One of the most common questions we get at Elite SRS is "how long should my jump rope be?” This is an important one for you to get right because it will have a big impact on your success and enjoyment using the rope.
We love helping size ropes and actually encourage our customers to schedule a free 1:1 consultation with our staff to ensure they get the size right. In this article, we will show you how to size your rope properly, debunk some common (incomplete) sizing methods, provide basic tips on form, and recommend rope lengths based on the type of jumping you’ll be doing.
In this article we'll cover:
- Don't settle - methods to avoid
- Start with good form
- The secret to sizing
- Sizing for different styles of jumping
Don't Settle - Methods to Avoid
The Chart Method: The most common technique is to size your jump rope based on your height. You’ve probably seen a table like the one below that gives you a corresponding jump rope length based on your height.
While a chart like this can provide a good place to start, it is too general to guarantee a perfect fit. This method does not account for the variance in the length of people’s torsos, arms and legs and will ultimately leave you with a less than optimum length.
The Armpit Method: Another common method you will see in lots of YouTube videos is to put a foot in the middle of the rope and re-size so the handles come up to your armpits. Again, this is a general place to start, and is slightly better than the chart method, but isn't going to account for things like length of your arms, handle length, or your length from your waist to the top of your head.
Conclusion: We recommend only using a chart and/or the armpit method to get a general idea for length when using one you find at the gym. These methods will get you close, but they won't be optimized to your unique physique. Instead, for a perfect length, we recommend buying a long rope (10ft for most people, 11ft if you're over 6'3" tall) and sizing down using the following strategy:
Start With Good Form
For any jump rope size recommendation to work, it is important to have good jumping form. Start with your hand placement. Make sure your arms are relaxed and your hands are near your hip bones. They should not be held out wide, away from your hips.
When you feel the need to hold your hands out wide, you’re compensating for a jump rope that is too long for you. By holding your hands out too wide, it shortens the rope but causes the turning to be much less efficient.
Once you’ve got your hands in the right position, you’re ready to perfectly size your jump rope.
The Secret to Sizing
The secret is to measure the clearance of the rope as it travels over your head while jumping. This method will help size the rope specific to you and your body type as you jump.
Grab a partner, friend or family member, and have them watch you jump. If you don’t have anyone to watch you can jump in front of a mirror or film yourself. Watch how far the rope travels above your head and size it down based on the style of jumping you’ll be doing.
Depending on the type of jumping you’ll be doing, you’ll want to measure a different height above your head.
- Speed / Double Unders: 4" to 8" clearance over your head.
- Fitness / General Jumping: 10" to 18" clearance over your head
- Freestyle: 6" to 14" clearance over your head
Sizing for Different Jump Rope Styles
Speed & Double Unders: The goal with speed jumping is efficiency, which means you want the jump rope to travel the shortest distance possible with minimal effort. If your jump rope is too long, it will feel sloppy and take too much effort to turn. A shorter distance means a smaller gap between your head and the rope. You’ll want to aim for 4” to 12” to maximize your jump rope speed.
- Goal: Efficiency
- Clearance: 4” to 8”
- Recommended Ropes: Mach Series: Speed Ropes
General Fitness: If you’re just getting started with a jump rope or simply want to burn a few calories, efficiency is no longer the goal, but rather consistency. While you’re still learning to jump, you may need a bit more length in the rope. This extra length will allow you the space to make minor technique errors without causing misses. We recommend a height of 16” to 30” over your head.
- Goal: Consistency
- Clearance: 10” to 18”
- Recommended Rope: Fit+ or Do Hard Things™ Rope with 1" Beads
Freestyle: Jump rope tricks require a high level of control over the rope and the handles. Freestyle jump rope allows for the variance in recommended height because of the different paths the rope takes for tricks. Whatever length you’re most comfortable with is best. Typically, we recommend the rope be between 12” to 24” over your head. However, it is common to see ropes only a few inches over the heads of competitive freestyle jumpers.
- Goal: Control
- Clearance: 6” to 14”
- Recommended Ropes: Motion Series: Freestyle Ropes