7 best fitness skipping ropes to improve stamina and speed
Tone muscle and hone coordination with an effective piece of kit
Gone are the days when skipping was the preserve of hardcore boxers or a pastime for children. Rock up at any gym and you’re likely to hear the familiar sound of a skipping rope repeatedly striking the floor.
It’s unsurprising that the humble rope has seen such a renaissance. Skipping is a full body workout, which tones muscles, boosts stamina and improves coordination and flexibility. What’s more, it burns calories – and it burns them fast. An hour of skipping can burn between 800 and 1,000 calories – that’s an average of around 15 calories per minute.
When trying to work out what rope to buy, the first thing you should consider is material. Leather ropes used to rule the roost due to their durability, but coated steel wires now seem to be a top choice for many skippers, especially if you're all about speed.
You should also think about length. It sounds obvious, but if you're tall, you’re going to need something a bit longer. Look out for adjustable ropes to give you options. Once you've made your choice, you'll need to get the perfect fit by standing on the middle of the rope with one foot and then pulling the handles straight up so that the rope is tight. The top of the handles should be somewhere between your armpit and nipple.
To make life easier, we’ve tested ropes from across the market, from those that simply do what they say on the tin to smart skipping ropes, which guide you through sessions and tell you the amount of calories burned. We’ve rounded up the best below – so whether you’re trying to get fit or just want to fit in with the kids, we guarantee you’ll find the perfect product.
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Beast Gear beast rope pro: £15.97, Beast Gear
In our previous roundup, the beast rope came top by a country mile. This time around, we’ve turned to Beast Gear’s next generation beast rope pro – and we’re pleased to say that it is one of those rare sequels where it’s even better than the original.
Like its cousin, the beast rope pro is fast, durable and pretty nice to look at. It includes a unique double bearing system, which enables a smooth rotation, and a locking mechanism to prevent the cable from slipping, even during the fastest workouts.
The steel coated cable is ultra strong and can withstand users putting it through its paces day after day in HIIT sessions, interval training and longer aerobic workouts. We loved the smaller, lighter handles, which are hollow, and found it aided our sessions although some beginners might prefer something a little more chunky. Plus, the rope is easy to adjust and you get a nylon bag for storage. What’s not to like?
Tangram Factory smart rope pure: £59.95, Amazon
Everything about Tangram’s smart rope pure is extra. Unlike most other ropes, it has two sets of ball bearings in each handle. The complementary app not only includes basic counts, such as jumps jumped and calories burned, but also allows users to challenge their friends, view leaderboards and select fitness sessions such as interval training, which are based on skill levels and fitness goals. Plus, there’s no need to worry about the rope running out of battery mid swing – it will last for 45 hours of active training.
The result is a modern rope, which satisfies even the most serious of skippers. It is light at only 250g and fast, with a smooth, natural motion. It genuinely only takes around a minute to set up with an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch and the user journey on the app is simple. It is also adjustable in line with height and jump stance, and the handles are nicely shaped. We know this rope is a bit pricier – but we think it’s worth saving the pennies for.
Reebok premium speed rope: £19.95, Reebok
One of the things Reebok is perhaps most closely associated with is CrossFit. The cult-like fitness regime includes skipping drills from hard-to-master double (and even triple) unders to penguin jumps. It is unsurprising, then, that the brand’s premium speed rope is built for agility and, as the name suggests, speed. Like many of the other models we tested, the coated steel cable and ball bearings help skippers find their rhythm by providing a smooth and fast turn.
The red and silver design is sleek and very Instagram-friendly, and, at 3.1M, there’s enough rope to adjust it for the perfect fit, although you do need a 3mm allen key to make any changes. We found the textured handles great for grip and comfort, although they are a little on the large side. The rope is also slightly heavier than some of the other products on the market. While that can help with control, you may find it takes a bit of adjusting if you’re used to a lighter rope.
Opti skipping rope: £8.99, Argos
Smart ropes can be expensive. But if you're obsessed with data and want a quick fix without breaking the bank, then go for this from Opti. This rope uses your weight as a guide to tell you how many rotations you've done and how many calories you've burnt. Results flash up on a screen embedded on one handle and it beeps when you've finished your workout so you can really concentrate on the task in hand.
This rope is slightly trickier to set up than some of the other adjustable models. To lock the rope in, you need to loop it back through the handle. The result is surprisingly secure, but it does have a tendency to get tangled if you don’t hang it up properly. It also currently only comes in pink and white, but at this price we think this product is well worth buying if you’re looking for a few modern extras.
Crossrope get lean set: £93.31, Crossrope
Crossrope is an American brand with an American attitude. Order one of its sets and you’ll get a leaflet, welcoming you to the “Crossrope family”. “It is you, the everyday hero, that inspires us to challenge the fitness status quo,” the leaflet adds. So, with all this talk, are the ropes really that good?
In short: yes. We tested the get lean set, which included 1/4lb and 1/2lb ropes. The “fast clip” system meant we could quickly change the handles between the light and heavy ropes, leading to a more versatile workout, while the pro-grade ball bearings made every swing seamless. The ropes’ braided steel interior meant these were among the most durable of the products we tried, barely showing any signs of use even after a tough month in the gym.
In order to make sure you get the most out of the product, there’s also a free app for iOS and Android, which includes tutorials, workouts and challenges. The ropes come in a range of sizes, depending on your height, with a small starting at 4ft 9” and the extra large catering for up to 6ft 9”. There’s also a get fit and get strong set, if you’re not looking to lose weight. These are the most expensive ropes we tried, but if you’re serious about skipping, you can’t get much better.
Pro-Box wire speed rope: £9.99, Pro-Box
Aimed at boxers, this rope is great if you’re looking for a faster session. Its light construction, steel interior and plastic coating means it turns fast and is super durable, so you can put it through its paces without fear of it damaging the rope. The bigger handles – which are grippy even in the sweatiest of workouts – and addition of bearing swivels only increase the swiftness of this rope, making it extremely easy to rotate.
Although the rope is non adjustable, it does come in four different sizes (from 7ft to 10ft), so make sure you use the guide on the website to purchase the right one. Whether you think you’re the next Anthony Joshua or you fancy seeing how quick your footwork really is, this is a decent rope for a good price.
Wolverson Fitness fitness skipping rope: £14.99, Wolverson Fitness
We were extremely excited about testing Wolverson’s products, not least because the brand promises its skipping rope is “tangle proof” – and we certainly weren’t disappointed. The 3M coated rope, with a stainless steel interior, sounds the same as many of the other models on the market, but there are some subtle differences that make it stand out. The rope is thin (3.5mm) and very light (200g), making it amongst the best for speed and control.
It is adjustable for heights up to 6ft 6” – but unlike some other products you aren’t left with the risk of excess rope getting caught around your hands. Instead, the brand recommends users find the perfect length before cutting off the excess rope, reinserting the removable rubber caps on the end once done. The handles are a bit longer and heavier, but they are extremely grippy. Plus, you get a spare wire, rubber end caps, nylon bag and adjusting screw for a very reasonable price. We’re sure you’ll be mastering your triple unders in no time.
The verdict: Skipping ropes for fitness
We continue to love Beast Gear’s products, which are both high quality and reasonably priced. For those looking to spend a little extra, you can’t go wrong with one of Crossrope’s sets. Finally, the calorie counting rope from Opti deserves a special mention for making it so easy for those who love data to get in on the action.
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