Monday, June 4, 2012

My Review of Online Jump Rope Dealers

(I am not sure why I can't format paragraphs....) I am forever in search of the perfect rope. Although I've noted on previous blog entries that the Lifeline Speed Rope is my favorite, it is not perfect. The cord is a bit on the stiff side. Therefore, I have spent countless dollars on various sites looking for the perfect rope. In this blog entry, I will review three sites that I have ordered from A jump rope is a fairly simple equipment....a rope and some handles and you're good to go. But there is a "feel" to it that is a bit undescribable. And what may feel good to me may not feel good to others. So take everything written with a grain of salt. With that said, I recommend ordering from companies that specialize in jump ropes as opposed to sporting good store brands. Ropes that you can find at a sporting good store tend to break faster and there aren't too many size options available. The first site I ordered from is I've ordered their Championship Freestyle Rope, Cable Freestyle Rope, short handled Licorice Rope, beaded rope, the Quad Speed Cable Rope as well as accesories. I will only talk about their beaded and Championship Freestyle because those are the ropes I use the most. Their beaded rope is quite light. I would check to make sure the knots are tied correctly because one of them wasn't and the rope slid through the handle and the bead went flying everywhere. It should be tied in a figure 8 knot for security. The handles aren't unbreakable but then again, I was doing releases on concrete so I was probably treating it too harshly. But overall, a good beaded rope, I went with the one inch beads and had my color combination custom made (a nice option). The Championship Freestyle is a long handled rope that is designed to make executing certain moves like crosses easier. Nice choice of handle colors, maybe not a big deal to some but it's a nice option to have. The cord is a bit thin and that is the one critique I have of this company. I wish they offered different cord thickness for their other ropes (e.g. short handle licorice rope) but they are all the same. The strength of this company (aside from their customer service that all the companies I'm reviewing excel at) is that their ropes are fully adjustable. They have these cord ends that you pull apart and can slide along the length of the rope so the size of the rope will be perfect for you. While tying knots is a fine option, adjusting it this way is more precise and aesthetically is more pleasing. Another great thing about this company is that you can buy replacement handles, cords and cord ends if your rope breaks. So no need to buy a whole new rope. When ordering your rope, it may be advisable to order spare parts. Overall, a great company and highly recommended. The next site is . I've ordered their standard speed rope, their fitness speed rope and the Lite Beads beaded rope. Onething I really love about this company is the variety. Their PVC cords come in 3 different thickness. Their standard speed rope is in the middle (about the same thickness as the Lifeline Speed Rope but more pliable). Their fitness rope is their thickest (about the same thickness as the Sports Authority Professional Speed Rope that I reviewed in a previous blog). I don't own their long handled freestyle rope but it's their thinnest cord (I'm assuming about the same thickness as the Championship Freestyle). The handles on the standard speed rope is a bit on the small side, the handles on the fitness speed rope is about right for me. Their ropes are not adjustable so you have to tie knots to make the rope right for you (luckily, their 9 foot rope is sized thing to watch out for, not all 9 foot rope are sized equally. There is a surprising amount of variance between companies). They offer a wide range of rope length so jumper that are extremely tall or short shouldn't have a problem getting a rope that works for them. The standard speed rope is very nice, the cord thickness is just right and this will probably be the plastic rope I replace the Lifeline with. They also offer a variety of bead sizes. They have standard beads (either 1.5 or 0.75 inches long), Power beads for a bit more weight to give you a harder workout or their Lite Beads (1 or 2 inches). You can also choose to make your own rope, they will send you a string, beads and handles and you assemble the rope yourself. A nice option to have because it is much cheaper. I ordered their Lite Beads beaded rope. You need to buy a minimum 6 Lite Bead ropes (there's no minimum for the other bead type) but they are not expensive (roughly $6 a rope). The beads seem a bit heavier than the ones from but when swinging it, didn't feel too much of a difference. The 9 foot bead ropes from were much shorter than then 9 foot bead ropes The 9 ft rope from was just right for me while I had to take out some beads from the rope from (not a big deal either way as its better for the rope to be too long than too short). Like, a quality company and highly recommended. The last site I want to review is I tend to view this company as more high end for the competitive jumper although they offer various types of ropes. I've only ordered one rope from them, the R1 cable speed rope. But I feel compelled to write a review because this rope blew me away. I've liked a lot of ropes but none has ever blown me away. The handles are amazing, much smoother than the Quad Speed Cable Rope from The turn is almost effortless, that is how smooth it is. I call it a jump rope on steroids. Yet you still retain a feel for the rope. When stringing together multiple double unders with a plastic speed rope, my arm starts to tire and most I ever hit was around 65 (I have to qualify this by noting that I lift weights before I skip so some pre-fautigue). With the R1, I was able to hit 99 (not 100, 99!) the second time I used it. Then after another failed attempt at 100 (98 this time), I shattered my best by getting 108 unbroken double unders. Not all that impressive in the scheme of things but I'm not all that great a jump roper anyway. The R1 cable speed rope is just a super rope and anyone interested in speed skipping or breaking your double under best would do well to get this rope. So that's my review of 3 online jump rope dealer. You can't go wrong with any of them. At the very least, you'll get your order in timely fashion. Just like I've bought many ropes to find the right one for me, you'll probably have to order a few to find the right fit. But these companies are a good place to start. Happy jumping!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Jump rope videos

