The humble skipping rope is probably the best fitness device you are not using currently. The skipping rope is ultra portable, has a very low learning curve and is very safe for your joints as well. In addition, skipping will build up your leg muscles while also improving your cardio vascular fitness and endurance. Best of all, skipping ropes are ridiculously cheap so the barrier to entry is very low. Lets talk about what you should be aware of before purchasing a skipping rope for working out.
Check the material of the skipping rope
Skipping ropes are available in a variety of materials and depending on your specific goal with skipping, you might want to choose a particular one. Commonly used materials used for skipping ropes are
Fabric Skipping Rope
Fabric skipping ropes are really old school and you might remember them from the 80s and 90s. Today, they are not found that easily. If you do find them, you will see that fabric skipping ropes are fairly cheap. However, they are not widely used for good reason. First is that they are not as fast as other materials so the number of jumps you can do every minute is restricted. Second, they are fairly heavy due to the material so you have to expend a good amount of effort to move the rope.
The advantage of fabric skipping ropes is that due to their low speed material, they are quite safe. A plastic skipping rope moving at high speed can sting if it hits your skin, not so with the fabric rope.
Leather Skipping Rope
Leather is another old school skipping rope material. Leather ropes were made famous by boxers who used them to get in shape before fights. Leather ropes can be incredibly fast and as a result can quickly improve your reflexes and coordination.
Because of their speed, leather skipping ropes can also be dangerous and can really sting if they hit you. Leather is also an organic material so it can get damaged or warped if stored incorrectly. These kind of ropes are best for those who will use them regularly and maintain them in a good condition.
Plastic Skipping Rope
Plastic skipping ropes are the most common ones available today. They are cheap and durable and depending on the handles, you can use them at different speeds. I would recommend anyone starting out with skipping to get a plastic rope first.
Steel Skipping Ropes
Steel skipping ropes are used by professional athletes whose main objective is speed. The steel cable adds weight to the rope and reduces air resistance which means that the rope will fly really quickly through the air. Steel ropes are therefore recommended for experienced users only. These ropes are also frequently used by athletes to perform double-unders. This when the you pass the rope under your feet twice in a single jump.
Fixed Length vs Variable Length
Skipping ropes are available in two main categories – fixed length vs variable length. Usually fixed length ropes are longer to account for different heights. Variable length ropes usually have a mechanism to make the rope longer or shorter.
When starting out, it is not a bad idea to get a fixed length rope. As you get more experienced, you can get a variable length rope and adjust it as you need. With more experience, you can get the rope shorter and do tigher skips.
Weighted vs Unweighted
The next decision to consider is whether you want your skipping rope to be weighted or unweighted. Weighted ropes usually have weights attached to the handles or the rope itself. Due to the resistance from the weights you will get more resistance and as a result all the muscles in your body will have to work harder to swing the rope. With a weighted rope, the variety and resistance of workout that you can get increases by a lot. A weighted skipping rope can also be expensive and requires good care of all the parts associated with it.
When starting out, it is a good idea to start off with an unweighted rope. As you progress further and are starting to look for harder workouts, you can get a weighted rope.
Skipping Rope Buying Guide – Conclusion
This was our quick guide to buying a skipping rope for working out. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.