves like crossovers. If you are really trying to crack the double unders though, it’s a great rope, even for beginners. It is a cut to adjust rope though, so you need to be careful with your first adjustment, although WOD Nation supplies two cables with each purchase so if you make a mistake you have a back-up. Handles are good for speed and endurance work, but you will probably want to tape them as they are narrow and smooth, so slippery when your hands get sweaty.
Value for money
The WOD Nation jump rope is a serious competition rope and it is priced accordingly, although you can usually find them for around $17. If double unders or the CrossFit Games are your goals, then it’s a great rope and well worth the money given its speed, but if you also want to do crossovers or endurance work you will quickly want to invest in other specialist ropes.
The WOD Nation jump rope is a serious competition jump rope, and it is built with that in mind. Use it for what it was intended and it will last well enough, but for regular conditioning or if you are using it to learn new movements it might not hold up. That said, WOD Nation typically stands by its products and offers a lot or replacement parts, so your rope is easy to repair. They even send two cables so if you wear one out with hours of high-speed jumps, you’ve got a backup ready.
Good quality all-around rope for most CrossFit exercises.
The Box Nation jump rope is a CrossFit workhorse that is pretty good at both speed work and complex moves, but won’t compete with specialist ropes in either category. It’s also an adjustable design, so you can change the length of the rope if you prefer different lengths for different exercises. The movement is smooth, and the external design means no torque in your hand so it won’t tire out your wrist and arm in endurance work. It’s light enough to be fairly fast but heavy enough to be visible and stable. The plastic handles are the weak point though - while they have ridges for grips, they aren’t effective and the narrow design means they are hard to hold and get slippery when sweaty, but the ridges make it awkward to tape. If a sleek and flashy rope matters to you - and CrossFitters often value innovation in design - then you may be disappointed with this rope’s simple, and workmanlike appearance.
Value for money
The Box Nation rope is a serious CrossFit rope, and consequently, isn’t the cheapest out there. However, it’s available for around $18. Given its versatility and robust construction, it’s a perfect rope for the CrossFit athlete who doesn't want - or need - separate ropes for speed or agility work.
The Box Nation rope is built to last, and it’s really designed to be your primary jump rope for regular workouts and even some competitions. This rope comes ready for daily use at home or at the gym or box, and will hold up to pretty much anything you ask of it. Box Nation supplies lots of spare parts and an extra cable, so even if you wear it out, you can quickly get your rope back into service again.
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