Hopefully all of you read my earlier post about getting those double unders and are now so intrigued that you want to buy your own rope. Problem is, there are so many different ones out there, you don’t know which one is the right one for you! Well lucky for you, I’ve pretty much used or own every single one out there. I’m not going to go into an in-depth review on every single one; my goal is to go over the pro’s and con’s of a few briefly to help guide you to your decision. I’ll go from the most beginner friendly, to the most advanced. NOTE: Everyone is different. Just because I think it’s beginner or advanced, doesn’t mean it might be that way for you. I also think that if have the patience to learn on an “advanced” rope, the rewards will be greater.
- Boxer’s Jump Rope (http://Buyjumpropes.net) – I know a lot of people stress that novice’s should start with this and that this rope is fast enough for DU’s. I decided I’d try it out…This rope sucks. I don’t even know why I’m putting it in here. Maybe because I think you should just skip it altogether. PVC ropes just require too much effort to manipulate. You can almost feel the PVC cord stretching out while you do double-unders. Might be a good enough rope for singles to build footwork, but you’re gonna need something faster to string multiple DU’s. (I could hardly get 10.) Goes for about $10 bucks. Save your money.
- RX Jump Rope (http://rxsmartgear.com/) – Customization! RX Smart Gear offers a slew of different handle colors, rope colors, rope sizes and weights. The great thing here is that you can just buy a new cable depending on how proficient you get at DU’s. Start with either the “Buff” or “Elite” cables, and work your way to the “Hyper” cable when you get better (size up 1-2″ from how they say you should size the rope). Save the “Beast” cable for endurance building. This rope can be fast enough for novices to pro’s alike. Now for the downsides: Even at the fastest cable, it takes a bit more effort to manipulate the rope, meaning you’ll probably burn out faster. Also, for smaller handed athletes, the handles might be a bit much to hold. This can be problematic in WOD’s with grip intensive movements. Still, this rope is solid and will remain in my bag as a back-up. This rope runs for around $40 shipped, with cables at around $8 a piece. Not the cheapest, you’re paying for the customization.
- Ultra Speed Cable Jump Rope (http://www.buyjumpropes.net/) – This is where the learning curve starts getting steep. This kind of jump rope is sold in a bunch of different variations and under a ton of names. Not the speediest handles on the market, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Still, this rope is faster than you are, guaranteed. The handles rotate well enough so that you’re not expending too much energy turning them, but still provide enough feedback so that you know where the rope is. The cables vary depending on who you’re getting it from, but the cable that comes from Buyjumpropes.net is heavy enough so that you can feel where it’s going and so that keeps rope tension easily, but is light enough so that you won’t get too fatigued turning it. The best part? This thing is DIRT cheap at $8 bucks. You might as well start here since it’s about as much as lunch will cost you.
- JumpNRope R-1 (http://www.jumpnrope.com/) – Probably my favorite overall jump rope and the rope I really learned on. They might look like they have the same design as the Ultra Speed rope. Well, they do, but with a couple tricks. The cable passes through another free turning eyelet and the bearings here spin a lot better than the former. They offer a few different cables and two different handle lengths; I would stick to the blue steel cable and regular handles. The handles spin extremely fast, but something about how the bearings are set up makes it feel like its they’re a bit off axis. This is nice because all you really have to do is flick your wrists to get it rotating and also to keep the rope going while providing feedback for your wrists. Stay away from that black coated cable; it’s flimsy and binds in the air. On the other hand, the blue steel cable and bare cable cut the air without any kind of resistance and keep their form as you turn the rope. Downsides? The blue steel cable coating will eventually fray even if you’re just using it on rubber gym floor. The rope goes for about $30 shipped, but also comes with a spare 11′ cable and extra hardware! Best bang for your buck!
- Rogue SR-1/SR-1S (http://www.roguefitness.com/) – This is currently what I’m using, but with the blue steel cable from JumpNRope. The bearings spin INCREDIBLY well. Same kind of eyelet set-up as with the JumpNRope handles. The bearings here might be TOO smooth for some, but if you’re pretty decent with double unders, your wrists will be thankful in those longer DU’s strings. With the longer handles, whipping the rope around you is easy and effortless. I can’t say the same for the shorter handles, as I had a lot of trouble stringing any DU’s when I owned them (I also wasn’t as good at DU’s). They spin just as well as the longer handles, but the feedback isn’t the same since you can’t create the same “whip” motion. As I mentioned above, I’m using these handles with the JumpNRope blue cable. Why? The red cable that’s included is CRAP. It retains whatever shape it was in, it binds in the air, it feels flimsy despite it being the same diameter as most other cables making it difficult to keep up rope tension. Rogue is an AWESOME company and I hope they do something about this sometime. I might go back to try those short handles out because the Spealler rope looks freaking awesome. Goes for $22 for both sizes plus tax and shipping depending on where you are in the US.
- RPM Rope (http://rpmrope.com/) – The fastest. The smoothest. The sleekest. Man, these handles have awesome knurling. They feel great, they’re built solid, they just ooze pure quality. Why isn’t this my favorite rope though? Them being the fastest and smoothest doesn’t leave much for feedback. I lose track of the rope, far into DU sets. Throw in other movements and I’m screwed. It’s a little easier using the blue steel cable on this rope, but still, this thing is designed for speed. You’d be defeating the purpose of this rope by slowing it down like that. This thing is constantly sold out, so if you’re intent on getting one, you better be ready to pull the trigger. Runs for $43 before tax and shipping. You can also get it engraved nowadays for added jump rope swag. UPDATE 8/2/13 – After picking up the new revised version with 50% lighter handles, this has become my go to jump rope! The lighter handles make the rope a lot easier to manipulate and way less fatiguing on the forearms!
That’s the rundown on a few of the ropes that I own or have owned. If you’ve got any questions about any of them, or any other rope out there, feel free to leave me a comment!