"What's the best jump rope for CrossFit and double unders?"
It's an important question, and one I get all the time when I'm teaching double under seminars. This article is intended as a comprehensive review of the top six jump ropes on the market for CrossFit based on my experience using the ropes, seeing them in action, and gathering feedback from the athletes using them.
While I highlight differences in the ropes in the review below, the truth is each one of these ropes would be an excellent option and the biggest differences aren't necessarily in performance, but in price and preference. That said, I used the following seven criteria to judge each rope:
- Weight of the handles: CrossFit athletes know it's the arms that wear out first when jumping, not the legs. When the arms fatigue you start to miss. The handles, therefore, must be light weight.
- Track record: Is the jump rope being used at the highest levels of competition by the top competitors?
- Function: The rope must turn smooth and fast, and have a good, comfortable grip that doesn't slip when you sweat.
- Versatility: Can it be used by athletes of various ability levels? Can it be used indoors or outdoors? The ability of the jump rope to accept various sizes, types and weights of cables is key here. Heavier cables may be more appropriate for intermediate jumpers while expert jumpers use thinner cables. There are also some cables that can be used outdoors on hard surfaces.
- Ease of resizing: When you get your rope, can you size it perfectly for your needs? Jump ropes that are too long will slow you down, and jump ropes that are too short will cause misses. Ease of adjusting to your optimum size "out of the box" is important.
- Cable quality: Nylon coating is much tougher and lasts longer the vinyl coatings. We also find that USA made cable is superior in durability, and kinks less easily, than cable made overseas.
|ELITE Surge 3.0||1 oz||2||A-||1st|
|RPM Session 3.0||1.1 oz||3||A-||2nd|
|Bullet COMP||1.6 oz||1||A||3rd|
|Ultra Light 2.0||0.7 oz||
Velites Fire 2.0
ELITE Surge 3.0 Speed Rope
A popular speed rope made by EliteSRS. The 2.0 version of this jump rope was used frequently by world champion speed jumpers and top CrossFit athletes, but this upgraded version is untested at competition. Handles feature a patented ball bearing system that make it very efficient and smooth spinning.
- Handle weight: 1 oz (each)
- Handles: 5" machine cut aluminum handles with a foam grip. Attach to the cable at a 90-degree angle. Dual ball bearings in each handle.
- Cable: USA made. Cable comes at 10 feet in length and is easy to adjust with a cable cutter and Phillips screwdriver.
Pros: The thin handles allow for fine motor control and precision while turning the rope, and dual ball bearing system gives it an extremely balanced feel. Bottom of handles includes a key for quickly resizing the cable without the need for an adjustable screw (finally!) Easily accept different weighted cables from super thin 1.1mm cable for competitions to a thick 4mm PVC cord for training. .
Cons: We have heard that even with the foam grip, the handles can become slick when you sweat. Some people are also surprised by the small/thin handles, which can take getting used to. Won't do crossing moves well.
Summary: The fastest speed rope we've ever tested. WOW. The handle will free spin for up to 2 minutes. Also features a self-adjusting head which allows easy cable replacement and sizing without the need for adjustable screws.
- Handle weight: 1.6 oz (each)
- Handles: 5.5" aluminum handles with knurl grip
- Cable: USA made 10ft bare or coated speed cable
Pros: The spin. Full stop. If you crave speed start here. Self-adjusting head also makes this sizing and cable replacement quick and easy. The knurl handle is very grippy even when you sweat. Contoured handles are favored by many athletes.
Cons: The handles are heavy by high end speed rope standards. We've heard feedback that athletes definitely start to feel the burn in their arms during longer sets of doubles (especially anyone coming from the Elite Surge).
Price: $44.99 - website
RPM Session Rope 3.0
Summary: The RPM Speed Rope is a very reliable rope with heavy duty handles and a track record of very fast speeds at competitions. Advanced speed jumpers working out indoors will find it goes as quick as they want.
- Handle weight: 1.1 oz (each)
- Handles: Metal handles are about 5.5 inches in length and very tough. The top piece of the handle rotates on an anchor disc.
