Five Reasons to Go Back to Basics With the Jump Rope | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Five Reasons to Go Back to Basics With the Jump Rope

April 28, 2011

Must See Conditioning Videos

A staple of elementary school gym classes, the Jump Rope is one of the first exercises athletes perform. It takes you back to the basics, enhancing cardio capacity, coordination, speed, core stability and lower leg strength. Despite its humble origins, many professional athletes and champions use the Jump Role to push themselves to supreme levels of athleticism.

Derive the following benefits from the Jump Rope by incorporating it into your future workouts.

1. Convenience
A Jump Rope is small and lightweight, making it extremely portable and efficient—easy to stuff in your gym bag as you head out for a team workout. A Jump Rope also fits well with any exercise regimen. Whether you’re challenging strength, stability, power—or all of the above—jumping rope is an ideal  exercise to perform between sets to keep your heart rate up and calories burning.

2. Coordination
Athletes with trophies on their mantels and D-I scholarships don't generally trip over their own feet. Why? Because most elite athletes integrate the Jump Rope into their routines. Here's where it gets fun: hop on one foot, change feet every three hops, jump high enough for two revolutions under your feet in one jump. Whatever you do, changing your rhythm and style of jumping will improve your coordination. You’ll be the one faking out opponents and making them trip over themselves.

3. Speed
How you use the Jump Rope will determine what you gain from it. If you lethargically hop your way through a routine, you probably won’t benefit much. But if you push yourself, continuously upping the speed as you progress through a session, you’ll notice improvements in all facets of your speed—quickness, agility and reaction time.

Breaking down what happens with the Jump Rope, as soon as your feet contact the ground, you immediately jump back into the air to avoid tripping on the rope. The repetition develops speed by training your body to react explosively every time you touch down. Speedy point guards and running backs don’t hit the ground with cement block feet. They’re constantly moving until the end of the play, just like in a Jump Rope workout.

4. Strength
Most sports involve lots of pounding on the feet and ankles. Weak ankles don’t last long, regardless of the playing surface. Jumping rope simulates the constant pounding of competition, strengthening both the feet and ankles. To increase the challenge, try jumping rope barefooted, but make sure to start off on grass or a rubberized surface. Doing your first shoeless Jump Rope workout on the hardwood is like performing your first Bench Press without a spotter. Be smart so you can surpass your opponents’ level of strength without risking injury.

5. Stability
Avoiding a sprained ankle in a game is like avoiding illness in a hospital. You’re at risk as soon as you arrive. That’s why athletes must challenge their ankle stability in a safe and controlled environment. Jumping rope accomplishes exactly that. Once you're comfortable jumping with two feet, try one foot at a time to train your ankles to absorb the stress of your entire body on each side. Think about the times you’ve landed awkwardly in a game. Single-Leg Jump Rope will help prepare you to land securely and avoid icing your ankle on the sidelines.

The Jump Rope is part of most successful athletes' training regimens. Case in point: the University of Illinois wrestling team [learn more about their workout here]. Jim Zielinski, head strength and conditioning coach, has his athletes skip rope for five minutes—switching between Double- and Single-Leg Hops—before their weight lifting sessions. "It’s a great way to get your heart rate up and muscles warm before a lift,” he says. During the off-season, Illini grapplers perform the following Jump Rope routine immediately before workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Zielinski on the Routine: “With any jump rope routine we do, we emphasize spending as little time on the ground as possible between jumps. Stay up on the balls of your feet the whole time, and when you are doing any lateral movement, keep most of your weight on the instep and big toe without letting your ankle roll. When you jump from one square to another, don’t think about how much distance you cover, think about jumping as quickly as you can. This whole routine shouldn’t take more than 12 minutes. It takes longer at first, but as you progress, you will get through it quicker and quicker.”

Going back to the basics with this versatile exercise will improve all levels of fitness. Integrate Jump Rope into your workout, so you, too, can float like a butterfly and sting like a bee!

Joe Baur
- Joe Baur is a certified personal trainer with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Miami University [Oxford, OH]. He became certified with the National...
Joe Baur
- Joe Baur is a certified personal trainer with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Miami University [Oxford, OH]. He became certified with the National...
Must See
RGIII Talks About His Legacy
Views: 20,487,079
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,544,677
Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,305,185

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 297,020
Add Core Power for Basketball With Damian Lillard's Med Ball Throws Views: 4,255,927
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 28,363
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

How Sporting Kansas City Stays 'Sporting Fit'

Advanced High School Football Summer Conditioning Program

LaTroy Hawkins' Epic Battle Ropes Workout

STACK Challenge: 5 Minutes of Treadmill Torture

Training Secrets of UFC Champion Johny Hendricks

In Defense of Cardio

Understanding the Benefits and Risks of Altitude Training

In-Season Baseball Pitcher Workout Program

Alternatives to Boring Cardio Training

Who Invented the Burpee?

STACK Challenge: 500-Meter Row

High-Intensity Interval Training: How Much Is Too Much?

Get in Shape With This Basketball Conditioning Workout

5 NBA Players Who Found Their Game After Losing Weight

How Much Conditioning Do You Really Need?

Can You Handle the Husker Toughness Test?

Training with the Elevation Training Mask 2.0

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Fartlek Run

Get in Basketball Shape With the Right Workout

Get in Shape With 5 Intense Lower-Body Finishers

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Hill

STACK Challenge: The 10/10 Treadmill Challenge

Can You Pass Drew Brees' Conditioning Test?

Test Your Toughness With the Who Dat? Challenge

Off-Season Conditioning: Full-Body Med Ball Workout

Can You Survive the

Full-Body Conditioning Workout: 3 Loaded Carry Variations

How to Avoid Hockey Conditioning That Slows You Down

A Slo-Mo Must-See: Ike Taylor's 4-Man Battle Rope Squats

The Mount Everest Treadmill Challenge

STACK Challenge: Finish Strong

Get in Game Shape With 4 Conditioning Combos

Can You Survive These 4 Crazy Plate Push Finishers?

4 HIIT Workouts That Will Get You in Shape Fast

Improve Your Aerobic Fitness in the Off-Season

4 Simple Drills to Improve Your Endurance

Baseball Conditioning: Why You Need an Aerobic Base

5 Brutal Sprint Drills That Push the Lactic Threshold

LeBron James's Insane Conditioning Drill

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Interval Sprints

Win the Fourth Quarter With These Basketball Sled Push Finishers

7 Footwork Drills That Give You an Advantage