Want to try jumping rope but confused about the types of jump ropes? Jumping rope is an amazingly healthy activity, and selecting the best rope for your purposes is important. The best jump rope for you is the one that will allow you to achieve your exercise goals, while having fun.
Most people start jumping to get a good, low-impact aerobic workout. But, with the right type of jump rope, you can also improve your endurance, quickness, balance and agility. Rope jumping is truly one of the all-time great total-body workouts!
The best and most easy-to-use jump ropes have swivel ball bearings connecting the rope to the handles, allowing you to rotate the rope super fast and get an incredible workout. That said, let's take a closer look at the different types of jump ropes available.
A cloth jump rope is the simplest and most inexpensive type of jump rope, usually costing no more than a dollar or two. Cloth jump ropes are made of either cotton or nylon cords, which are then braided (they're also called braided jump ropes). Some come with no handles, just knots on the ends, while others come with handles, either plastic or wooden.
I grew up using a cloth jump rope - it's fine for beginners, but as your skills progress you will quickly outgrow it. A cloth jump rope turns slowly and creates a lot of drag. No matter how quickly you turn your wrists, the rope just can't rotate any faster.
As you start to learn jump rope skills, you'll need a rope that can turn faster. Bottom line: If you are brand new to jumping rope, a cloth jump rope will be okay - but, you WILL outgrow it quickly.
A beaded jump rope consists of plastic beads strung onto a thin piece of nylon cord, with plastic handles. The beads are usually different colors, which creates an interesting effect as you swing the rope.
Like cloth ropes, beaded jump ropes are very inexpensive. These ropes are fun for a while, but I don't like them for serious exercising. They can be awkward to use, and, like cloth ropes, they don't turn very fast. You'll get a better workout with a higher-quality rope.
A weighted jump rope uses weighted handles. The rope itself can be any material, usually leather or PVC. The idea behind this is that the extra weight will give you an added workout for your upper body.
I find this type of jump rope to be uncomfortable, and feel it defeats the main purpose of this sport, which is to get a good cardio workout and improve speed and agility. Believe me, you'll still get plenty of upper body work using a better-quality, non-weighted rope.
A good-quality leather jump rope is a great choice for serious workouts. These ropes use a strip of leather cording with either plastic or wooden handles.
A leather jump rope turns much more quickly than either cloth, beaded or weighted types, and allows for a really good workout. These are the classic boxing jump ropes that have been used by professional boxers for years.
This type of jump rope uses a thick piece of PVC cord and has simple plastic handles. It's a relatively inexpensive type of jump rope, yet it turns fast enough that you can definitely get a good cardio workout and improve your quickness and agility as well.
If you're new to this sport, a licorice PVC jump rope is a good, inexpensive choice. I recommend this type over cloth or beaded jump ropes for beginners.
A speed rope consists of a very thin piece of PVC with durable handles. Speed ropes are designed, like leather jump ropes, to rotate very quickly. The fastest speed ropes have ball bearing swivels connecting the handles to the rope. These are an excellent choice for serious training.
The absolute best ball bearing swivel handle speed rope is the Buddy Lee Jump Rope. Designed by Buddy Lee, a world-class rope jumper and all-around amazing athlete, this rope is as fast as lightning and great fun to use! Watching the videos of Buddy Lee using his rope, and seeing all the amazing things he can do, is incredibly inspiring. Check out one of his demonstrations below.
(Click the symbol on the lower right corner of the video box to view in fullscreen)
I have used all the ropes mentioned above and this is the one I keep coming back to - the Buddy Lee Jump rope. Once you've used it, it's virtually impossible to use and enjoy any of the other types of jump ropes.
No matter how quickly you turn your wrists, this rope will keep up. The Buddy Lee jump rope is excellent for doing more advanced tricks like double (or triple) unders and a variety of crosses. This piece of equipment enables you to take your workout to a whole new level!
Jumping rope is an incredibly healthy type of exercise - it's low-impact aerobic, and it improves endurance, speed, agility and balance. It can be done by anyone, at any age - it just takes some practice. It's also a really great exercise for osteoporosis!
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