- Cable: All ropes come with a super long 12’ bare wire cable. USA made cable.
Pros: The hollow metal handles have a nice feel in the hand and feature a knurl grip that won't slip while you jump. Cable length is easy to resize. Comes standard with faster bare cable for advanced jumpers, but you have the option to purchase with coated cable for training. Eight different colored handles are available. For a $10 extra fee you can have the handles engraved.
Cons: Competition jumpers have complained of receiving blisters after long periods of practicing from the rough grip. Very pricey for a jump rope!
Price: $55 - website
Ultra Light 2.0 - Cable Speed Rope
Summary: The "ultra light" version of the most common/popular cable speed rope design out there. Handles attach to the rope at a 90-degree angle to prevent breakage and kinking with the high, repeated torque of double unders. A simple, proven design (commonly seen in speed jumping and CrossFit games competitions) that is also the lightest speed rope we've found.
- Handle weight: .7 oz (each)
- Handles: 5.5" long. Designed with an unbreakable polymer plastic dowel.
- Cable: Uses a standard 3/32" coated USA made cable that can be adjusted with cable cutters and a Phillips screw driver.
Pros: Lightest speed rope on the market. It produces a smooth turn and can reach speeds to 6-7 turns a second. The cable and handles can each be customized with the color of you choice (8 different options). The "ultra" light weight means less arm fatigue. Easy to adjust cable lengths and swap out cable styles. Cable made in the USA.
Cons: The light-weight handles can take a little bit to get used to if you're used to heavier or bigger grips. Handles are a smooth plastic, which means they could benefit from some grip tape if you want them to stay in your hands when you're sweating.
Price: $8.99 - website
Velites Fire 2.0
Summary: The newest addition to this list, the Fire 2.0 is notable for its hollow handles, which allow you to adjust the weight of the handles for a more difficult training session. The idea is to use the weights when training to build stamina and strength and take them out when competing for a more effortless set. We have seen this rope used by high level CrossFit athletes in competition.
- Handle weight: 1.2 oz (each)
- Handles: Long 6.7" anodized aluminium handles with a knurl grip.
- Cable: 2mm nylon coated cable comes in yellow color only. Comes at generous 11.5 ft length.
Pros: The cable length can be adjusted with an Allen key system, which is quite convenient and does away with the adjustable screws used on most cable speed ropes. The key actually screws into the bottom of the handle. The weights in the handles are a cool feature, if not entirely proven to improve your speed. The rope head includes two ball bearings for a quick, efficient spin.
Cons: The handles are a touch long for our taste (but it's subjective, and some athletes will prefer a long handle). On the pricey side.
Price: $69.99 - website
Rx Jump Rope
Summary: The "heavy-duty" CrossFit jump rope. Incredibly smooth turning with the largest handles of any jump rope we reviewed and heavy cable options for jumpers who want more resistance. This is another commonly seen rope in CrossFit gyms, with seemingly endless options for customization, but it is not a great option for competition because of its size.
- Handle weight: 2.3 oz (each)
- Handles: 6 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. Ergonomic shape. Comes pre-wrapped in grip tape of your choice.
- Cable: Comes is a variety of weights. Vinyl coated. Not adjustable.
Pros: Very fast and has perhaps the smoothest spinning handle of all the ropes we reviewed (handles have a multi-directional swivel axis bearing system that produce a near frictionless rotation). We like this rope because of all of the color choices of the cable and handles. The best thing going for the Rx ropes is that you can order different weighted (USA made) cables to help in matching your jumping ability. Grippy ergonomic handles won't slip when you sweat.
Cons: The biggest issue is the handle size, which actually hinders some of the fine motor control in the hands that's useful for speed jumping. The rope length is not adjustable (if the size you order doesn't fit, order a cable replacement for $9). Cable is coated with vinyl, which is less durable than nylon coating.
Price: $46.95 - website
About the Author
Matt Hopkins is a former competitive speed jumper and jump rope coach. Matt has won numerous national championships in speed jumping, and his athletes have won several national speed and freestyle titles and have broken world and national speed records. He also taught middle and elementary school PE in Leavenworth WA for 23 years.