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Posted by on May 15, 2014 in Crossfit, Lifting and Crossfit, Master, Music and Rants, Product Reviews, WOD

Product Reviews: Jump Ropes for Crossfit

Product Reviews: Jump Ropes for Crossfit

Before I launch into this review of all the jump ropes I’ve gone through, I want to say something exuberantly practical. If you can’t do double unders, a rope won’t fix your problem. There was an accidental graduation I went through to get my double unders to where they are, and the best way to learn is to do them one way and practice often. The more variables you change the harder it will be to see which changes make a difference. That being said – let’s get to the ropes.

I’m going to break this down to 3 categories; Economy Ropes, Modular Ropes, and Speed Ropes.

Economy Ropes

Again Faster Revolution Rope
again_faster
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SR-1 Rogue Bearing Rope
rogue_rope
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What I call economy ropes are ropes under $30, they’re nice, but not fancy. If you’ve been Crossfitting for years, you probably have at least 3 of these. If you have double unders, you can do plenty, all you’ll need to do with these. They’re cheap enough for gyms to buy 10-20 for their members, but nice enough to carry around. What’s great about these is they’re easily replaced, you can size them personally, they use coated cables which should last a long time on rubber mats. On the con side, they can feel a bit cheap, the hollow plastic handles can be easily crushed, the bearing are open to the world, so you get sand in them and they start to junk up, and the coated rope can kink if you store it improperly. What’s tough about these if you’re learning is that it can be hard to feel the rope as you spin it, so if your rhythm is off, its hard to really learn on them.

TL;DR
Good – Affordable, Easy to size, Ubiquitous
Bad – Not the best spin, rope can kink, feels a bit cheap

Modular Ropes

To my knowledge there is only one brand of truly modular rope, and only one brand I have extensive experience with.
RXRope from RX Smart Gear
rxrope
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This is a bit more complicated of a category, because it blends both the economy rope and the speed rope, but the end product, is greater than the sum of its parts. What RX Rope’s are, is a set of bearing handles to which you affix your choice of cables. In theory its fantastic, and once you find the right size and weight combination for your ropes, they’re amazing. My largest problem with these modular ropes, is their sizing guide, it took me 3 tries sending my cables back and forth to CA to get the right length. The one suggested by their sizing guide was far too small, even doing them perfectly, it was short. The second time, I added a few inches to the cables, and I could do 15-20, but once I started to fatigue I was done. Finally I ended up adding about 6 inches to their recommended size and finally felt like it was a rope I could use regularly.

Like I said – once you size it correctly, it’s great. What I loved about the rope was the ability to change the cable weights on the fly, for warm up or practice I could use a heavy cable that both taxed my grip and helped me feel where the rope was; then for the actual workout I could swap in a lighter one that let me get the conditioning work I needed. If you have a few double unders, say 15-20, but then lose rhythm, I highly recommend a rope like this with both a heavy and ultra light cable. Practice with the heavy for about 5 minutes, switch to the light and go for a big set. This is how I learned to finally get doubles.

A last note here, is that RX Smart Gear is large enough now that they go to a lot of the bigger competitions, so if you have the opportunity, get sized in person, and avoid the run around of having to send cables back and forth.

TL;DR
Good – modular, sized for you to the inch, solid handle
Bad – A little more expensive, tough to size, coated cables are a bit heavier, handles could be too big for some

Speed Ropes

Speed ropes are exactly what they sound like, ropes built for one purpose, allowing the user to do as many doubles as fast as they can possibly hope. The brand I’ve tried is the RPM Speed Rope 2.0, though several brands exist.
RPM Speed Rope 2.0
rpm_rope
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There’s a lot to love about this rope. Starting with the handles, they’re the perfect size for quick wrist flicks, small enough not to burden your hands, but large enough to to feel like you’ll lose them entirely. They have a knurled steel finish, so they feel like a tiny little barbell in your hands. The rope is basically heavy gauge picture hanging wire, no coating here. While this means you’re limited to practicing only on rubber mats, it also means theres no excess weight or drag, minimal effort makes for efficient and speedy reps. Though they do sting quite a bit when you mess up. The wire in my experience has never kinked or bent, which is great for storage and traveling. The only downside to this rope is probably the cost, it’ll run you about $55 shipped, which could get you 2 of the economy ropes, but in my mind it’s worth every penny. The other potential downside is that the bearing can come loose, so it’s a good practice to just get in there and tighten it down every so often to avoid it happening in a workout.

TL;DR
Good – fast, wicked fast, perfectly sized handles, size it yourself
Bad – Hurts like hell, bearing can come loose, expensive

Conclusions

As I said in the intro, I’ve actually graduated through all these ropes, the 3 stages of learning double unders you might say. They all have their strong and weak points, and where you put yourself will likely depend on how good you are at double unders. If you have 75-100 and just want a nice rope, the RPM rope is tough to beat. If you have 20-30 and want to get to that 75-100 mark, try the modular rope, build that volume. If you’re still in singles land and just want a rope thats sized to you to bring to class, nothing wrong with the economy option, it’ll do you just fine. While the RPM Rope gets the Gold Star from me, it’s not right for everyone. Unfortunately it’s not a one solution problem. Hopefully this helps you make the decision that’s right for you.

1 Comment

  1. Interesting account and reviews. My partner, Shana, and I teach double unders seminars at boxes throughout the Northeast and we start beginners with our signature plastic rope which is only $8 (you might need to create a new category!). Actually most good rope jumpers use inexpensive plastic ropes. Sure, they’re heavier and slower, but much better for learning rhythm, timing, and good mechanics. Ours are adjustable by the way.

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