8 best skipping ropes
Tone muscle, boost stamina and hone coordination with an effective piece of fitness kit
Gone are the days when skipping was the preserve of hardcore boxers and school children. Instagram stars and YouTube vloggers are now offering us a million ways to achieve the perfect physique without leaving the comfort of our own homes. And what better way than skipping, which burns calories quicker and more consistently than running.
When it comes to what rope you buy, the first thing to decide on is material. Leather ropes used to rule the roost due to their durability, but stainless steel wires now seem to be the weapon of choice for many skippers, especially if you're all about speed. There are also smart ropes, which count your jumps and time your workout. Most have some sort of mechanism, such as bearings inside the handles to aid a smooth swing, so all you have to worry about is not falling flat on your face.
You should also think about length. Sounds obvious, but if you're super tall, you 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 help you decide on the perfect rope, we've spent hours testing models from the comfort of our own living room and, on the odd occasion it wasn't raining, from the gym. We've whittled these down to some of our favourites, from simple-to-use leather models to ones built for speed skipping.
So, if you're looking to learn the difference between that swingy round the left thing and the double side swing and jump doodah, or if you simply want to get a bit fitter, order one of these ropes and you'll be going in no time.
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Beast Rope: £12.97, Beast Gear
The fastest, smoothest speed rope on this planet: that's what Beast Gear promises its customers on purchase of its Beast Rope. It's a brave claim – and one that other brands could get monstered for (no, we're not sorry about the pun). But we have to say that this rope pretty much lived up to all expectations.
At 2.8m, it is fully adjustable with a simple screw mechanism to keep the handles in place. Like some of its competitors, the brand advises that you can trim the ends if needed with a pair of sharp wire cutters. It was the smoothest of all the ropes we tried, with a metal eyelet where the steel cable rope joins the ball bearing mechanism in the handle so you can really put it through its paces.
The handles are a bit shorter than some of its competitors, but we found we preferred this during intense workouts as, due to the bell bottom shape, our hands didn't slip at all.
The brand's customer service is also top notch; if you choose one of its ropes, you'll get a handy booklet through the post and they are good enough to follow with a personal email and printable guide showing you how to master your technique. Order this rope and you'll be beasting your workouts in no time (still not sorry).
Premium Speed Rope: £19.95, Reebok
Think Reebok and you'll probably think of CrossFit, a cult-like fitness regime that incorporates jumping and skipping. It is unsurprising then this rope can easily hold its own when compared to some of the other specialist brands. Unlike some of the thicker ropes on the market, we found it easy to use for fast workouts from the beginning.
The coated steel cable is durable, while the textured handles gave us the confidence to keep upping our speed as we didn't need to worry about any unexpected slips. The ball bearings also ensured a smooth swing, while the red and silver design is stylish and guaranteed to get you some likes on Insta.
It feels a tad heavier than some of the other speed ropes we tried, so you might want to change it up if you fancy something a little lighter. One other word of warning; you need a 3mm allen key to adjust this rope so if you don't want to wander round the gym for 25 minutes trying to find one like we did, make sure you've got one in the house before you buy it.
Tangram Factory Smart Rope PURE Jump Rope: £59.95, Apple
We tested and loved Tangram's Smart Rope last year, and now the brand is back with its new Smart Rope PURE. Unlike its cousin, this swanky rope has been tailored for speed jumpers; the flashy LED system has been replaced by a normal rope, which is adjustable instead of coming in three sizes.
It's also cheaper, leaving you with a few extra pennies to spend when you're not in the gym. You'll be pleased to know that you can still pair the rope with a simple-to-use app on your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch, which allows you to monitor calories burned, jumps jumped and workout time (it also genuinely only takes a couple of minutes to set up).
Two sets of ball bearings in each of the handles also guarantees the smooth, natural motion that Tangram is known for. This may be the most expensive product we tried, but we loved all the bells and whistles of having a smart rope.
