Jumping rope is a fantastic way to burn fat and achieve your exercise goals.
And yet, for all the benefits that jumping rope has to offer, from improved cardiovascular health to increased explosiveness and agility, we (Dan and Brandon) understand that the experience can be frustrating as a beginner. This is especially true if you continuously trip over your rope.
Not to fear! We have all been there. Tripping is simply a part of the jump rope learning curve.
While it takes a few weeks to learn the basics and get your mind-body coordination under control, one of the easiest ways to avoid rope “whip” when starting out is to jump with a properly sized rope. Jumping with an improperly sized rope not only takes the fun out of the experience, but it can also lead to injuries and bad jumping habits.
Understanding that the right rope length makes all the difference when it comes to jump rope performance, we are here with a simple guide to teach you how to measure your jump rope in five easy steps. The steps we will cover below can be applied to most entry-level jump ropes, whether made from cable, nylon, or PVC.
Let’s dive in!
Why Does Jump Rope Length Matter?
Before we take a look at the proper technique for measuring your jump rope, it is important to understand why, when it comes to jumping rope, size matters.
Jumping rope is a progression-based exercise. The aim is to develop proper fundamentals as you master the basics before moving on to more difficult tricks and techniques. This is where rope length becomes important. If your rope is too long or too short, you will never produce the efficient mechanics and proper positioning needed to transition to more advanced rope progressions.
If your jump rope is too long, you’ll constantly hit the ground with it when jumping, making it difficult to maintain momentum, keep pace, and develop proper arm positioning. In other words, a long rope will encourage bad mechanics. On the other hand, if your jump rope is too short, you will need to jump higher than optimal, and you’re very likely to hit your feet and trip.
Does it make sense to play basketball in rain boots? Of course not! It also doesn’t make sense to train with an improperly sized jump rope.
Benefits of A Properly Sized Rope
Now that we know that size matters when it comes to your jump rope, it’s important to quickly highlight some of the benefits of properly sizing your rope. Note, you’ll notice that some of the benefits we cover below overlap with the ones we highlighted in our blog post, The Top 10 Benefits of Jumping Rope (Mental and Physical).
We did this intentionally.
Why? Because you’ll never truly enjoy all of the mental and physical benefits that jumping rope has to offer if you fail to properly size your rope!
OK. Now that we are on the same page, let’s look at the benefits of using a properly measured jump rope.
- Reduces injury risk. A properly sized jump rope will position you to develop correct mechanics, help you avoid tripping, and decrease the risk of the most common jump rope injuries that beginners tend to experience.
- Improves posture. Learning the fundamentals is key to reaping the many amazing benefits of jumping rope. A crucial element of mastering the basics is posture (back straight, shoulder blades pulled back, eyes toward the horizon). If your rope is too short or too long, you will compromise your posture and develop bad and potentially dangerous habits.
- Shortens your learning curve. Jump rope beginners have a tendency to waste energy with inefficient motion. Using a properly sized jump rope will help you avoid many typical beginner mistakes and more quickly master the jump rope fundamentals.
- Saves you money. A quality jump rope can last a very long time. And yet, too long, and your rope is likely to wear out more quickly as you repeatedly hit the floor. Too short, and well, you’re going to need to buy a new jump rope!
- Improves mind-body coordination. A properly sized jump rope will help you focus and more quickly attain an ideal mind-body flow state. Instead of tripping and feeling frustrated, you’ll be more focused on what you need to do to keep on progressing to more advanced tricks and techniques.
To summarize, a properly sized rope, combined with efficient technique, will position you to reach peak performance more quickly (and safely) as you begin your jump rope journey. Are you interested in learning more about proper technique? Check out our crash course on jump rope basics: How to Jump Rope: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide.
How to Measure Your Jump Rope in 5 Easy Steps
While our first recommendation for fool-proof and accurate measuring would be to buy a jump rope that’s already the right length for your height (more on that below), we have developed an easy-to-master process for measuring most adjustable jump ropes.
So, if you’re itching to get started, here are five steps for measuring your jump rope. Note, if you need a visual representation, we have an older video tutorial (with a similar methodology) from our Zen Dude Fitness days.
1. Stand with Your Feet on Midpoint of Your Rope
Standing straight, with the handles of your rope in both hands, step with both feet on the middle of your rope. Leave a gap of about two inches between your feet. You can find the sweet spot to step on by ensuring that the handles meet one another at the exact same height as you pull them towards your chest.
