Benefits of Jumping Rope for Athletes

How to Incorporate Jumping Rope for Athletes into Your Programming

By Tim Meyer

If your child plays sports, then you know that the quickest, strongest, fastest, and most agile players are usually the most successful. What if I could give you a simple exercise that, done consistently, could increase just about all of those attributes with a minimum amount of expense and time? You’d jump all over it, right?

Well, that’s just it. Your kids need to jump. Specifically, they need to jump rope!

Benefits of Jumping Rope for Athletes

Let’s take a look at what actually happens when you jump rope.

First, your brain must communicate with your arms and legs simultaneously to turn the rope and hop off the ground. So, right off the bat, we are working on neuromuscular patterns, body awareness, and coordination. Once you integrate more complex jump rope patterns, you further increase the level of effectiveness of the exercise. These issues are highly overlooked in the athletic development of young athletes, yet they are critical to their success.

Next, let’s break it down into the physical world to see how it can help us from a movement standpoint. Moving from the ground up, jumping rope strengthens the muscles of the feet, ankles, and knees, lending active stability to the joints of the leg. Sport movements like sprinting, cutting, jumping, and landing significantly stress the ankle joint. The stronger the muscular support, the less stress on the joints and ligaments, and the decreased likelihood of injury.

In addition, jumping rope is a precursor to bigger jumps—and bigger landings. Consistently landing from a jump incorrectly is a surefire way to get injured. Jumping rope properly teaches the athlete how to land and absorb impact with “soft knees” and by landing on the toes before transferring pressure to the balls of the feet.

Finally, it is a speed and strength developer. Jumping rope strengthens the Achilles tendon and trains the gastrocneumius and soleus (calf muscles) to be able to absorb force and quickly transfer it back into another jump. In other words, jumping rope is a highly effective yet low risk plyometric activity.

Programming Jumping Rope for Athletes

Try integrating this simple jump rope progression into your programs. It should only take 10-15 minutes. Rest for 15 seconds after each “style,” 1 minute after each round. Complete three rounds.

Regular hops: 30 seconds

Scissor hops (feet split on each jump): 30 seconds

2-foot side-to-side hops (skiers): 30 seconds

Jumping jacks: 30 seconds

Single leg hops: 30 seconds each

Get your young athlete to jump rope and you might just see a real change in how athletic they can be!

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