Finally dial in those double-unders at the gym with the best CrossFit jump rope.
Double-unders. That hyphenated word strikes fear into the heart of many CrossFitters. In a world that’s mostly made up of brute strength, endurance, and grit, double-unders are one of the rare movements that require a combination of speed, timing, and patience — as well as a good amount of strength and endurance.
For the uninitiated, a double-under jump sounds simple — it’s jumping rope, only the rope passes underneath your feet twice every time you jump, hence the moniker. Like many things in CrossFit, they are simple, but not easy.
It takes a good amount of practice and training (and a good amount of stinging whips from the rope) to time your jumps and control the whip of the rope to hear the satisfying whap whap of the rope smacking the floor twice when you jump. But first and foremost — you need to get the right jump rope.
Most gyms will have loaner ropes hanging on the wall, but there’s no guarantee that any of them will be the right length. Often, you’ll be stuck working with a rope that’s too long or short, and every CrossFitter knows what a futile endeavor that is.
Besides the right rope length, needs will vary from athlete to athlete. However, a few things are common to every good speed rope: solid grip, fast whip speed, and durability.
After weeks of researching and years of testing in the gym, we found the best CrossFit jump ropes around. Scroll through to see our recommended buys, or jump to the category you’re looking for:
Best CrossFit Jump Ropes of 2021
Best Overall: RX Smart Gear EVO G2
There’s a reason that RX Smart Gear is the official training rope for USA boxing and wrestling (among others). Its custom-made ropes are the epitome of the phrase “high quality.” The solid build, great grip, blinding speed, and control of these ropes is absolutely unreal.
The EVO G2 Speed Rope ($150) is our favorite rope for its speed, light weight, and well-crafted handles. Made of 100% lightweight aerospace-grade aluminum, the contoured handles prevent slippage no matter how sweaty your hands get. The recently added fingertip knurling gives you more speed control and whip accuracy.
Besides the handle grip, the most noticeable difference between the G2 and other ropes is that the cable clips to the end of the rope, rather than being integrated into the handle itself. This gives the rope more freedom to move, allowing for a quicker turnover and responsiveness that you don’t see on any other rope.
Consequently, the cables are not adjustable, but RX Smart Gear has a handy sizing selection on its website. This lets you know the perfect length for your height.
The choices on these custom-made ropes extend to the cable weight as well, starting from heavier cables for beginners to lighter, faster cables for advanced athletes.
- Length: 6’6”-9’6”
- Pros: Excellent grip, wide variety of cable types
- Cons: Price
Best Deal: RPM Comp4
One of the most popular jump ropes for double-unders, the Comp4 ($70) is the best rope you can get for the price. The extremely grippy handles are made of 100% machined aluminum, keeping the weight low and sporting a low profile.
Aggressive knurling keeps the grips in your hands even when the sweat starts to pour. Even when our hands were slick with sweat, a dose of chalk made the handles as grippy as our favorite barbell (the Rogue Chan bar powder-coated in black, if you were wondering).
The handles are also built with a dual bearing system that allows the cable to spin freely without tangling. And the standard bare metal cable is shockingly fast — so fast, in fact, that it took a good 15 minutes to recalibrate my jumps to my Comp4’s speed.
As a side note, bare cable can also whip, which hurts like crazy and leaves red stripe welts if you miss a jump. The ropes come in a standard 12-foot length, but they can be adjusted to any length to accommodate an athlete’s height.
- Length: Adjustable
- Pros: Good price, lightweight, durable, replaceable cables
- Cons: The included bare cable stings when you whip yourself, but coated cables are available as well
Best Rope for Big Hands: Rogue SR-1L Long Handle Bearing Speed Rope
If you’ve got giant hands, or just want a bigger wingspan with your rope, Rogue Fitness has you … handled … with the SR-1L Long Handle Bearing Speed Rope ($26). Based on the SR-1 rope, one of the most popular jump ropes for CrossFit, the SR-1L adds an inch to the nylon resin handle.
This ups the length from 6.75 inches to 7.75 inches, and there’s also a shorter rope for people with smaller hands. Two Hi-Precision cartridge ball bearings in each handle let the rope spin freely. Plus, the wide ends of the handles help you keep your grip while swinging the rope.
The coated steel ropes all arrive at 11 feet in length, which is fine for taller athletes. They are easily adjusted via the screw-in clasp at one end; the other end is fixed. The 2.33mm adjustable screw makes for easy adjustment.
But, occasionally the screw will loosen up and fly off in the middle of a workout. This lets the rope fly out of the handle and leaves you wandering around the floor, feeling around for a tiny screw. We love this rope for its speed and utility at its price point, but if you have one, it’s a good idea to have a few extra screws stashed nearby.
- Length: Adjustable
- Pros: Great price point, durable handles, variable hand size
- Cons: Smooth handles get slippery; securing screw can fall out
Best for Beginners: Elite SRS Cable Freestyle Jump Rope
One of the most important double-under skills is the ability to control the speed of your rope. As you fatigue, your jumps may be slower, and if you don’t have the ability to speed up or slow down the swing of your cable, you’re going to catch your toes and fail your jumps.
