8 Ways To Improve Your Jump Rope Skills

Written By: Todd Kuslikis
August 14, 2013

Editors Note: This is a guest post from Shawna Kaminski creator of Challenge Jump Rope Program.

Turns out kids on the playground are smarter than they sometimes act. Were you one of those kids with a jump rope? I know I was. Little did I know the many benefits jumping rope offered.

Why on earth did we ever stop?

Hey, I’m Shawna K, and truthfully, I didn’t stop jumping rope completely. I just turned 50 years old and I’ve been jumping rope in my workouts for years. I dusted off my jump rope a while back because I hated long, slow and boring cardio workouts on a treadmill that have since been proven to be ineffective for fat loss. I do jump rope and strength training workouts and I’ve managed to maintain my weight since high school and I’m stronger and more muscular than I’ve ever been.

I love when I find a study that backs up the reason my jump rope workouts are effective. Get a load of this 2013 study:

Hiroshi Kawano, Mayuko Mineta, Meiko Asaka, Masashi Miyashita, Shigeharu Numao, Yuko Gando, Takafumi Ando, Shizuo Sakamoto, Mitsuru Higuchi

Effects of different modes of exercise on appetite and appetite-regulating hormones 

Appetite, Volume 66, 1 July 2013, Pages 26–33

1. Japanese researchers Kawono, Mineta et al found that jumping rope has a greater exercise induced appetite suppressive effect compared to non-weight bearing exercise.

2. Ghrelin was suppressed and PYY was increased during jumping rope.

Knee Health Score 1

What this means is that by jumping rope, you can reduce your urge to eat from a hormonal level. Ghrelin makes you want to eat the kitchen sink, PYY helps you feel satiated. When you change these hormones by lowering ghrelin and increasing peptide PYY, you set yourself up for an easier time staying on a nutrition plan.

That’s just ONE of the many benefits of jumping rope.

Remarkably jumping rope is easier on your joints that you’d think. My knees hate running and I know others that have difficulty with ‘impact’ type HIIT. You need only jump about one half inch off the ground and when you do a double footed jump with a jump rope, you distribute your weight over BOTH feet as opposed to only one foot when running. This makes a tremendous difference and really eases joint issues. Jumping rope is a great alternative to running (which also proves to be less effective for fat loss). Take a look at this video:

Here’s the sample workout that you saw in the video:

Pair one minute of jump rope with one minute of prisoner squats, repeat the jump rope for another minute, then do one minute of decline (regular or incline) push ups, repeat this circuit as many times as you can for a full body workout.

Ladies, you may think I have three heads when I suggest jumping rope. I know that many of you get that ‘pee your pants’ feeling anytime you even think of jumping. You may not think jumping rope is your solution, but it actually is. Your pelvic floor muscles are like any other muscle, by working them, they will get stronger and you will lose the ‘pee your pants’ feeling when you do impact exercises like jumping rope.

The key to success is to start off moderately. Do the ‘phantom’ for starters, work into an easy skip, all the while doing kegels when you’re jumping rope.

The Beginner Jump Rope Routine:

This is a beginner routine for you:

-30 seconds of ‘phantom’ skip
-30 seconds of prisoner squats
-30 seconds of ‘phantom’ skip
-30 seconds of push ups (modify these by doing them on your knees if need be)
-30 seconds of ‘phantom’ skip
-30 seconds of front plank (drop to the knees if needed)

Repeat 3-5 times

If you want to get started, but haven’t jumped rope for a while, here are some tips to successful jump roping:

8 Tips To Improve Your Jump Rope Skills

1. Get a great rope:

You don’t need anything fancy. My favorite jump rope is plastic with foam covered hard plastic handles for about $12. There are all kinds of ropes from plastic to leather to cloth. The plastic and leather ropes are more unforgiving: they sting when you miss and you’re going ‘pepper’. The cloth ropes are slow and ‘float’ too much for my liking. These are the most forgiving for beginners.

2. Stay soft:

Land softly on the balls on your feet. Your calves will get a workout since your heels shouldn’t touch the ground.

3. Stay low:

The most common error for beginners is to jump too high. Stay low, about one quarter of an inch off the ground. It’s hard to get into a good rhythm if you’re jumping too high and you’ll burn out quickly. ‘Relax’ and get into a rhythm, you’ll become more efficient and be able to do more steps and fun stuff.

