Jump rope fam! We are back for another in-depth blog post on all things jumping rope!
One of the great things about jumping rope is that you can do it practically anywhere. Whether you are on a family vacation, a business trip, or working from home, you can always get your workout in with a jump rope in hand.
Now, a downside of this amazing mobility is that you can’t always control your jumping surface. While most gyms will have some type of padded floor, “on-the-go” exercise means that you could easily find yourself deciding between sand, concrete, grass, or gravel.
You heard us say this before, but we will say it again: when it comes to jumping rope, surface matters!
Not all surfaces are created equal with respect to both safety and peak jump rope performance. If a surface is too hard (like concrete) or too slippery (like grass or dirt), it is more challenging to jump effectively, and the risk of injury increases substantially. In addition, jumping on a rough surface like concrete will tear up your rope, meaning you will have to replace it more often.
And yet, with a jump rope mat, a proper jump rope surface is always within reach! In today’s article, we will cover everything you need to know about jump rope mats, including benefits and where you can get your hands on the one we (Dan and Brandon) use in every jump rope session.
Let’s dive in!
What is a Jump Rope Mat?
The answer to this question may seem obvious, but there are a number of different types of fitness mats available on the market. What exactly separates a jump rope mat from a yoga mat, Pilates mat, gymnastics mat, or any of the other fitness mat is important to understand.
In general, a jump rope mat is a category of exercise mat designed for the specific needs of jumping rope. A good jump rope mat is durable, made from a robust and odorless PVC material, is non-slip, and offers what we call “rebounding benefits” as you jump.
Let’s break down the many benefits of a jump rope mat to illustrate how important this piece of equipment is.
Benefits of Using a Jump Rope Mat
A high-quality jump rope mat offers many useful benefits that can take your jump rope experience to the next level. If you’re looking to get more out of your workouts (better performance, faster recovery, crushing new PRs, etc.), a jump rope mat is right for you.
While we will cover the many benefits of using a jump rope mat in this section, we also recommend that you check out the video embedded above. Here, Dan takes a deep dive into his experience using jump rope mats.
1. Prevents Common Injuries
You may be surprised to learn that jumping rope is actually a low-impact exercise when executed correctly with proper form. However, as with any sport, injuries can occur. Typical injuries we see associated with jumping rope are:
- Calf strain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shin splints
- Compartment syndrome
Common mistakes that can lead to injury include jumping too high, poor form, improper footwear, and jumping on hard surfaces.
Just about every jump rope fanatic we know has experienced shin splints at least a couple of times. They are annoying, painful, can limit your fitness progress, and if they happen chronically, they can lead to other injuries. Some people are more prone to developing them, like people with flat feet or abnormally rigid arches. Shin splints can also be caused by exercising in worn-out footwear (more on that later.)
One of the most effective strategies for avoiding shin splints (and the other common jump rope injuries mentioned above) is to jump on a soft surface. A jump rope mat can help absorb the impact of your jumps, thus taking the pressure off your joints and muscles as you skip. An easy way to ensure you are always jumping on the proper surface is to get yourself a jump rope mat.
A quick word on injury prevention.
Remember, with any exercise routine, you need to differentiate between normal pain and bad pain. Normal pain is the sensation of muscle hypertrophy, the temporary damage caused to the muscle that allows them to grow bigger and stronger. Bad pain is your body telling you to back off. The rule of thumb for this is as follows:
- Normal pain: sore muscles following exercise, mild tenderness, burning while exercising, or an achy, tight feeling in your muscles for around 24-72 hours following an intense workout.
- Bad pain: sharp, shooting pain that inhibits movement, visible swelling, difficulty walking or moving through everyday activities, extreme tenderness in the muscles or joints that doesn’t go away, and chronic fatigue.
Don’t overdo it (especially if you are just starting out) and make sure you are properly warming up. There is a lot more to say on injury prevention, so if you want to learn more, we recommend that you check out the video embedded above.
