I’m almost at the point where getting new jump ropes is absurd. While I definitely don’t need any more jump ropes, I’ll continue the never ending search for “the one”. I’ve gone through tons of awesome handles and even have put together my own amalgamations. Still, I haven’t found a flawless setup, but knowing full well that there is no flawless setup; the best rope is the one that you’re the best with.
Now that I got the philosophy out of the way, I can get on to business. When I say business, I mean what the Mil-Spec Rope’s MS-1 is all about. At first glance, the MS-1 shares similarities with most other speed ropes: a bearing assembly, pivoting eyelet, nylon covered galvanized steel cable, and aluminum handles. In the hand it feels like something familiar, yet totally different. It’s like you took the bearings off the Rogue SR-1 handles, knurled and powder coated them like RPM’s handles, extended the length to around where the CrossRope handles are and slimmed them down so they’re like Momentum Gear’s. Mil-Spec was definitely paying attention to it’s competitors while designing the MS-1. Nothing feels cheap or shorted on this rope, except for the price. The Mil-Spec MS-1 runs for $38.50, shipped. You also have the option to swap your current rope out to try theirs for two weeks, on their dime.
Though the only color scheme for the MS-1 is a stealthy, chalky black powder coat, the handles garner quite a bit of attention. The handles scream a militaristic, functional, no nonsense design (hence Mil-Spec); yet still seem to be one of the better looking set of handles out there. The chalky finish adds a ton of grip so the chalk you’ll probably already have on your hands anyways during the WOD is just going to secure the MS-1 even more. Speaking of mil-spec, the handles feel bomb proof and neigh indestructible. The solid aluminum begs to be dropped, stepped on and be abused. Don’t expect anyone to be able to crack or bend these handles by accidentally stepping or dropping weights on them.
If you want to judge the performance of a speed rope, do a WOD like “Annie” or “Flight Simulator, or both for you masochistic types. My test was “Annie” (50-40-30-20-10 DU’s and Sit-ups); the only breaks on my double-unders were because my shoelaces came untied, twice. If you’re familiar with my reviews, I’m fairly proficient, but not perfect at double-unders. Just before doing this WOD, I was going through a little rut with them. I still warm-up using my CrossRope and it’s power cable, so it might be from that, but using the MS-1 for double-unders is confidence inspiring. The handles are heavy enough to have just the right feel in your hands and the knurling makes the handles never feel like they’re going to slip. Bearings spin FOREVER, spin ’em on your own and they just keep going. There are two nondescript cable options on the website at the time of ordering. It doesn’t say there is a difference between the two, but there is. The clear cable is a little thicker and heavier, better suited for those learning or that aren’t as proficient with double-unders. The black variant is thinner, faster, but more flexible and would be suited for the more advanced athlete. The variance is minute, but there is a difference in feel, and if you do or don’t know what your doing, it’ll impact your performance.
With the market for Crossfit growing, expect the age-old jump rope design to progress in ways no one would ever think it would. A lot of crappy, knock-off speed ropes will eventually come out as well. Expect me to try to get my hands on whatever I see that’s new and interesting (thank Instagram for that, where I came across Mil-Spec Ropes). With designs like the Mil-Spec Ropes MS-1, you can rest assured that not everyone is just trying to cash in on the quick buck with a sub-par product.