Jump Rope Sizing Made Easy
Once you get your jump rope [🔗link best jump ropes article], your next critical decision is how to size it. Figuring out the best jump rope size is not easy, especially considering the abundance of non-specific and contradictory information that exists online. So what’s the best size for your jump rope? The true answer is “it depends.” But stopping there would be unhelpful, so instead, I’m going to give you the main guidelines for three of the most common jump rope goals:
2. Freestyle Enthusiast
Where These Guidelines Comes From
After well over a decade jump roping competitively (yes, that’s a thing), learning from reputable sources like RX Smart Gear, and coaching countless jump ropers from a variety of backgrounds (general fitness, CrossFit, advanced freestyle, and more), I’ve seen how the fundamental mechanics of a jump rope work in all contexts. There is an objective “best way” to size your rope for your goal, and it will completely change the relationship you have with jumping rope.
If you’re not interested in the details, here’s the short answer:
Your rope length should be 3 feet (92cm) + your height. Make it shorter as you get better.
Start at 2.5 feet (76cm) + your height if you’re under 5 feet tall (152cm), or over 6 feet (183cm).
Before we get into the details, please note that if you share these guidelines on your own channels, it would be greatly appreciated if you referenced this article as your source.
Rope Size For Jump Rope Fitness
If you want to workout with your rope, but don’t necessarily want to learn lots of freestyle skills, you should start with a rope that measures 3 feet (92cm) + your height. If you’re under 5 feet (152cm), or over 6 feet (183cm), start at 2.5 feet (76cm) + your height. The quickest way to test this is to step on the rope with one foot, pull both handles up, an d point the bottoms away from your chest.
The end of the cable should stop at the bottom of your sternum or pecs. This guideline originally comes from the Rx Smart Gear coaching methodology. Rx Smart Gear is a jump rope manufacturer and team of jump rope coaches that have coached tens of thousands of recreational and professional athletes over the last 10 years at events, camps, seminars and more. Needless to say, this guideline is based on data and the results of jumpers’ progress, not just traditional hearsay.
Over time you may want to experiment with a rope that’s 2 – 6 inches (5 – 15cm) shorter as you naturally improve. You’ll definitely want to pick a rope that is adjustable [🔗link] so you can test new sizes easily, without cutting or buying a new cable.
If you know for sure that you never want to do more than just a few skills, this sizing guideline is ideal and you likely won’t change your rope by more than a few inches. But if you feel even the slightest interest in exploring freestyle skills in the future, I would highly recommend learning your skills efficiently and following the rope size guidelines in the Freestyle section below.
(P.S. if you don’t really know what skills to learn as a beginner, I have a free 14-Day Kickstart program [🔗link] that includes 30+ video modules with tutorials on all of the most important beginner skills. [🔗link again] ).
Freestyle Jump Rope Length
“Freestyle” jump rope includes thousands of skills beyond just Footwork, Side Swings, and Crosses. This means Double Under skills [⚡️link NFX], Triple Unders, Rope Releases, 40+ foundational Crossing skills, Wraps, Direction Changes, Turns, and plenty more. Because there’s such a variety of skill types, different skill categories work better with a slightly different rope size, so it can be hard to pin down an exact formula for the “best” rope length.
For example, intricate skills where the rope crosses behind your neck, or wraps around your leg, typically work better with a slightly longer rope. But other skills like the Mic Release are easier to do with a shorter rope.
So what’s the right size?
As you’re first learning many of the foundational Freestyle skills, a rope that’s around 2.5 ft + your height (76cm) will be the best balance for many of the types of skills you’ll explore. Using the same sizing method as before (step on the rope with one foot, pull the handles up), the rope should stop at about the middle to bottom of your ribs
This is of course a rough estimate, but it will get you close to that measurement. If you’re very new to freestyle, you may want to add 2 – 6 inches (5 – 15cm) to your rope. This will give you a buffer zone as you learn proper form and try out some of the more intricate skills.
Pro tip: always test your jump rope before cutting it. Having a rope that’s permanently too short sucks, so try it out first!
Ultimately though, your rope length will be decided by the Freestyle skills you like the most — and these could completely change after several years of jumping! For this reason, I really recommend getting comfortable with many different rope lengths and rope types so you have the most options moving forward.
So, aim for a rope length of about 2.5ft + your height (76cm), but always test and experiment with longer/shorter sizes throughout your journey so you can enjoy the freedom of any jump rope style.
Rope Size For Boxers And Fighting Sports
Most fighting sports require raising hands up to protect from the opponent. In this context, the jump rope is a training tool, used to achieve both cardio fatigue as well as arm fatigue. It’s very functional to keep the hands as high as possible while jump roping during this type of training. Using a rope that’s typically 9 feet (274cm) or longer is the best option to achieve this goal. You want to use a rope that’s intentionally too long (based on the other standards) to help achieve this stimulus. The easiest way to size ropes for this is to step on the rope with one foot and pull it up to your arm pits
Because this jumping style depends on making skill more challenging, and purposefully inefficient, the exact size doesn’t matter as much. The goal is no longer to learn the sport of jump rope, but to stress the body with a tool that mimics the stress during competition. This is why you see most boxer’s hands pulled up high and slashing across the body during skills like the Double Under Cross [⚡️ link to NFX tut]
This aesthetic can look very visually appealing, but if you want to explore as many jump rope skills as possible, you need to learn your skills efficiently. You can always come back to learning this boxer style after you have a rock-solid foundation.
Why Size Matters
Rope size is an indirect measure of skill. The better you are at controlling the rope, the more comfortable you’ll be using a shorter rope. Once you have this control you’ll be able to choose a rope size that matches the skills and workout you’re doing.
Rope size also directly affects your form, making skills harder or easier. If your rope is too long it will:
- Wear away much faster than a properly sized rope
- Slap the ground and bounce up to your feet
- Cause really wide arms and poor form
Using the wrong length will make jumping harder. Period. So make sure you’re starting with a rope that’s sized correctly by testing different sizes.
Even when you have the correct rope size, it can be tricky to figure out the right way to jump.
If you want to learn your skills the right way so you can try out all different jump rope styles, consider signing up for my free 14-Day Kickstart where I explain everything you need to know about jump rope, plus give you tutorials on all of the beginner jump rope skill! You can sign up here to get access to over 30+ full-length modules.