2. Pull The Rope Tight To Your Chest
Once you are sure you’re stepping right on the midpoint of your rope, pull both handles upwards and tight towards your chest. Hold the handles steady and allow them to rest at your chest.
3. Bring The Handles To Your Armpit
The top of the handles should reach just below your armpit. This is the ideal length for beginners. With the rope pulled tight vertically, it’s time to identify your ideal rope length. We can see in both of the images in this section that, when pulled tight, the handles of Brandon’s rope reach exactly his armpit. His jump rope is now ideally sized to his body. If you are using an adjustable rope and it reaches either above (too long) or below your armpit (too short), you will need to trim it.
4. Adjust The Length of Your Rope
If the handles meet above your armpit, this means that your rope is too long for your height. Adjustable ropes usually come with a tool to loosen and move the handles to the desired length. This system will be different for every rope (likely screws or a plastic “snap-lock” system).
5. Trim Any Excess Rope
Use a wire cutter (for cable ropes) or scissors (for PVC ropes) to trim the excess rope once you’ve identified your ideal jump rope length. Be careful not to trim the rope too short, as adding additional rope length will be impossible once you trim. We suggest you leave a bit of extra length. That way, if you complete the measuring process and your rope is too long, you can easily repeat the steps.
Once you trim the excess length, tighten the handles again. You’re now ready to start jumping!
The Crossrope: Measuring Made Easy
We developed this guide because we believe that every dude and dudette should know how to properly size their rope. Now, having said that, perfect measuring takes some practice. Both of us (Dan and Brandon) have improperly sized our ropes before. The solution in most cases is to run back to the local sporting goods store and spend another $5 dollars on a basic speed rope.
Fortunately, a few years ago, we figured out how to solve this problem. The solution? Purchase a rope that was already fit to each of our bodies. Why go through the hassle of measuring, adjusting, and trimming (and run the risk of doing it incorrectly) when you can make a long-term investment in a high-quality and perfectly sized jump rope?
Enter the Crossrope.
As we have said many times before, we have tried almost every rope under the sun over the last ten years. Without a doubt, Crossrope makes the highest quality ropes available on the market. Premium materials and a protective rope coating ensure a rope life span that is far beyond any other jump rope we have tried.
The best part?
Crossrope provides an innovative sizing chart for their ropes (see image below). This chart is based on aggregated data, and this data is reviewed periodically and adjusted accordingly to provide jumpers of all heights with a range of ideal rope sizes. For reference, we (again, Dan and Brandon) are both over 6’2”, and we’ve never had an issue using the extra-large rope even though ideal user height ranges from 6’2” to 6’9”.
Each rope comes fit to your height and features a fast-clip connection system to quickly swap between ropes. Regardless of the rope set you purchase (we recommend the Crossrope Get Lean set or the Crossrope Get Strong set), your rope will arrive at your door accurately sized for your body.
Jump Rope Sizing FAQs
Before we wrap up our sizing guide, we wanted to share some of the most common jump rope sizing questions that we receive from our JRD community members.
Does Arm Length Matter?
No. Arm length does not matter when sizing your jump rope. You may read that it does on some dime-a-dozen fitness blog, but trust us when we say that arm length does not change the ideal length of your rope. With respect to your arms, what really matters when jumping is proper arm positioning.
Do Handles Count When Measuring My Rope?
Yes, when measuring your rope, the handles count toward the length of the rope. For this reason, your handles should reach just below your armpit (see step #3 above) when measuring.
What Size Rope Do I Need?
As a beginner, you should be able to accurately measure your rope following the steps outlined above. As you progress, you can play with different rope lengths to see what is ideal for your fitness goals (for example, a shorter rope for faster speeds). If you decide to purchase a Crossrope, you simply need to follow their sizing guide.
What Should I Do If I’m Between Crossrope Sizes?
If your height falls between Crossrope sizes, you can opt for either a longer rope or a shorter rope. Which one will depend on your experience jumping rope and your fitness goals. If you are just starting, we recommend a longer rope. For more speed and precision, a slightly shorter rope is ideal.
There you have it fam! Everything you need to know about sizing your jump rope.
Again, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on any of our platforms if you need help getting started. We have a ton of videos on the JRD YouTube channel that you may find useful as well.
We also recommend that, once you have your rope, you connect with us on the coaching forum via our brand new premium community platform, Jump Rope Dudes TV. We have hundreds of workouts, unique challenges (check out our 7-day jump rope beginner challenge), and the best jump rope coaching in the world to help you get started on your jump rope journey.