Thicker cables provide more tactile feedback and are more responsive to hand movement, easing the learning curve for newer jumpers. Also, thicker cables move slower, which gives athletes more time to jump as they learn their timing.
The Cable Freestyle Jump Rope ($15) sports a 3.2mm PVC cable that works well for beginners. It rides the line between the standard 1-2mm thinner cables, which have a sharper learning curve, and 4mm cables, which can be too slow to learn to double under with.
Rubber grips on the handle help keep it from slipping from your hands. Plus, the 11-foot rope can be cut and adjusted to fit any jumper’s height.
- Bonus: At this price point, you can swap it out for a faster rope as soon as you’re ready.
- Length: Adjustable
- Pros: Cable spins slowly, giving beginners a chance to learn timing
- Cons: Too slow for intermediate and advanced athletes
Best Weighted Jump Rope: Crossrope Get Strong
CrossFit is a sport that can entail anything. Occasionally, heavy rope workouts pop up now and then, and if you’ve used weighted jump ropes, you know why. Heavier ropes ramp up the intensity in the forearms, shoulders, and upper back, all the while forcing you to maintain your speed and timing to keep the rope moving.
Crossrope’s Get Strong rope set ($139) is the best weighted rope that we’ve seen by leaps and bounds. Rather than using weighted handles, they use weighted cables to add resistance. Premium, grippy handles sport a fast-clip system that lets you change out cables easily.
The super-durable ropes can be used on any surface (most ropes can only be used indoors on rubber mats). You won’t do double-unders right away, if ever, but the extra weight on these cables provides some grueling workouts.
Each rope purchase comes with the light version of Crossrope’s in-house programming. The programming offers tutorials, fitness challenges, their 10 most recent workouts, and activity tracking. Users have the option to upgrade to the $10 per month membership with access to the full library of challenges and workouts, workout filtering options, and a feature that counts your jumps for you.
- Length: 8’-9’6”
- Pros: Fast cable switching system, burly cables, wide workout database
- Cons: not ideal for double-unders
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose
Most speed jump ropes come with cables that weigh 1-2 ounces with minor variances depending on length and coating. The exception is weighted ropes, which can range from one to several pounds for added resistance. If CrossFit (and getting double-unders) is your main use, go for the lighter ropes.
Length & Adjustability
Length varies on height and, to a lesser extent, wingspan. But the best way to measure is to stand on the middle of the rope and pull the handles straight up as high as they’ll go. A rope that fits will reach your armpits at the handles.
Most ropes come with the longest available cable and allow you to adjust as you see fit. Remember, you can always cut it shorter, but you can’t put back what you cut off. Make your first cut to the rope a little longer than you think you’ll need. If it’s still too long, cut more off.
Steel Rope vs. Other Materials
For the sake of durability, most of the cables that you see will be made of steel. The big choice is the type of rope: a bare steel cable or a coated steel cable.
Bare steel cables are faster, making them better for speed jumping. However, they also hurt a lot more when you make a mistake and whip yourself. On the other hand, a coated cable stings less (it still stings) when you whip, but it moves slower.
Established brands like RX Smart Gear and RPM have dialed in their handle-making processes, so opt for one of these to ensure that your handles will last a while. Cables are less sturdy and go through tens of thousands of repetitions sliding against the ground at high speeds.
So, they will wear out, but they are also comparatively inexpensive and easy to replace. Coated cables last a bit longer than bare steel, as the coatings provide a bit of protection, but the difference is incremental.
How Do I Choose a CrossFit Jump Rope?
For intermediate and advanced skill levels, what you’re paying for is the jump rope handles. Make sure to pick one that works well for you — consider grip comfort, bearing speed, and durability.
Aluminum handles are lightweight and tend to last longer. Handles with knurling and contours work well for maintaining grip. If you’re new to jumping rope, opt for a slower, thicker cable (not a heavy cable) that moves slower. When you can consistently do double-unders with that, upgrade to a thinner, faster rope.
How Long Should Your CrossFit Jump Rope Be?
It depends on your height. Some people use arm length as a factor, but the difference is usually negligible. An athlete who is 5 feet tall will most likely do well with a 6- to 7-foot rope. If you’re over 6 feet tall, a 9- to 10-foot rope should fit.
Many ropes are adjustable so you can customize your fit. Ropes that aren’t adjustable usually have a scale on the website that helps you choose the right rope for your height.
What Is a Speed Rope Good For?
In CrossFit, people generally use speed ropes for double-unders. Their thin cables and frictionless bearings provide enough speed for the rope to pass under your feet two (if you’re a master, three) times underfoot with each jump.
What Muscles Does a Jump Rope Work?
Obviously, your calves should be sore in the days following a double-under workout. During the workout, users will notice fatigue in the shoulders and upper back. This is because the user has to maintain a specific posture and tension to keep the rope going. Additionally, the lungs and heart will get a good workout as the reps stack up.
Weighted ropes do all the above with more intensity, and they put a good beating on the forearms as well.
Have a favorite CrossFit jump rope we missed? Let us know in the comments below for future updates to this article.