A jump rope is a boxers best friend. And for those of you who have ever wondered if we learn how to do all kinds of crazy tricks with them out of boredom? Well, honestly, you're partly right. As a boxer, you will spend a whole lot of hours on the rope. Especially as you begin to compete and enter the world of weight cutting. If you're going to invest in any equipment before beginning your journey into the boxing world, your own rope and hand wraps are the first two things you should purchase. The hand wraps because you have to have them and wearing someone else's is kind of like wearing someone else's underwear. The rope because you're going to use that thing until it breaks and then countless more. It's annoying to have to take time adjusting someone else's rope, and it cuts into your workout and burn. It should get to the point where that rope feels like an extension of you, and it's hard to do that when you are always having to share that extension of yourself with others who mess with your adjustments.
One really nice part of how popular Crossfit has become is that there are a lot of things about the sport that cross over into boxing. For example, their WODs (Workout of the Day) often involve primarily body weight, have great ideas for full body movements, and can be a great source of inspiration for new and improved explosion workouts. Another perk is that they have a very large female following and can be a much needed source of female-specific information on best training practices for the female body. Unlike body building, everything Crossfit does revolves around functional muscle movements, therefore smoothly transferring to boxing where the only results we care about are how you perform.
A side perk to the Crossfit movement is new developments in equipment. Finally. Another sport that women are moving into where it is necessary that we tap into our true potential strength and muscle endurance. They are welcoming women, and therefore helping immensely with their contribution to women sized and shaped equipment. They also happen to be as obsessed with the benefits of jump roping as we are. This means there are choices of ropes besides 10 feet long or sparkle and pink braided with plastic handles for children.
More choices do mean you need more information before purchasing, though. Above is the WODSKAI Speed Jump Rope-360° Swivel Ball Bearing. I have included this picture of the inside of the handle so that you can see what you're looking for in a speed rope. To type "speed rope" into Amazon or Google just doesn't cut it these days. You will see an incredible variety of speed ropes, but hopefully the few that I have recommended at the bottom will give you a good idea of what you're looking for.
Speed ropes are made of a metal wire encased in a thin plastic covering. There are a variety of handle types. I would strongly recommend the unweighted, metal handle with bearings such as the one pictured. Most importantly, make sure that there is at least the top ball bearing. Also pay attention to how long the rope can become. You should be able to stand with good posture, rope under one toe, and the handles should reach up to about your cheek bones. If you are unsure how long your rope should be, do this using a tape measure. 9.5-10 feet is typical, but if you're 5'3 like me this leaves a whole lot extra swinging around with you. If you're small or extra tall, I recommend measuring how much you need first.
Why do we Jump?
I love accessories at least as much as the next person, and honestly, one of my favorite things about starting Lions Den is that I get to be the first one to try all of this awesome equipment I couldn't justify buying for only myself to use on my single mom income. And trust me, I can't wait to start a whole jump roping class with all the new kinds of weighted jump ropes there are out there! But in all the fun creativity and excitement of new equipment, its important to not lose sight of the primary reasons why we boxers jump as much as we do. First and foremost it's about footwork. Fights are won or lost with footwork. When you grab your rope to get warmed up, you should be focusing on loosing every tense muscle, letting your weight settle onto your hip flexors with the nice strong base of a perfect stance and lightly, but powerfully skipping in and out just as you would move in and out of reach of your opponent. As you relax into this perfect stance and movement, you begin to mix up your footwork, keeping power, control, focus, and landing so lightly that no one can even hear a sound besides your rope swooshing past you. Now you are ready to begin your work.
If you thought that the primary goal of jumping was to get in that cardio, then you would be mistaken. Boxers should be running a few miles 5-6 days a week on their own to build that up. Yes, that's an added benefit. Building your forearms, lats, traps and fast twitch muscles in your calves are also added benefits. But the primary reason we choose to jump each day is footwork, timing, and rhythm. If you are wanting to improve these other things though, they've got ropes for those.
I would definitely not suggest replacing your normal jump rope time with any of these "fancy" or specialty alternatives, but if you're a coach on here looking for new ideas or wondering about some of the new equipment that's popped up, these ropes are pretty awesome. The reason that I wouldn't suggest cutting any regular jump rope time is that if you think about your primary goal with jumping, how are you going to achieve that when your rope is moving slower? Or when you're focused on just having the strength to keep it moving? These are great options to add on, but the "extras" are worthless if you can't get the angle or distance or speed to keep control and land the first punch each time. Basics are everything in boxing. Never compromise your basics just to add "extras". Add extras--in addition to your perfected basics.
Specialty Ropes and Recommendations
The following are my recommendations for your basic speed rope that every boxer--serious or beginner--should own:
WODSKAI Speed Jump Rope-360° Swivel Ball Bearing
Sonic Boom M2 High Speed Jump Rope -Self-Locking, Screw
EliteSRS ELITE SURGE 2.0 Jump Rope - Upgraded Speed Handles
This is a rope-less jump rope. Yes. For real. Would I recommend this as your one and only personal purchase of a jump rope? Absolutely not. Timing and rhythm are two out of the three extremely important aspects of why a boxer jumps at all. However, as someone who often finds themselves telling people to put the rope down and move their hands while jumping so that they can at least get going enough to get anything out of it when first starting, I completely stand behind recommending a few of these purchased for the gym's use with very, very, very beginners.
TURATA Weighted Ropeless Jump Rope Fitness Speed Rope Cordless Skipping Rope
This is your basic speed rope except that it has a counter. If you're really working on improving speed, then this is a great rope for counting your reps per minute. The reason these were actually invented was because a lot of people count their jumps, and attempt to base workouts on getting a certain number and then stopping. For a boxer who spends countless hours on their rope, we don't just jump 30 times and stop for the day. However, this can be used to improve speed, as mentioned, as well as getting a better idea of accuracy before you mess up a new footwork move. The handles are heavier than a normal speed rope, and you'll notice that the ball and bearing mechanisms aren't present. It's a cool tool for coaches or if you have one in the gym, but if this is your main jump rope you'll be sacrificing potential progress for the sake of knowing numbers.
JOYORUN Jump Rope with Counter
This is one of the many examples of weighted handles. We have actually had these types of weighted jump ropes around for about as long as speed ropes, if not longer. When someone is talking to you (or you're reading about) a workout involving a weighted jump rope, it is important to know if they are talking about a weighted rope (as pictured below) or weighted handles. These weighted handles are used to improve pretty much your full upper body strength, including both your front and back sides. For example, your triceps as well as your biceps, your lats as well as your chest, and definitely your forearms and shoulders.
Rapid Reflex Premium Speed Rope Jump Rope With Extra Weight Steel Pieces
To the right, you see a few of the many options in weighted ropes. These are different than the speed ropes pictured above which have weighted handles in that the actual ropes themselves are weights. This means that you will not just have to hold the weight up, but you will be using a lot of core strength to keep the total amount of weight swinging as you jump.
The last example shown is made to be a shortened version of battle ropes. This would be the most difficult to use. Although it will take strength, it will also be the most difficult as far as coordination. For this reason, the Crossrope set and Heavy Power Jump Rope would be my stronger recommendation. As you can see in the middle picture, these have the same ball sockets and similar bearings as the speed ropes. You will be able to keep it going more easily, therefore creating a more challenging and continuous workout. These can be purchased as a set of various weights, or as individual ropes.
Crossrope Premium Set - Includes 4 Weighted Jump Ropes - 2 Adjustable Ropes - Bolt Handles - Rugged Handles - Exercise Guide - Training Bag
2 lb Blue Heavy Power Jump Rope
Rope Fit Heavy Jump Rope