2. Extends the Life of Your Jump Rope
Regardless of the material your jump rope is made from, rough surfaces like concrete, asphalt, and gravel will tear up your jump rope fast. Jumping regularly on a rough surface could have you replacing your rope as often as every six to nine months! While the “durability factor” is different for every jump rope, rough and hard surfaces have a tendency to break and fray even premium ropes (like the Crossrope jump rope) prematurely. While we understand that a jump rope mat will be an additional upfront cost, it will save you big in the long run when it comes to replacing your rope.
3. Optimizes Your Workouts
Not only will jumping rope on a rough surface tear up your rope, but it will make peak performance more difficult to attain due to the extra friction you generate every time your rope hits the floor.
Your arms and wrists will have to work harder with every rotation to combat this friction. In addition, your legs will also have to work harder to rebound with each jump. Essentially, jumping on a hard surface will encourage bad form habits and force you to put excess pressure on your joints to get through a workout.
A jump rope mat will also aid in learning and performing tricks where you need to have big, explosive jumps.
A great example is double unders. To effectively perform a double under (or a series of double unders), you will need the perfect combination of explosive power, timing, and rebound. Again, when we say “rebound” we mean that you need to be able to cushion the direct impact of your landing. You typically achieve this by controlling your jumps and landing on the point between your toes and the balls of your feet. A jump rope mat will aid in this process by providing you with a stable foundation and a spring-like surface from which to explode into your jumps.
4. Allows You to Jump Anywhere
Again, one of the reasons we (Dan and Brandon) fell in love with jump rope in the first place is that we can literally do it anywhere. Whether we are traveling for business or pleasure, we can transform any space into a gym. And yet, it’s also true that we have jumped on some pretty rugged and unforgiving surfaces over the years.
In this respect, incorporating a jump rope mat into our workouts has been a game-changer. Parking garage? Tennis court? Venice boardwalk? The mountains of Medellin? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. Wherever we are in the world, we are confident in our ability to crush a workout with our jump rope mat in hand.
Also, it is important to recall how crucial it is to have a “designated space” for working out.
While this typically means a space in your home or at your local gym, with a jump rope mat, this space is wherever you want it to be. As a visual reminder of your commitment to achieving your fitness goals, a jump rope mat can serve as your workout accountability partner. Seeing the mat in your garage or the corner of your home office is a reminder to make time for physical fitness and to stay consistent in your jump rope journey.
Features to Consider When Buying a Jump Rope Mat
When buying a jump rope mat, there are a number of features you will want to consider. These include portability, grip, durability, size, length, consumer reviews, and mat thickness. Let’s take a look at each:
- Grip: A good mat will stay in place as you jump and provide traction for your shoes as you “rebound.” You should never feel like your mat is moving under you as you jump.
- Durability: You want something made from quality materials designed to hold up no matter how intense your workouts.
- Portability: You need something big enough to encompass the full swing of your rope and small enough to roll it up and transport it with you. Some mats come with a carrying strap as well.
- Length: Your mat needs to be long enough that your rope doesn’t catch the edges and trip you up. You also will want it wide enough to ensure that you don’t feel like you’re falling off the mat.
- Thickness: You want something that offers enough density to provide a good cushion and helps you absorb the impact of your jumps. Too thin and you might get injured, too thick and the mat might be a pain to travel with. We recommend about 1/4 inch thickness.
- Consumer Reviews: The beauty of today’s global marketplace is that you can read reviews and see what others have to say about the product. Look for a mat that has stellar reviews from real consumers.
We tested out several jump rope mats looking at these key components and concluded that the JRD Crossrope Mat checks every box and is the best value for your money.
Our Favorite Mat: The JRD Crossrope Mat
The JRD Crossrope Mat is sturdy, durable, responsive, portable, and has a large surface area for any style of jump rope workout.
We love that this mat has a tapered edge which prevents your rope from catching the mat and improves overall stabilization. It’s the perfect size – wide enough to make side swings easy and long enough to ensure that your rope avoids the edges of the mat. The mat is supremely stable, and it also comes with a convenient roll strap for storage or travel.
