Much like making any kind of exercise equipment decision, the answer will depend on your goals. Neither type of workout rope is superior over the other in general, but one will have an advantage based on how you want to use it. Let’s take a look at which might be appropriate for you:
Beginner Workouts: Jump Rope
When you’re just starting on your workout journey, concentrating on your form is key, no matter what the exercise. That’s why it’s usually best to choose a jump rope, because you’ll be able to go slower and build up your endurance and intensity over time.
Workout sessions that incorporate jump rope for beginners can help you ease into this type of cardio and get a feel for jumping and landing appropriately. By progressing gradually, you’ll be conditioning your body in a smart way that optimizes recovery time and makes you a more efficient mover.
Double Unders: Speed Rope
Of course you can do the fabled CrossFit double unders — a technique that causes you to do two rope rotations within one jump — with a jump rope, especially one that’s a high-quality enough to prevent tangling and offers a smooth rotation.
But if you’re into double unders as a regular part of your workout, a speed rope tends to be a better choice, because it’s designed to be, well, speedy. You’ll need that to get the rope around twice before your feet land back on the ground.
To see if it works for you, try a speed rope challenge — test out a speed rope versus a jump rope for a set of 30-second double unders and count how many you do in that timeframe. Most likely, your number will be higher with a speed rope.
Circuit Training: Jump Rope
If you’re doing short bursts of jumping during a HIIT workout that incorporates many different types of exercises — for example, kettlebell swings, burpees, step-ups, and other fast movements — it’s likely that a jump rope is the best choice.
You can easily incorporate a jump rope workout plan within a HIIT session, and do quick round between other activities. This type of jump rope circuit lets you keep your heart rate up but also change up what you’re doing.
Fat Burning and Weight Loss: Speed Rope and Jump Rope
Good news, especially for those who are new to working out and getting into a jump rope for beginners groove: The type of intensive work you’ll do with ropes, from a jump rope cardio session to a speed rope workout, is incredibly helpful as a fat burner.
This type of activity, which is similar to HIIT, creates short periods of high intensity, which has been shown to burn calories at a rapid pace, similar to sprinting, but it’s the effect on fat in particular that’s impressive. Basically, you’re “firing up” your fat-burning furnace in a way that’s much more effective than steady-state cardio like an easy jog on the treadmill. Plus, you’re getting your heart rate up, which is excellent for cardiovascular conditioning.
For example, one study followed people in a program that split participants into either steady-state cardio or regular HIIT sessions. Although the first group burned more calories in the long run, the HIIT group lost nine times more fat than those doing the endurance-training program. How’s that for some incentive to get jumping?
Go for Quality
No matter what type of rope you decide to use — often, having both types handy is a good option for different workouts — be sure to choose high-quality speed ropes and jump ropes that are durable and adjustable.
For example, Epitomie Fitness offers the Ballistyx Jump Rope with a quick cable length adjuster inside each handle, as well as ball bearing system in the handles and polymer-coated speed cable for quick rotation with zero tangles. In terms of speed rope products, there’s the Sonic Boom M2 Speed Jump Rope, designed to help you score some serious speed, so you can rock those double unders like a speed rope CrossFit Games contender.
The Ballistyx Jump Rope offers a mix of both, with a 360-degree rotating, weighted cable, designed to enhance speed while giving you the smooth rotations of a jump rope. All of these choices give the you the ability to adjust your jump rope or speed rope length, and be confident in your jumping.
Once you start seeing the many benefits and results that come with speed rope and jump rope workouts, it’s likely your rope will be a must-have gym partner.