Following three months of lockdown (read: three months of home workouts), it's no wonder we're turning our attentions to the best at-home fitness equipment. Top of our list? The humble skipping rope. Ropes can be the backbone of a solid workout, provide a cardio hit and are a super versatile tool – perfect for when your usual yoga or HIIT class is off the table.
"The first thing to consider when buying a skipping rope is what results you're after – if it's increased endurance, go for a speed rope. If you want to build strength, pick a weighted one," advises Tom Jenane, a nutrition and fitness expert for Natures Health Box, adding that weighted ropes tend to be the bigger calorie burner. "Then you need to consider your ability level, there are both beginner and advanced ropes."
"Cheap flimsy ropes are incredibly hard to improve your form on," notes Tom. "You should be able to feel exactly where the rope is around your body, so you know exactly when to jump too." Look at the weight of the rope and opt for one that's not overly light too (start with a 2lb rope). Next up: size. The taller you are, the longer the rope you'll need, otherwise it'll keep hitting your feet – a good rule of thumb is finding a rope 3 foot longer than your height.
Here, seven top personal trainers give their rope recommendations along with tips on how they like to use them. You'll be double-jumping in no time...
Domyos Weighted Skipping Rope, £7.99
"There are two main different types of skipping/jump ropes; weighted and speed," explains Jason Bone, Head of Strength at FLEX Chelsea. A speed rope tends to work towards improving one’s foot speed and endurance, he says, whereas a weighted rope will burn more calories and strengthen the upper body. "Both are fantastic for fitness, but I tend to lean towards the weighted rope, especially during the summer season!" He recommends this weighted option from Domyos, which comes in at under a tenner, and adds that skipping has less impact on your joints over other forms of cardio, such as running.
Gritin Skipping Rope, £13.99
"Skipping is a great calorie burner, 60 minutes can burn around 1,000 calories compared to 700 calories from jogging," says personal trainer and founder of Look Amazing Fitness, Antonia Kurdash. She recommends this rope from Gritin for its anti-slip foam handles and because the length can be easily adjusted to accommodate your height. "Plus, it's compact and lightweight which makes for easy transportation – no need to fold it after use, it's tangle-free, so just chuck it into your bag."
Twins Heavy Bearing Skipping Rope, £22.50
"With this rope you can chance the resistance, meaning it adapts with you as you progress with your training," says Sanjay Patel, founder and head trainer of The Tone Room, which offers results-driven personal training. "It also provides more upper body and shoulder development than a standard skipping rope does, as well as overall greater muscle engagement." He recommends mixing up how you skip, for example by skipping on one leg at a time, or skipping while raising alternate knees as high as possible.
FOMODY Skipping Rope, £3.49
"Make sure the skipping rope feels comfortable in your hands, especially the handles – I recently brought this FOMODY one which is great and less than a fiver," says Phil Coates, a personal trainer at PureGym Thorpe Park in Leeds. "Plastic ones are popular due to being lightweight, affordable and durable." Start with short bursts of skipping and build up your stamina over time, he advises. "Don't put pressure on yourself to be a pro skipper right away, age and body type plays a part and it can take time to get to grips with what works for you." A cheap rope can be great if you're just looking to get an initial feel for skipping and see if it's something you could get into.
Cross Rope Get Lean, £97.90
"Jumping rope has a plethora of benefits including improved coordination, bone density, cardiovascular health, mental sharpness and breathing efficiency," says Christa DiPaolo, Creator of Boxing & Bubbles, an online fitness community. She recommends a weighted rope, like this one from Cross Rope, which can be ordered custom to your height. "With the added resistance you'll double your calorie burn, increase muscle engagement and you'll learn faster, making it great for beginners." The feedback the weighted rope provides helps novice jumpers get a better feel and rhythm of their ropes, she adds.
Elite SRS Surge 3.0 Cable Speed Rope, £39.99
As recommended by personal trainer James Bolton, who praises it for being "nice and light, and doesn't ruin your hands". Try including skipping in a short circuit to warm up and get your heart rate up ahead of your workout, he advises. "Start with 30 seconds of skipping, followed by 10 burpees, then another half a minute skipping, 10 squat jumps, then 30 seconds of skipping and 10 more burpees." If you're a beginner, do three rounds of this, for those on the more advanced end of the scale, go for five.
Valour Strike Weighted Rope, £29.95
"This rope is best suited to an experienced person, not a beginner," says Tom Jenane, who adds that leather rope may take a while to adjust, but most people find they get used to it within the first session. "It's sturdy and offers a really good weight."
Multifun Skipping Rope with Digital Counter, £29.99
"I'm a huge fan of monitoring progression when working out. Unless we have tangible numbers, facts and figures it is easy to assume that we are not making much headway," says Mark Young, a qualified PT at Improb. "Hence why I love skipping ropes that include digital counters like this one." He advises taking on challenges such as ‘skipping to 100’ and including skipping into circuit training and HIIT.
Meglio Skipping Rope Extreme (Indoor Use), £11.99
"Super lightweight, good grips and adjustable length makes it a god-send for those of us on the slightly shorter side (I'm 5ft 5)," says Nikki Pettit, a trainer and fitness coach. "Skipping takes a lot of practice and determination, but once it's mastered it's such a great one to get the lungs burning and legs working."
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