Why is Jump Rope Used in CrossFit?
Feb 06, 2024Devin Meek
CrossFit is a fitness program that looks beyond the gym to lifestyle and nutrition alterations but also involves working out hard. As part of these intense, functional workouts, jump ropes are crucial to pushing the ten core principles of CrossFit.
If you’re new to CrossFit, you might think of skipping as a children’s game played in playgrounds or parks. Still, jump ropes are incredibly effective at increasing your fitness and are essential to CrossFit programs for that exact reason.
Discover why CrossFit programs use a jump rope and where to get your next one!
It’s crucial to have good cardiovascular endurance. But what is cardiovascular endurance? Ultimately, cardio is any physical exercise that uses the aerobic metabolism process.
In simple terms, when you perform cardio, your body gets energy from the fats, carbohydrates, and amino acids that get burned. You’ll hear doctors and regular gym-goers explain why cardio is so important, and they aren’t wrong. Steady cardio helps your sleep, mood, metabolic rate (the rate you burn calories), and weight loss (if that’s your goal).
Cardiovascular endurance is how well your body delivers oxygen to your heart and muscles while working hard. That’s where finding the right jump rope for CrossFit comes into play! Using a jump rope is no easy feat, and the more you use it effectively, the more you push yourself, the more chance you’ll increase your cardio efficiency.
Some people will confuse cardiovascular endurance and stamina, which is understandable: endurance and stamina are similar concepts. Unlike cardiovascular endurance, stamina is the body’s ability to process and utilize energy; in other words, it’s your body’s ability to keep going with physical exercise, which takes time to develop.
For example, if you are a runner and you usually run 30 minutes and then one day you run for 40 minutes, your body has increased its stamina; it can perform the same activity for a longer duration. But if you’re looking for a different cardio activity, using jump ropes will increase your stamina but be less demanding on your body overall.
Strength is another core component of a CrossFit program, namely – increasing it. Using a jump rope to improve your strength is effective because it will work and strengthen muscles all over your body.
In particular, a jump rope workout will target your calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, upper extremity muscles and core muscles, such as abs. While using a jump rope as part of your workout might seem like hard work, you can say goodbye to dedicating different days to different body parts with this full-body workout.
Flexibility isn’t just doing the splits, although that is impressive if you’re that limber. Flexibility is a core principle of CrossFit because greater strength and overall physical performance come with great flexibility.
If you have a fairly sedentary lifestyle, such as remotely working from a home office or studying at desks for long periods of time, your flexibility will suffer. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure you move regularly and stretch your muscles.
When assessing whether a jump rope-based physical activity should be introduced in an afterschool program, researchers found that jump rope skipping increases flexibility, especially freestyle jump rope skipping. Thus, incorporating jump ropes into your workouts can lead to better flexibility over time.
Power might seem a more ambiguous component of CrossFit, but the reality is that the more a muscle can apply a maximum force in a minimum time, the more power it has. Few exercises allow you to do this, but jump ropes are a great way to increase the power of your muscles.
Each time you use the jump rope and skip, you perform consecutive jumps or bounds, working the legs, which increases strength and tone.
Increasing your speed can burn more calories. While many factors determine how and why calories are burnt, you will inevitably burn more calories running 5k than walking 5k.
But running isn’t for everyone, so using a jump rope can help you practice being light on your feet. With more practice, your speed will increase, as will your stamina. And it might be that you aren’t looking to burn calories with your speed; many sports require speed, such as boxing, to ensure optimal performance.
Not all CrossFit principles are centered solely on physical performance; the program recognizes that mental training is equally as important. As Dr. Samuele Marcora notes, the brain is an incredibly powerful tool and can influence an athlete’s performance purely based on their perception of their effort. That’s why training your brain is crucial; if you have good coordination, you can control and adjust your movements in real-time to meet your performance goals.
Studies have shown that introducing jump rope training into other sports practices, such as soccer, increases coordination. Coordination feeds into other areas, such as balance; when using a jump rope, you must use your arms, legs, and torso while your whole body moves. As a result, you also have to maintain your balance. So when performing skipping techniques, like double unders, you train your coordination and your body simultaneously.
Speed and coordination are essential factors in agility. You're unlikely to be agile if you are slow and uncoordinated. So how do you become more agile?
The more agile you are, the quicker you can move from one movement pattern to another, including acceleration and deceleration. While this applies to sports like boxing, it also applies to other sports, such as dancing. Agility is crucial should you need to react to your opponent or changes in the game; having good agility can thus affect an athlete’s overall performance.
Being light on your feet and agile is crucial for athletes because it improves stability, coordination (just as coordination helps agility), and recovery time, to name a few.
Using a jump rope will force you to be agile because skipping requires precise timing and coordination between your feet and hands. If you also aim to try different techniques, your agility will increase because your brain will have to learn various movement patterns. If you chop and change these, your agility will increase.
You don’t have to be a gymnast on a beam or a yogi performing a tree pose to know that balance is essential. While balance is more vital to some sports than others, balance is your ability to control the placement of your center of gravity.
Whether running, dancing, or throwing a javelin, you need good balance to ensure your body performs as it should. After all, a wobble could mean the difference between winning and losing. Outside of sport, balance is crucial to avoid bumps, bruises, or, as we get older, falls and serious injuries.
Using a jump rope forces you to ensure good balance because you’re solely using the balls of your feet to jump, meaning your support base (your feet) isn't completely stable, especially when skipping quickly.
Imagine playing tennis with all the power and agility in the world but constantly missing the ball each time you swing your racket. Pointless, right? Accuracy is crucial in and out of the sporting world, and another surprising benefit of using a jump rope is improved accuracy.
Using a jump rope in training will help polish skills such as conditioning, timing, hand-eye-foot coordination, and mental focus, which all help increase accuracy. The more accuracy you have, the less likely you are to make silly mistakes.
The ten core components of CrossFit all bleed into each other; when you improve one element, different skills will undoubtedly increase, too. The jump rope is a great CrossFit companion because it targets all ten core principles. So, if you want to incorporate this crucial tool into your CrossFit workouts, discover the perfect ropes for beginners.
Maybe you’ve already honed your skills, and you’re looking for a challenge. Discover Elite Jumps’ Bullet COMP rope for a speedy jump rope that will push your skills to the max!
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.