The Secret to Sizing Your Jump Rope
Dec 19, 2023Devin Meek
One of the most common questions we get at Elite Jumps is "how long should my jump rope be?” This is an important one for you to get right because it will have a big impact on your success and enjoyment using the rope.
We love helping size ropes and actually encourage our customers to watch our sizing and setup videos for specific instructions depending on their jump rope.
In this article, we will show you how to size your rope properly, debunk some common (incomplete) sizing methods, provide basic tips on form, and recommend rope lengths based on the type of jumping you’ll be doing.
In this article we'll cover:
Before we get started, when you’re ordering a jump rope online, you’ll have to estimate the correct length at first. When in doubt, go with a slightly longer, rather than shorter rope. When it arrives, you may need to adjust it just a bit to make it the perfect length. Don’t worry - adjusting any of our ropes is easy!
The most common technique is to size your jump rope based on your height. You’ve probably seen a table like the one below that gives you a corresponding jump rope length based on your height.
While a chart like this can provide a good place to start, it is too general to guarantee a perfect fit. This method does not account for the variance in the length of people’s torsos, arms and legs and will ultimately leave you with a less than optimum length.
Another common method you will see in lots of YouTube videos is to put a foot in the middle of the rope and re-size so the handles come up to your armpits. Again, this is a general place to start, and is slightly better than the chart method, but isn't going to account for things like length of your arms, handle length, or your length from your waist to the top of your head.
We recommend only using a chart and/or the armpit method to get a general idea for length when using one you find at the gym. These methods will get you close, but they won't be optimized to your unique physique. Instead, for a perfect length, we recommend buying a long rope (10ft for most people, 11ft if you're over 6'3" tall) and sizing down using the following strategy:
For any jump rope size recommendation to work, and to prevent injury, it is important to have good jumping form. Start with your hand placement. Make sure your arms are relaxed and your hands are near your hip bones. They should not be held out wide, away from your hips.
When you feel the need to hold your hands out wide, you’re compensating for a jump rope that is too long for you. By holding your hands out too wide, it shortens the rope but causes the turning to be much less efficient.
Once you’ve got your hands in the right position, you’re ready to perfectly size your jump rope.
The secret is to measure the clearance of the rope as it travels over your head while jumping. This method will help size the rope specific to you and your body type as you jump.
Grab a partner, friend or family member, and have them watch you jump. If you don’t have anyone to watch you can jump in front of a mirror or film yourself. Watch how far the rope travels above your head and size it down based on the style of jumping you’ll be doing.
Depending on the type of jumping you’ll be doing, you’ll want to measure a different height above your head.
The goal with speed jumping is efficiency, which means you want the jump rope to travel the shortest distance possible with minimal effort. If your jump rope is too long, it will feel sloppy and take too much effort to turn. A shorter distance means a smaller gap between your head and the rope. You’ll want to aim for 4” to 8” to maximize your jump rope speed.
If you’re just getting started with a jump rope or simply want to burn a few calories, efficiency is no longer the goal, but rather consistency. While you’re still learning to jump, you may need a bit more length in the rope. This extra length will allow you the space to make minor technique errors without causing misses. We recommend a height of 10” to 18” over your head.
Jump rope tricks require a high level of control over the rope and the handles. Freestyle jump rope allows for the variance in recommended height because of the different paths the rope takes for tricks. Whatever length you’re most comfortable with is best. Typically, we recommend the rope be between 6” to 14” over your head. However, it is common to see ropes only a few inches over the heads of competitive freestyle jumpers.
To determine your ideal jump rope size, start with a longer rope (10ft for most people, 11ft if you're over 6'3" tall) and adjust based on the clearance above your head while jumping. Allow 4" to 8" for speed jumping, 10" to 18" for general fitness, and 6" to 14" for freestyle jumping.
About the Author
Devin Meek is the Director of Education for Elite Jumps. He's been a jump rope entertainer for over eighteen years and is a three-time world champion competitive jumper. Devin travels the country sharing his passion for the sport, giving jump rope workshops to schools, CrossFit gyms, and corporate wellness programs.
We're all about equipping and encouraging people to take on big challenges, because we know the process of doing hard things helps us grow in character and capacity.