8 Tips to Avoid Jump Rope Injury

If you move your body, you’re going to get hurt at some point. Pain is a fact of life. Simply being born into the world, though a beautiful event, is painful for everybody. 

The only way to completely avoid injury is to do absolutely nothing. And even then your muscles will start to atrophy, your joints will get stiff, and your bones will lose their density. You might end up breaking a hip just trying to get to the bathroom.

But who said getting fit had to hurt so much? Actually, a lot of people.

“Pain is weakness leaving the body.” — Chesty Puller

“No pain, no gain.” — Jane Fonda

“Sweat is just your fat crying.” — Yoga Teachers

“If you get killed, walk it off.” — Captain America

Exercise might be a lot of work, even uncomfortable at times, but that doesn’t mean you need to get hurt in the process.

In fact, if you’re not careful, an injury could derail your fitness goals.

That’s another reason we love jump rope so much.

Besides being SUPER effective, jump rope is one of the safest forms of exercise. Now, no effective workout is completely comfortable, but you can easily avoid injury with jump rope.

One of the first steps is to use the right equipment. We like Crossrope and personally use their ropes on a daily basis and feature them in all our workout videos. Grab your set here.

All Pain. No Gain.

Some kind of intentional physical activity is important to maintain a healthy body. As the father of gravity said:

“…a body in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted on by an outside force.”
—Sir Isaac Newton

Contrary to those spam emails you get in your junk folder, you can’t just take a pill to get shredded abs and never move a muscle.

There’s the hidden fitness principle from Mr. Newton. The more you move your body, the easier it is to keep moving your body.

And as we all know, people get hurt all the time. Just Google “crossfit fails” (or maybe don’t do that) to see countless examples of horrible gym accidents.

The first step to avoiding workout injuries is to understand why people get hurt when they exercise.

Why do people get hurt when they workout?

When anyone tries something new for the first time, they’re gonna make a mistake. They’re going to do it wrong and mess up. It happens. No big deal.

Unless of course you’re trying to a new exercise and you trip on the sidewalk or drop a dumbbell on your foot.

The trouble with getting hurt when you workout is that you actually fail twice:

  1. You’ve injured some muscle or nerve

  2. You might not be able to workout for awhile

You see, the beginning of the same quote from Sir Isaac Newton goes something like:

“A body at rest stays at rest…”

This means that the more days you miss jump rope the harder it is to get moving again.

Take it easy when you’re getting started with jump rope. Or any fitness routine. Live to jump another day.

How to get hurt with your jump rope

When beginners first start jumping rope, they tend to get hurt because of 1 of 3 reasons:

  1. Bad form. Whether you’re picking up a bag of groceries or throwing a football, it’s important to practice good form and be aware of your body’s posture. Otherwise, you might throw out your back while tying your shoes (true story!). When it comes to jump rope, proper form includes upright posture, slightly bent knees, symmetry and controlled rotation. We have more details on proper jump rope form right here.

  2. No warm-up. Our lives are already busy with work, school, family, and more. If you managed to squeeze in a workout, it might be hard to find the extra time to warm-up. Truth is, it’s better for your body to do the warm-up and shorten or even skip the workout. We’ll go more into the effective warm-up below, but here’s more if you’re in a hurry.

  3. Over training. We know you’re excited about your new Crossrope set and learning some jump rope tricks. It’s easy to get swept up in the thrill of something new and overdo it by not pace yourself. That’s why all of our programs incorporate at least one day of active rest each week. This forces you to take a break from the new exercise of jump rope, giving your joints and muscles time to recover, while still moving your body with a walk or light jog.

That’s the bad news. You can get hurt jumping rope.

The good news is… it’s easy to avoid jump rope injuries.

Cheap equipment that breaks or wears out is bad for your health. The only jump ropes we trust to work properly on a daily basis and help us get fit are from Crossrope. Grab a set today and don’t buy junk.