4. Keep your arms down:

Don’t allow the elbows to leave your sides. The key to successful arm action is all in the wrists. The shoulders and arms should be relaxed and the rotation all comes from the wrists.

5. Get the right size:

Knee Health Score 2

If you bisect the jump rope by putting it under your feet, the handles should reach your sternum or armpits. Much higher, or lower will affect the rhythm and make jumping rope much harder. If the rope falls short of your armpits, the rope will not hit the ground as it passes under your feet when you jump. If the rope comes up well past your armpits, you may trip on the extra length and the rope may become tangled as you jump. The jump rope should tick the ground each revolution, which also makes it easier to count reps and get in a rhythm.

Generally, follow this basic chart to determine the correct jump rope length for your height:

-Someone less than 4 feet 10 inches tall needs a 7-foot jump rope.
Someone over 4’10” but under 5 feet 3 inches, use an 8-foot rope.
-Someone 5 feet 4 inches tall to 5 feet 10 inches tall needs a 9-foot rope.
-Someone 5 feet 11 inches and 6 feet 6 inches, needs a 10-foot rope.
-Someone taller than 6 feet 6 needs an 11-foot rope.

6. Get the beat:

It takes time and practice to develop a rhythm. Experience is a great teacher for finding a natural groove or rhythm. Don’t force it, relax. The more you relax, the more efficient you become at jumping rope, the harder you can push yourself with challenging workouts.

7. Take your time:

Jumping rope makes you super fit but learning takes some practice. The highest intensity workout involves one jump each time the rope passes. Slowing the rope to adding an extra little jump reduces the intensity, this is fine as you learn and become a more efficient jump roper.

8. Practice, practice, practice:

You need to spend some quality time with your rope. At first, your jump rope skills may be a little rusty, but like anything they will improve over time and with practise. Stick with it.

Bonus Beginner Tip #1: Do a walking skip. Start off walking forward and bring the rope up and over your head, naturally step over the rope as you walk, without breaking stride. Gradually increase the speed of your walk and rope swing.

Bonus Beginner Tip #2: Learn the wrist action first. Hold both handles in one hand. Keep them just a little higher than the waist. Do a rope swing on one side of your body. Listen for the rope to touch and add a hop every time the rope skims the floor. Do the same with the opposite hand. Basically you begin to jump rope without the rope going under your feet.

For more challenging jump rope ideas, go to www.ChallengeJumprope.com

If you want the benefits of jump rope with ‘done for you’ workouts and coaching videos to ‘show you the ropes’, then I have a plan for you. You can suppress your appetite, increase your fitness level and even lose the ‘pee your pants’ feeling with my jump rope workouts that pair jump rope with bodyweight exercises.


About Shawna

Shawna Kaminski is a retired schoolteacher of 20 years who’s found her passion in the fitness industry. She’s parlayed her ability to teach and her love of training into programs that you can directly benefit from.

Shawna just turned 50, is a mother of two teenagers and understands how busy life can be. Her workouts are short and intense and often can be done anywhere. She’s always up for a challenge and shares her fitness challenges with you.

Currently she runs her own fitness boot camps and coaches clients in person and online with her amazing result getting programs.


Photo: Jump Rope
Show/Hide Comments (8 comments)
  1. Sue

    How do I have to put my feet(I mean toes touching the ground while the heels not touch the ground or vice versa)to slim muscular legs by skipping rope?

    • Todd Kuslikis

      Hi Sue,

      Always land on the ball of your feet. Never land on your heels, and ideally your heels shouldn’t touch the floor at all.

      Happy jumping!

      – Todd

  2. Zach

    What is a phantom skip? I can’t find it anywhere.

    • Dobo

      Check the second video

  3. Shawna K

    Mike, You should measure the rope NOT including the handle. Thanks for the question, that important. Shawna

  4. mike

    Hi Shawna,
    How do you measure rope length in your table. With handle included or not? The difference might be around one foot.

  5. Shawna K

    Thanks for letting me share on your blog. I’d love to see more people jumping rope as it’s a great way to get fit and lose fat (and have fun!).

    • Todd Kuslikis

      You are very welcome Shawna. Thank you for contributing!!

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *