Jumping rope can improve your heart health, boost your aerobic capacity, and challenge your muscles. And if you keep getting tripped up by the rope, it can also test your patience.
Whether you’re jumping rope for a warm-up or for a full workout, if the jump rope is too long or too short, you may get discouraged quickly. So how long should a jump rope be? Here’s how to find the right length and choose the best jump rope for your workout.
How to Measure a Jump Rope
To find out if a jump rope is a right length for you, step on the center of the rope and pull it taut. The ends of the rope should reach your armpits (not counting the handles).
Zero in on the perfect length by testing out the jump rope to see how it performs. “If your cable keeps hitting your feet, it’s too short,” says Erin Oprea, NESTA- and AFAA-certified trainer based in Nashville who’s worked with country stars like Carrie Underwood and Maren Morris. And if the rope drags along the ground and slows the momentum, it’s probably too long.
If you’re ordering a jump rope online, there’s an easy way to estimate how long your jump rope needs to be: “By adding three feet to your height, you can get a rope that is about the right length,” says Oprea.
Types of Jump Ropes
Start shopping for jump ropes and you’ll realize the options seem to be endless. Jump ropes can be made from a variety of materials — and each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few factors to consider:
- Terrain. A “rope” made from plastic-wrapped string won’t last long if you like to jump outside on unforgiving surfaces like pavement. A steel cable wrapped in vinyl, on the other hand, is more likely to withstand rough terrain.
- Rope thickness. In general, a thinner cable is better for speed, while a thicker cable will be more durable.
- Weight. According to RX Smart Gear — which provides jump ropes for USA Boxing — a moderately weighted cable is better for beginners, while advanced jumpers may prefer a lightweight cable to bump up their speed or a heavier cable to increase resistance.
When it comes to jumping ropes, you get what you pay for: “A jump rope that is the wrong material or length will make the exercise more difficult,” Oprea says. “Make sure it’s the right length, it moves at a speed that will work for you, the grips are comfortable, and the cable will not tangle on the grips.”
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by options, here are four great jump ropes to consider.