How to Quickly Warm-up Before You Jump Rope

Besides good form, a proper warm-up is the best way to help you avoid jump rope injuries like shin splints or joint pain in the knees and ankles.

What is a warm-up?

Great question. No really.

A warm-up is basically a series of movements that prepare your body for strenuous exercise by raising your heart rate, increasing the temperature of your muscles (hence the name “warm-up”), and alleviating stiffness.

Ever wake up in the morning and find it hard to move your body through a full range of motion? That’s because your body has been relatively still for 6-8 hours.

An effective warm-up routine improves your mobility, which is especially important if you workout early in the morning or after sitting at a desk job all day.

To get your whole body prepped for a jump rope workout, we recommend our dynamic warm-up routine:

  • 20 Jumping Jacks

  • 10 Squats

  • 10 Push-ups

  • 5 Front Lunges (each leg)

Complete this little mini-circuit 3 times and you’ll be ready to start jumping rope in less than 5 minutes. Just like our workouts, it’s simple and efficient.

What about stretching?

Stop right there. Static stretching (like when you try to touch your toes and hold it for 20-30 seconds) is a bad idea before your workout.

Try “dynamic” stretches instead. That means you can reach for your toes, but don’t hold that position. Touch your toes, but then stand up and reach up to the sky, do an air squat, and make big circles with your arms.

The key is to have continuous movement through a full range of motion.

Here are some additional tools and dynamic exercises you can use to activate your muscles and loosen up your joints before a jump rope workout.

  • Resistance bands. Use these to do duck walks and bodyweight squats on your toes. 

  • Loaded calf raises. Do 3 sets of 10 reps with the bands or a weight in one hand.

  • Foam roller. Roll out your legs and hips with a foam roller.

  • Lacrosse ball. While standing, place one foot on a lacrosse ball to loosen it up.

7 More Ways to Avoid Jump Rope Injury

1. Boxer shuffle

Before you even pick up a jump rope, you can help your body get used to the movement by hopping around like a boxer getting ready for a fight.

Keeping your head up and your chest tall, bounce lightly on your feet and barely leave the ground as you shift your weight from side to side and try to stay on your toes.

This further warms up your leg muscles and joints while improving the blood flow throughout your body.

Do this for about 30 seconds for 4 to 6 sets.

2. Jump on the correct surface

Jump rope is a universal sport because you can do it anywhere. But that doesn’t mean you should right away.

We suggest starting out with a thin rubber mat. You can get a simple, half inch rubber mat at Home Depot or pick one up from our friends at Crossrope.

The added cushion will provide some relief for your ankles and joints while reducing the likelihood of getting shin splints. This is especially helpful for newbie jumpers.

You can also jump on thin carpet or even a wooden gym floor. Wooden gym floors are great because they’re designed to have a little bit of cushion for playing sports like basketball where you’re constantly running and jumping up and down.

As your body gets used to jumping rope, you can start doing more stuff on tougher surfaces like asphalt and concrete like you see on sidewalks and parking lots.

BONUS TIP: In addition to protecting your joints, a rubber mat is a great way to protect your jump ropes and help them last longer.

3. Correct footwear

Some people say fashion starts with your feet and goes up from there. Fitness is no different.

While we are big fans of simplicity and minimalism, we don’t recommend jumping barefoot. It causes a lot of stress on your feet and if you happen to whack your toes with your rope… OUCH!!

Make sure you’ve got the right shoes to jump in.

Almost any supportive running shoes work great like the Nike Lunar or Adidas Tubular series. Dan also likes the Air Jordan Eclipse.

For additional info on the best jump rope shoes, check out this guide from Crossrope

4. Frequency

A big contributor to injury for jump rope beginners is frequency. We talked earlier about the danger of overtraining.

If you’re just starting out, don’t try to jump rope every single day. Jumping rope is a new movement that your muscles and joints aren’t used to yet.

Just like if you’d never run a mile and decided to lace up your running shoes and tried to run a marathon. You’re asking for injury in this scenario.

