JUMP ROPE SIZING GUIDE
Sizing your jump rope is important in order to make sure that learning and progression is effective as possible. We find that many people tend to use ropes that are too long for them which can hinder learning and proper jump rope form and cause unnecessary impact on the rope.
General Jump Rope Length Guidelines
Sizing a jump rope is impacted by personal needs and attributes which makes it tricky to have a sizing guide that is perfect for each individual. For example, arm length, workout objective and experience level can all impact the optimal rope length, not just your height.
The rope length guidelines below are for general rope work and if you are doing a mix of tricks, freestyle and cardio and are relative to your experience level. Where we use the terminology of of 'height plus' this is related to the length of rope in between the handles (not including handles). Where we talk about rope length in relation to a part of the body, this is measured by stepping on the centre of the rope with one foot, bringing the feet together and then pulling both handles up so you can see where the length of rope ends in relation to your body (see video below). Where we talk about skill level, in order to be at intermediate level, I would expect basic bounce to be low and smooth and for the user to have a few beginner skills under their belt (such as basic crosses, leg crosses and basic footwork variations) as well as decent arm and hand positioning (see form guide here) which is further improved by shortening the rope!
Please note that everyone has different body shapes and objectives and so these are only rough guidelines, you need to see what you are comfortable with once you get started but all efforts should be made to shorten rope length over time to improve technique and efficiency of rope movement. Only cut the rope once you think it is a length that is suitable and comfortable for your own personal needs and objectives.
Beginner - rope length in between the handles should be around your height plus 3ft / bottom of handles are no higher than lower chest / this allows plenty of room for error. This length is only a starting point and all efforts should be made to go shorter. If you can, then shorten the rope more than this if you notice that you have excess rope above the head and below the feet as you start jumping. Ensure you shorten the rope further as you progress in your jump rope journey which will help with your form. I would expect users to shorten their ropes more towards the intermediate length within their first 1-2 months of jumping.
Intermediate - rope length in between handles should be around your height plus 2ft / bottom of handles are no higher than waist line / this allows some room for error and enough to learn skills - this length will start to improve the rope efficiency and your form as there will be less excess rope. It will also force the user into the more optimal compact position which is elbows back, wrists next to the hips and palms facing out.
Advanced - rope length in between handles is around your height plus 1ft / bottom of handles are no higher than hips / this means no margin for error but skills can all be performed with optimum efficiency. The rope is much more efficient and aerodynamic and with less rope excess, the rope is going to impact the ground far less and move faster through the air. Not many people will be using a rope at this length as is more for the application of speed jumping and competition.
Note - you can shorten progressively between these length guidelines and I would advise against doing a large change in rope length, rather small progressions as you feel comfortable.
In addition, with time and as you jump more consistently, you will likely have more than one rope where one of ropes is very strict on length so you can perform certain skills efficiently and at speed. Whilst the 2nd rope may have 3-5 inches extra length which you can use for training new skills that you are less proficient at. Having a main rope and training rope is something which regular freestyle jumpers tend to obtain in the course of their jump rope journey.
So if you are new to skipping, then start with a rope length that is around your height plus 3ft (in between the handles) to get a feel for jumping and then progress down in length once you start to learn new skills and are comfortable with the basics. Shortening the rope will help improve your form and efficiency in the long run even if it may feel uncomfortable at the start. I actually challenge users to shorten their ropes an inch or 2 more than they think to get them to progress to that intermediate level length sooner rather than later.
For most applications in freestyle jumping, having a middle ground between efficiency and room for error is most common and as you progress most freestyle jumpers will be at around the height plus 2ft mark allowing performance of wide variety of skill types including wraps, double unders, releases, etc. You will see some extremely proficient freestyle jumpers have ropes much shorter than this!
Note - if you want to go faster and do faster mic releases, then shorter ropes will help with this!
If you are focusing purely on double unders, you may want some more room for error!
I hope you found this guide useful. If you are unsure about sizing at all, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.