"Skipping rope" has been a part of the boxer's regimen for decades. It's great for developing endurance, foot speed and coordination. It lost its "trendiness" in training circles with the preponderance of the bodybuilding mindset and the increased use of stationary bikes, elliptical machines and treadmills. However, jumping rope remains a simple but extremely effective way to develop power.
Let the jump rope make a comeback in your training. Here's how to incorporate it in everything from your warm-up, to rehab and even power training. (See also Five Reasons to Go Back to Basics With the Jump Rope.)
Jumping rope is a nice low-impact warm-up for the cardiovascular system and for increasing blood flow to the muscles of the lower body.
For the Shoulder: It can also be used as an indirect method to warm up the rotator cuffs isometrically.
This is both simple and brilliant. Using this method, an athlete with a repaired shoulder who is progressing to more active movement can progress in cardiovascular training and shoulder strength.
Another method of using a jump rope for stabilizing the shoulder can be done without jumping. This is a way to dynamically work the scapular stabilizers prior to a workout.
In recent years, CrossFit has probably done more for the jump rope than any other training regimen. Single unders and double-unders in high volumes are incorporated into several of their Workouts of the Day. Anyone from novice to elite can use the rope as an adjunct during interval training to burn calories and get in shape. Simply alternate bouts of jump roping with Pull-Ups, Push-Ups, Bodyweight Squats and Lunges to get a simple, quick and effective workout.
The jump rope is a great tool for mid- to late-range rehab therapy of an ACL reconstruction, ankle injury, or plantar fascia injury. It's a light plyometric exercise, performed in a controlled environment, and it will retrain your footwork and coordination. For foot and ankle problems, once the joint is strong enough, I advocate performing the jumps without shoes to work the intrinsic muscles of the foot and further stabilize the area.
The exercise is plyometric. The stretch shortening cycle is in full effect with each swing of the rope. You can make it more dynamic by performing double unders (two swings of the rope in a single jump), alternating legs, jumping on one leg only, or performing the jumps while moving forward or up a hill.
This is a simple but extremely effective way to develop power. Complex training is simply performing a maximum effort multi-joint lift—such as one- to three rep Bench Presses, Squats or Deadlifts—followed immediately by a plyometric exercise. The plyometric exercise can be Broad Jumps, Vertical Jumps, or Medicine Ball Slams, but the jump rope is a great option to use for this type of training.