Pace yourself and take a day off in-between jumping rope to recover, stretch, and go for a brisk walk to stay active.

If you’re not really active and you want to get started jumping rope, don’t worry about diving into our workout videos just yet. Focus on jumping rope 2-3 times a week for 5-10 minutes each time (in 30-90 second intervals and resting 10-15 seconds in-between).

Once your past that point and you can jump rope for a sustained amount of time without too much discomfort, try 2-3 of our YouTube workouts per week and resting 1-2 days in-between each session.

More advanced jump rope fans can do 4-5 workouts per week and rest 1-2 days each week.

The goal is to do what works for you and helps you maintain a consistent habit of physical activity. If you overdo it at the beginning and get hurt, it’s harder to get back in the groove.

As you progress in your jump rope journey, you’ll find that you don’t really get shin splints or joint pain anymore because your body is conditioned to the movement.

That’s when you can safely crank up the intensity and tackle new tricks.

5. Jump low to the ground

Jumping rope is one of the safest exercises you can do to avoid pain.

It’s low impact while being full body and has a high potential for intensity which means it’s effective and efficient.

Because of the repetitive bouncing and the noise associated with the jump rope smacking the ground with each rotation, there’s a common misconception that jumping rope is a high impact sport.

It’s actually lower impact than running or jogging.

When jumping rope with the correct form, you’re only bouncing 1-2 inches off the ground at the most.

If you jump 5 or more inches off the ground while jumping rope, you’re more likely to experience a lot of pain. You will injure yourself if you’re constantly slamming your feet on the ground trying to jump too high each time.

Focus on keeping your knees slightly bent, staying on your toes, and only jumping 1-2 inches off the ground.

6. Stretch

We only recommend traditional, static stretching after your workout or if you’re experiencing soreness or shin splints later in the day.

Static stretches before you exercise can actually undermine your workout and lead to increased injury.

There are a couple of moves and stretches you can do to alleviate pains like shin splints:

Heel walk. Stand up straight and curl your toes up until the balls of your feet are off the ground. Take about 10-20 steps on each foot while walking on your heels. This will strengthen the muscles and tendons in your shins.

Heel sit. Get down on your knees, keeping your legs and feet together, and sit back on your heels with your toes pointed out. This is going to stretch out your shins and ankles.Hold it for about 20-30 seconds.

Toe curls/extensions. Sit on the ground with your legs extended
in front of you. With your feet together curl your toes and feet back toward your chest. Then point your toes forward to the extent that you feel the tension in your shins. Hold for 30 seconds in each direction for a couple of sets.

7. Lacrosse Ball and Foam Roller

Two of the best tools for your body (after your jump rope of course) are a lacrosse ball and a foam roller.

If you’re experiencing pain or soreness, you can use these tools to apply focused pressure to the affected muscles and massage it out.

This goes a long way to help you recover and avoid injury while keeping your muscles from cramping up.

Plus it just feels really good.

Stay Healthy. Jump Rope.

Exercise is uncomfortable. That’s why it’s called a “work” out. It takes effort.

Jump hard. Be intense. And get comfortable with your muscles being a little sore.

Experiencing some pain is perfectly normal and we encourage you to fight through that. Pain is a sign that your workout is working. Keep going!

However, it’s important to be able to separate “normal” pain from “bad” pain.

Normal pain includes:

  • Muscle soreness

  • Mild burning sensation

  • Occasional cramping

  • Occasional fatigue

Bad pains are:

  • Sharp shooting pain

  • Long lasting pain

  • Visible swelling

  • Extreme tenderness

  • Chronic fatigue

Pain that inhibits your ability to jump rope or move in general should not be ignored because they can be a sign of more serious injury. Your body is trying to tell you that something is wrong.

If you’re new to jump rope, give your body time to get used to the bouncing motion. If you feel sharp or chronic pain, revisit this article and keep your form on track.

If you want daily workouts, jump rope tricks, fitness tips, and a community of incredible jump rope fans, join us here.