When you grab a jump rope for the first time as an adult, the silly rhymes you used to recite while skipping with your friends can come flooding back to you. But as much as you might enjoy the trip down memory lane, save the nostalgia for after your workout. Whether you use a standard jump rope or a jump rope with weighted handles, you'll be working so hard that you won't have a chance to sing.
Standard Jump Ropes
Standard jump ropes come in a number of styles and lengths. Some jump ropes have wooden handles and woven ropes made of actual rope, while many others have handles and rope made entirely of plastic or rubber. Beaded ropes typically feature plastic handles and hollow, bead-like chunks of plastic along the length of the rope that create a clicking sound when the rope hits the ground as you jump. Standard jump ropes are lightweight and people often call them speed ropes for their ability to provide a lightning-quick pace.
Weighted-Handle Jump Ropes
As their name indicates, weighted-handle jump ropes have heavier handles than standard jump ropes. Though their designs vary, sand in the hollow handles provides the added weight. You can buy such jump ropes in a variety of weights, but 1 to 3 pounds per handle is common. With this type of rope, you can't sustain the same pace as you can with a standard rope, but the muscle-building benefit to your upper body is greater.
Jumping rope is a lively way to warm-up before several types of exercise and it is an effective exercise in its own right. Harvard Medical School notes a 155-pound person will burn approximately 372 calories while jumping rope for 30 minutes, which puts the workout on par with some forms of swimming and running. A standard jump rope is ideal for beginners, because you can turn it at your pace and learn the exercise's fundamentals. If you envision jumping rope in only short bursts, consider the weighted handle rope, which provides a more challenging workout.
Choosing Your Rope
Regardless of the style of rope you choose, ensure it's long enough to allow you to jump with ease. Ten-foot ropes are acceptable for most people, but if you're significantly shorter than 6 feet tall, a 9-foot rope is probably more suitable. If you find your rope is too long, untie the rope inside each handle and retie the knot to make it shorter. In the event you can't find a weighted handle jump rope, place a 1-pound wrist weight around each wrist to get a similar workout.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.