The jump rope has experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years. The pandemic, social distancing and gym closures have all had a part in this rebirth of jumping rope. But the main reason is its effectiveness as a training tool as well as its convenience and portability. With more people jumping rope and more equipment companies paying attention to this trend there has been an explosion of jump rope variations to elicit different training stimulus. Everything from light ropes to heavy ropes, fast ropes to slow ropes, stretchy ropes to static ropes. Even adaptive jump ropes for people missing one of their limbs and can only hold one handle.
Jump ropes and speed ropes are two very common variations that can be incredibly valuable for anyone looking to include a bit of fitness in their life. However, many people incorrectly use the terms jump rope and speed rope interchangeably. You might not think that the difference matters, but anyone that is ready to get serious about their rope fitness routine is going to need to know the difference and be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of each of these fitness accessories.
In this complete guide, we are going to walk you through a familiarization with jump ropes and speed ropes and even show you what can be done with each of them such as mastering double unders. By its conclusion, you will know everything that you need to know about jump ropes and speed ropes and you’ll know how to get started if you want to include jump ropes and speed ropes in your everyday physical routine.
What is a Jump Rope?
The first thing that you are going to want to know is what exactly is a jump rope? A jump rope is a very common piece of workout equipment that is frequently used by those that are looking to get in shape while improving their cardiorespiratory system, which has been linked to faster recovery from various flu viruses. One of the benefits of using a jump rope for fitness purposes is that it is compact and portable and can be used anywhere there is a flat surface to jump on such as a living room, garage, patio, driveway, sidewalk etc. Jump rope is often considered to be more effective than running since you utilize your upper body in conjunction with your lower body. Also because people jumping rope will usually bounce softly on the balls of their feet which reduces the impact on the ankle and knee joints. Some studies have found that jumping rope can even improve bone density from repetitive motion.
Typical Jump ropes consist of 2 handles that are usually made out of plastic, wood or metal and are connected with a piece of cord that can be made from pvc, wire cable or rope material. Standard jump rope handles weigh approximately 2-3 ounces each while some integrate upwards of 1 pound of weight in each handle. Some of these jump ropes can come with swivels and bearings to produce fast, smooth rotations, while most are a rudimentary design without these components. Typical jump rope cords weigh anywhere from 3 ounces to upwards of 2 pounds. The more weight the cord has, the more intensity your upper body will feel giving you a crazy workout. Jump ropes are generally considered to be well-suited for casual exercisers, fitness enthusiasts and high performance athletes. Beginners should target a standard jump made of plastic or metal handles that use a coated wire cable weighing between 3-4 ounces. This has been found to improve your learning curve by allowing you to feel your rope as it moves around your body at slower speeds so that timing your jump is easier. The Original Rx Jump rope has helped more people master their double unders than any other rope on the planet.
What is a Speed Rope?
Now that you know more about a traditional jump rope, it’s time to examine what sets a speed rope apart and makes it unique. Speed ropes were designed specifically for a jump rope competition in which athletes attempt to accumulate as many revolutions in various time domains typically 30 seconds, 60 seconds and 3 minutes. The athlete will run in place, called alternating step, while stepping over the rope with each revolution. The jump ropes are designed to be extremely lightweight and fast. The handles are typically made of plastic while higher quality speed ropes are constructed out of aerospace grade aluminum. Most plastic handle versions do not have bearings rather a plastic bushing inside, while high end aluminum speed ropes will contain 1 or 2 precision bearings per handle. The rope portion is actually made of very thin aircraft grade braided steel wire with minimal air resistance. The entire wire weighs about 1 ounce. The EVO speed ropes are hands down the fastest most precision speed ropes on the market. But they may not be your best choice right off the bat.
The misconception about speed ropes is that since they are fast they must produce more intensity during exercise such as CrossFit workouts. The opposite is actually true. Since speed ropes are so light and fast they produce very little in the way of resistance and exertion. Speed ropes are also more difficult to learn and perfect your jump rope skill because lack of resistance makes it difficult to track the wire moving around your body to time your jump properly. However, speed ropes are fabulous training tools once you have your timing and coordination down. They help you speed up your jumps or double unders, which improves your agility and stamina. And in competitive CrossFit workouts where time is of the essence speed ropes are a great option.
Factors to Consider When Choosing
When you are trying to make the decision between a jump rope and speed rope, there are many factors that you’re going to want to consider. All of this can be overwhelming when you are just starting out, so we have put together a complete guide of factors that you will want to take into consideration when choosing between a traditional jump rope and a high-performance speed rope.
Here are some of the main factors that are going to influence your decision between a jump rope and a speed rope. Your own factors may end up being different, but this overview provides a great starting point for those that are just beginning their journey in jump rope and high-intensity fitness.
For many people, the price of the item is going to play a large role in deciding what product they ultimately buy. Keep in mind the old adage “you get what you pay for”. Purchasing a good jump rope should be considered an investment in YOU. And a higher quality jump rope will make your fitness journey more enjoyable and sustainable. The good news for those that are trying to decide between a jump rope and a speed rope is that there are plenty of options for you regardless of what your budget is for both jump ropes and speed ropes. High-end speed ropes are going to have more expensive options than high-end jump ropes, simply because the materials that are required to be used are a bit more expensive. If you want to get a top-notch rope, you are going to spend a bit more money on a speed rope when compared to a jump rope.
However, there are plenty of very affordable options out there for speed ropes and jump ropes, so price shouldn’t be much of a barrier for you, unless you are looking to get a top-of-the-line rope. Generally speaking, jump ropes and speed ropes are very affordable options for those that want to get a good workout.
Your current skill level will be a major factor in choosing between a jump rope and a speed rope. Keep in mind that a jump rope can still go as fast as you can humanly spin it. You are the motor that drives the rope. But a beginner needs a rope they can purposely slow down to develop their timing and coordination jumping over the rope. A rope weighing at least 3-4 ounces provides the feedback to the user to better track the rope moving around their body. A coated wire cable provides a consistent length no matter the speed the rope is moving. Whereas, a flexible rope such as pvc plastic, nylon string or woven rope material all have a certain amount of elasticity. This allows the rope to stretch and contract changing where the rope contacts the ground in front of the toes when you jump. This can be the cause of a lot of tripping and mis-steps. Speed ropes are not a beginner’s best option due to the fact that they possess the 2 characteristics that make learning difficult; light and fast. But once you have your timing and coordination down then a speed rope makes a fantastic training tool to add speed into your workouts.
A key part of the decision process for those looking to purchase a jump rope or speed rope is the desired intensity of their workouts. Those that are going to be doing high-intensity training will have plenty of options to choose from. As mentioned earlier a speed rope such as our EVO will introduce speed into your workouts, heavy ropes such as our Colossal line up will provide resistance into your workouts while slow ropes such as a Drag rope will provide air resistance. However, those that are looking for a more casual cardio workout that includes some jumping would want to pursue a standard fitness jump rope such as the Original Rx rope with Buff cable or the RapidFit also with the Buff cable. The great thing about a speed rope is that it can be used for either purpose. You can even select a slightly heavier cable such as the Ultra or Elite cable to put on your EVO speed rope giving you the best of both worlds. So, even if you are doing casual workouts right now, but you plan on potentially graduating to more intense workouts, it may be worth it to invest in a speed rope right off the bat.
If you want to make sure that you get the right jump rope or speed rope for you, then you will want to make sure that you get a rope that has the appropriate durability. This can sometimes be challenging to do, considering you are not usually able to examine the rope until it arrives to you. When choosing either a jump rope or a speed rope you should research the manufacturer and find out where their products are made and what attention they put into their manufacturing process. The reputation of the company and customer reviews of their products will usually lead you to the right choice. At Rx Smart Gear all of our jump ropes were designed in house and most hold patents. While some of our components may come from overseas we do not buy generic jump ropes from overseas manufacturers and simply place our brand on them. Most of our jump rope products are assembled in our facility in El Cajon California and we are working to manufacture all of our jump ropes in house by mid 2021.