Jumping rope is one of those things that makes you nostalgic for your childhood. You might recall those days when you used to play with chalk on the sidewalk and skip rope over the boxes.
But if you're looking to jump rope for exercise, know that times have changed — there's more to choosing a jump rope than a plastic string with handles on each end. Finding the right one for you depends on your preferences and goals.
Here, trainers explain the different types of jump ropes, their functions and the best options to buy, whether you're looking to improve your double unders or boost your strength with a weighted rope.
For a jump rope you can use for a variety of at-home and gym workouts, opt for a fitness or gym rope (usually labeled on the packaging). These ropes are best for general use to get your heart rate up and burn calories.
They're also great for those who are new to jumping rope, according to Maillard Howell, CPT, a CrossFit Level 2 coach and head of fitness at Reebok. Generally, the price point is pretty affordable.
1. Ballistyx Jump Rope
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $24.86
2. SPORTBIT Jump Rope
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $8.99
3. XYLSports Adjustable Jump Rope
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $10.99
If you usually take your routine outside, invest in a rope specifically made for the elements. Outside ropes are durable and can withstand damage from the concrete, Howell says.
Ropes that are best for outdoors won't necessarily have an 'outdoor' label on the packaging — it comes down to the rope materials. Opt for PVC-based ropes. Wire ones (which some outdoor ropes are) damage pretty easily, he says. Even if they have rubber sheaths, they tend to wear out more quickly outdoors.
Jump ropes with beads along the rope (aka beaded ropes) are a good outdoor option, too. Look for rubber-based beads, Howell says. Plastic beads (better for indoors) can crack and break off the rope after hitting the sidewalk.
1. DEGOL Skipping Rope
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $9.99
2. Sportout Soft Beaded Jump Rope
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $6.50
3. Llife Tangle-Free Jump Rope
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $6.89
To jump rope really fast, you need to find a rope that's labeled as a speed rope on the package.These are thin wire ropes that are light and aerodynamic.
"Speed ropes are great for practicing double unders and working on explosiveness, as the rope enables you to whip it around faster than other heavier ropes," says Eric Rakofsky, CPT, a coach at Kollective, a performance-driven fitness club. "They're used a lot in CrossFit and boxing."
Speed ropes tend to cost more than other jump rope types. Because the materials in speed ropes are of such high quality, they tend to bump up the price, Howell says.
Try to use these indoors, as tough surfaces can do some real damage over time.
1. WOD Nation Speed Jump Rope
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $13.64
2. Epitomie Fitness Sonic Boom M2 High Speed Jump Rope
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $27.08
3. Fit Viva Deluxe High Speed Jump Rope
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $27.97
Although it looks more like a standard fitness rope, weighted ropes can move quickly, but also go a long way in increasing muscle strength.
With varying weights (labeled on the packaging), weighted ropes are great for building strength, according Rakofsky. The muscles in your shoulders, arms and core all benefit from the extra resistance of the rope.
Generally, these are thick, PVC rubber ropes with weighted handles. But sometimes, both the rope and handles can weigh an extra pound or two. And thanks to the rubber coating, they're pretty durable for indoor or outdoor use.
1. Crossrope Weighted Jump Rope
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $99
2. Gaoykai Weighted Jump Rope
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $18.99
3. Pulse Weighted Jump Rope
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $19.99