The mat is manufactured from an innovative custom material that is a bit heavier than the previous model that we jumped with, making it a lot more durable. The added weight makes for a sturdier mat, especially useful if you’re jumping with a weighted jump rope.
One of our favorite features that sets this mat apart from the rest is its unique oval shape. It takes up less space, allowing it to fit in any sized room, apartment, workspace, or makeshift gym. The oval shape also means less material to lug around while still being long enough for your rope to strike the mat with every rotation.
If you’re checking out consumer reviews, of the 427 verified reviews on the Crossrope website, 374 are five stars! Trust us when we say this mat is exceptional. You will not regret investing in this piece of equipment.
Additional Jump Rope Accessories
At the end of the day, jumping rope requires minimal equipment. Really, it’s a matter of just grabbing a rope and DOING THE THING. And yet, we (Dan and Brandon) do have a few equipment recommendations that can help provide you with a safer and more rewarding jump rope experience.
The Crossrope Jump Rope
We’ve tried almost every jump rope under the sun over the last decade. Without a doubt, Crossrope makes the highest quality ropes available. Superior materials and a protective rope coating ensure that this rope will outlast any other rope on the market.
The Get Lean Set is designed to help you lose weight (specifically body fat) and improve your overall fitness. This set is our go-to recommendation for beginners as it comes with comfortable slim handles and a 1/4 lb. and 1/2 lb. rope.
The Get Strong Set is for more experienced jumpers looking to amp up their resistance training and challenge themselves. Weighted jump rope training improves strength and endurance. This set includes a 1 lb. and 2 lb. rope with detachable power handles.
Crossrope provides a sizing chart for their ropes, ensuring that your rope is always the perfect fit.
A Good Pair of Fitness Shoes
Don’t underestimate the role that proper footwear plays in fitness. Shoes are another layer of shock absorption to protect your joints and allow you to rebound quicker from your jumps, reducing your chances of getting shin splints and other common injuries during exercise.
Quality shoes go hand in hand with proper form and technique. The wrong type of shoe, or a worn-out shoe, will alter the biomechanics of your body while jumping. This can make learning the basics of proper form and technique more challenging.
We recommend cross-training or basketball shoes for your jump rope workouts. They are comfortable, provide ample support, and are designed specifically for repetitive jumping movements. Consider your foot shape and pronation and get a pair of shoes that support your individual needs.
If you’re interested in learning more about shoes, check out the video embedded above. Here Dan will guide you through his favorite shoes and how to choose the perfect pair for jumping rope.
Jump Rope Dudes TV
Although not a piece of equipment, Jump Rope Dudes TV could potentially be your most important fitness “accessory” outside of your jump rope.
JRDTV is our growing, interactive, and premium on-demand fitness platform. Our aim is to offer dudes and dudettes a unique jump rope experience that focuses on community, accountability, and support. We offer a catalog of hundreds of commercial-free workout routines and tutorial videos. In addition, members receive a complimentary daily workout in their email inbox every Monday-Friday!
Short on time and want to take the guesswork out of planning your jump rope routine? Then JRDTV is right for you. JRDTV also features live workouts, a community forum for members to connect with each other, and members-only personalized coaching. Don’t put off your fitness goals any longer – start now!
Get lean, get fit, crush your PRs, and come have some fun with us at Jump Rope Dudes TV.
Remember, Surface Matters!
We’ve covered a lot in this article, so let’s summarize to close – the surface you jump on matters. A jump rope mat will help prevent injury, extend the longevity of your rope, optimize your workouts, and allow you to jump rope anywhere.
As always, you can reach out to us with any questions about this article or anything jump rope-related via our social media channels – Instagram and Facebook. We do our best to answer all messages quickly.
We also highly recommend that you check out and subscribe to our YouTube Channel. There are a ton of great jump rope tutorials and workouts. If you’re new to the jump rope game, don’t skip the essential information in our Ultimate Jump Rope Workout Guide. Until next time fam!
DO THE THING!