Wire Speed Rope: £8.99, Pro-Box
Aimed at boxers, Pro-Box's skipping ropes are high quality and good value. In particular, we loved the brand's Speed Rope. Made from steel, with a plastic coating, this is the ideal rope if you're looking to work on getting faster. The recently improved model features bigger handles, which are grippy even in the toughest workouts, and a bearing swivel, making it extremely easy to rotate.
This is non adjustable, but comes in different sizes so you can make sure you order the right one for you (there's a handy size guide on the website). It is extremely light and didn't get tangled like some of the other products on the market, so we could use it for high intensity workouts from the outset.
Whether you're a wannabe Anthony Joshua or fancy yourself as a bit of a speed skipper, this is the rope for you.
Opti Skipping Rope: £11.99, Argos
If you're obsessed with data, but don't want to spend a tonne on a skipping rope then head to Argos. Using your weight as a guide, this rope will not only tell you how many rotations you've done but also how many calories you've burnt, so it's perfect if you want to be sure you can have that extra slice of cake for dessert.
The screen is simple to use and also beeps when you've finished your workout (it can go for up to 60 minutes if you're feeling brave) so you can really concentrate on the task in hand. To lock the rope in on this one, you need to loop it back through the handle, which makes it surprisingly secure.
It currently only comes in pink and white, but at just £11.99 we think this product is well worth buying. The one thing we would say is take the product out of the box as soon as you receive it and hang it up – this will help stop it getting tangled during those first workouts.
Fitness Skipping Rope: £20, Wolverson Fitness
We've got to admit after weeks of detangling cables on different models, we were keen to test Wolverson's "tangle proof" rope. A brand that prides itself on its functional fitness equipment, we found it hard to fault this product.
The 3m stainless steel rope, which is coated with plastic, can be quickly and easily adjusted to suit your height, with the brand recommending that you get the perfect length before cutting off the excess rope and replacing the removable rubber end caps.
The thin wire and ball bearing handles genuinely will help you control your spin (consequently stopping us falling flat on our face) but are also really good if you're feeling brave and trying to go a bit faster.
The handles are quite a lot longer than some of the other products on the market and we would have preferred them to be a bit lighter, but they are very grippy. Order this rope and you'll also get a spare wire, rubber end caps, adjusting screw and a nylon bag, making it easy to transport to and from the gym.
King Athletic Leather Jump Rope: £11.97, Amazon
As far as we're concerned, this is the King of leather ropes. Simple yet effective, it is slightly heavier than some of the stainless steel models, making it perfect for beginners or those wanting to build endurance over speed. Due to the leather, it is more durable than some of the others we tested – perfect for shoving in the bottom of a gym bag until you're ready to get a sweat on.
At 2.8m, it is likely to suit most heights and is easily adjustable if you do need to change it. The grippy foam handles are comfortable while the ball bearings ensure a smooth rotation.
500 Adult Skipping Rope: £4.99, Decathlon
This simple PVC skipping rope is great if you want a quick and dirty cardio workout with no fuss. It might not be as swish as some of the other models, but it has all the same basic features and at £4.99 is a total steal. It is 2.8m in length and easily adjustable if, like us, you're on the small side – plus it has a mechanism to keep the rope in place, so you can feel confident when you're mid-spin.
The ergonomic handles aren't as grippy, but are incredibly comfortable. Decathlon recommends that this rope is used indoors on a tiled or wooden floor, so if you're looking for a rope to take to a local park this may not be for you. There is, however, space to add up to four 75g weights into the handles, which allegedly leads to a tougher, more effective workout. If you don't like the green, it's also available in pink and blue.
The Verdict: Best skipping ropes
We loved the fact that brands like Beast Gear make speed skipping available to beginners and that's why it's our favourite. If data is more your thing, look no further than Argos' calorie counting rope, while if you're not fussed about going fast Decathlon offers a simple PVC alternative.
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