How to Criss Cross Jump Rope

Mar 27, 2024Devin Meek

Thought jump rope was hard enough? You’d be surprised. For those looking to supercharge their activities, crisscrossing is a full-on, hard-pounding twist to traditional jump roping. 

The move involves crossing your arms in front of you while the rope is in the air and then uncrossing them before the rope comes back down - allowing you to jump through the loop. It's not an easy move to pull off without plenty of practice, but it does add a fun, dynamic element to your workout while also ramping the intensity up to 11. 

What is Criss Cross Jump Rope?

If you want to take your jump rope to the next level, adding some crisis crossing will test your abilities to their limits. Watching somebody cross their arms in front of their body as the rope passes overhead and uncross them as it passes under their feet at full speed is a mesmerizing sight, but getting used to it takes some time. 

Jump roping is already a widely popular addition to many workouts. It's excellent for strengthening muscles and bones and aids with balance, but it also torches through calories like a few other workouts. A 200-pound individual can burn 362 calories from just 20 minutes of quick rope jumping. It's fantastic for weight loss and high-intensity interval training. 

The criss cross ramps things up even further, testing coordination and agility and significantly enhancing cardiovascular fitness. It’s a popular choice among athletes and fitness enthusiasts looking for a comprehensive workout. 

As such, criss cross was recently introduced into CrossFit Games due to the skill required to pull off the movement successfully. CrossFit’s adoption of criss crossing is evidence enough of its difficulty and impact on an athlete's physique and form.

There's also an enjoyment factor often overlooked; yes, jump roping can be frustrating in the early stages, but when you’re flying through workouts and crisis crossing without even thinking, you'll love it. 

Steps to Mastering Criss Cross Rope Jumping

Becoming a criss cross jump rope pro requires plenty of patience, practice, and attention to technique. Here are some tips to help you perfect this challenging yet hugely rewarding exercise.

Starting the Right Way

Let's get the fundamentals right first. If you haven't mastered jump roping yet, trying to dive straight in with the criss cross is pointless. Take your time and get the basics down before moving on to the more complex techniques. 

Once you're there, start with a basic jump rope rhythm to warm up and establish your timing. Gradually introduce the arm-cross motion, focusing on timing the cross so that your arms have crossed by the time the rope reaches your feet. Practice the arm cross without jumping to get used to the motion. If need be, do this for a few sessions until it becomes second nature. 

Ensuring Your Arms Are Positioned Correctly

If your arms are in the wrong place, you're setting yourself up to fail. You need to create plenty of space to jump through, so your arms should cross at the forearms, not the hands. 

Also, keep your movements tight and close to your body, as this will help maintain control over the rope. If your arms start traveling outwards, it's only a matter of time before the rope becomes tangled in one of your feet.

How to Swing the Rope and Jump Through

Coordination between your arms and feet is crucial; this is one area where many fall down - sometimes quite literally. As you swing the rope overhead, prepare to cross your arms in front of you. Jump slightly higher than during regular jump rope actions to give yourself enough time to complete the cross and uncross motion before the rope comes back around.

Using Your Wrists

Another error that often impedes those new to jump roping is trying to control the motion of the rope with their arms rather than their wrists. If you watch a jumper in full flow, you'll notice the rope movement comes almost entirely from the circular motion of the wrists, and the arms are moving very little. 

This ensures a smoother rope movement and reduces the likelihood of tangling. Keep your wrist movements fluid and use them to guide the rope in the criss cross pattern. If you use your arms more than your wrists, you'll quickly start to feel a burn around your shoulders and biceps. 

The Best Exercises for Criss Cross Rope Jumping

Rope jumping - criss crossing in particular - is great for various workouts. Many specific exercises also complement rope jumping, improving the skills necessary for more complex moves.

Training for Better Coordination

Drills that enhance coordination, like agility ladder drills or mirror drills (where you mimic the movements of a partner or your reflection), can improve your ability to synchronize your arm and leg movements, a key skill for criss cross jump rope.

Jump Squats

Integrating jump squats into your workout can increase your leg strength and explosiveness, enabling you to jump higher. Adding this additional height is crucial for giving you more time to execute the arm cross and uncross movements mid-air.

Tuck Jumps

Tuck jumps help improve your vertical jump and core strength, both essential for the criss cross. Pulling your knees up towards your chest mid-jump simulates the higher leap needed for the criss cross while enhancing your ability to control your body in the air.

Weighted Rope Jumps

Practicing with a weighted rope can build the arm and wrist strength needed for the criss cross. The added weight increases the resistance you need to control, mimicking the effort required to maintain the rope's momentum during the cross and uncross motions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Criss Cross Jump Rope Hard?

In a single word - yes - but the rewards are substantial. Criss cross jump rope is considered more challenging than basic jump roping due to the coordination, timing, and precision required. However, with consistent practice and focus on technique, it becomes a more manageable and enjoyable part of a workout routine.

What Is the Best Jump Rope for Criss Cross?

While pulling off a criss cross movement with any jump rope is possible, having something lightweight, ergonomically designed, and with comfortably gripping handles will make things significantly easier. An adjustable rope length is also essential to ensure you can tailor it to your height for optimal performance.

Need a Premium Quality Jump Rope? Buy From Elite Jumps Today!

When the various aspects you've worked on individually come together, criss crossing at high speed is a beautiful feeling. Not only are you torching calories, boosting cardiovascular health, building stronger bones and muscles, and developing better coordination, but you're also having a blast while doing it. 

Having the right equipment is critical to getting the most out of criss crossing. Elite Jumps offers a range of high-quality freestyle jump ropes designed for performance and durability. Whether you're a beginner eager to mimic what you see down the gym or an experienced jumper looking to optimize your routine, Elite Jumps has the perfect rope for you. 

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.


There are no comments for this article. Be the first one to leave a message!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Subscribe & Save