As you can see from the pictures above the ropes at the gym have taken quite a beating. Wear on jump ropes is normal over time, but there are definitely some practices that everyone can follow to make them last longer.
1. Do not use the cable ropes outside on the concrete. The polymer coating on the outside of the cable wears off very quickly on concrete which leaves the cable bare. Once the cable is bear it forms burrs and if you haven’t personally experienced the wrath of a cable rope with burrs, just check out the scar on my calf. The thicker “spaghetti” ropes do much better outside than the cable ropes, but for maximum life, try not to use jump ropes outside if possible.
2. Do not tie knots or pinch the cable ropes, this causes the coating to split and then it will come off far more easily. If you need to adjust the length of a rope by tying knots, use the spaghetti ropes because it won’t damage them.
3. Do not let the handles of the rope drag on the ground while you’re carrying them. Most of the time, the handles are the most expensive part of the rope, so do everything you can to prevent wear on the handles.
I’d also like to note that many members of the gym have purchased their own jump rope and either have their names on them or are marked with a unique color of tape. When it’s all said and done, a nice jump rope is not very cheap and the owner has probably spent some time getting it to the perfect length and have broken it in. That being said, please try to be extra careful with these ropes, or ask the owner if they mind if you use it. On the other hand, if you have purchased a jump rope and would like to keep it to yourself, you can store them in your weightlifting shoe bag. If you don’t like to store your rope curled up, I’ve found that it works well to stretch your rope out in the back seat or trunk of your car.
Like with all equipment in the gym, treat it with care. Our owners have invested a lot in the equipment at the gym, so anything you can do to make it last longer is appreciated.
Now onto jump rope buying tips. If you’re interested in purchasing your own rope, below are some tips for each level of jump roping proficiency.
Beginner (learning singles and doubles):
I would recommend a slightly heavier jump rope for beginners, such as a spaghetti rope. The heavier rope gives you better feel for how you’re turning the rope and it gives the rope a little more momentum. A higher end version of this rope would be the Buddy Lee Aero rope, and the inexpensive version would a speed rope like Valeo.
Intermediate (just getting double unders, but can’t do a set unbroken in a work out):
At this point I would move to a slightly higher end (2) rope than the Valeo, but you can also find off-brand names pretty cheap. You can either switch to a cheap cable rope that has one bearing, or stick with a Buddy Lee type rope. If the rope can’t rotate in the handle, it will start slowing you down at this point.
Advanced (you have consistent dubs and you need to be the most efficient):
Once you have consistent dubs, you need a light weight rope that takes very minimal energy to turn. Dubs should be your opportunity to “rest” during a WOD when you become proficient at them, so a heavy rope that won’t turn as quickly as you can turn it, is only slowing you down. The best type of rope has to opportunities for movement at the handle. One bushing allows the rope to turn separately from the handle, and the bearing allows the rope angle to change. My personal preference for this type of rope is from Again Faster, but Rogue carries a great version of this as well that comes in different handle lengths.
I hope this has been a useful jump rope education post, if anyone has any additional questions, please feel free to post to comments.
If you haven’t yet, vote for CrossFit Intrepid – Leftovers for best team name!