I really need to start writing more but teaching has been a bit time consuming. Although I wrote I would not record myself in this blog: , I eventually did.

You can check them out on my YouTube page

Be kind, I am old...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Favorite Jump Ropers

Yes, another blog about jump ropes...

Although I am self taught, I watch jump rope videos on YouTube to steal moves...I mean get inspiration and motivation to skip rope. Throughout the last couple of years, I have come across some favorites.

First and the man that inspired me to start jumping rope is Adam Carolla. The jump rope scene is from his movie "The Hammer" (buy it here ). The video is actually the second jump rope scene in the movie. There is an earlier, more comedic one in which he is trying to impress his female student and later love interest.

When I saw these scenes, I thought it would be a fun way to do cardio. I despise running and find machines such as the treadmill and elliptical mind numbingly boring, even with an iPod.

Then I saw a video of Floyd Mayweather Jr skipping. I thought it looked so cool (even cooler than Carolla!) and thought if I get to that level, I would look cool too (I think I have actually surpassed it but don't look nearly as cool. Plus Money is like 10 zillion times the boxer I am....)

I think most people who are hardcore into skipping rope has come across Buddy Lee. With Carolla and Mayweather, I thought I can at least achieve that level, Buddy Lee was the first skipper I saw that I thought "no way I'd be that good"

To be honest, I think a lot of what Buddy Lee is doing isn't too hard. A lot of it is actually side swings. But he is ungodly fast with the rope.

Then I came across a woman named Rene Bibaud and my jaw dropped. The things she does with the rope are unbelievable.

It was the first time I saw someone do rope releases and catches. I thought it was magic. It turned out that doing these aren't too hard at a very basic level but to do it as smoothly as she does it takes a lot of practice. Those intricate crossing tricks she does like between her legs she does at about 1:27 is a little beyond me since my hamstring is very inflexible. One thing to notice in this video is that I think she misses a couple of times. But the real experts know how to recover from them smoothly (I just stop and get all frustrated...)

Another jump roper that I enjoy watching although there isn't as much videos of her on YouTube is Molly Metz. What impressed me about this video is the smoothness and technique of her double unders, her speed and her intensity

There is a video of her doing double unders for 10 minutes without missing. For 99.99% of jump ropers, you would either gas out or miss if you tried to do double unders for 10 minutes.

Brings me to my final entry. I think his name is Louis Garcia and he is part of a duo called the Rebel Ropers. They appear about 6 minutes into this video

Now you can probably search through YouTube and find jump ropers as proficient and maybe even more advance than Garcia (there are jump ropers who do backflips and spin the rope under them mid-flip) but they lack the style and grace of Louis Garcia. I almost want to say he is the Michael Jackson (dance wise) of jump rope. Sure there are a lot of dancers out there who are as good or better than MJ but no one really looked as cool. And that's what I think of Louis Garcia, no one looks as cool as he does skipping rope. I am a fan of dance and my vision of where I can take my jump roping was to look like Garcia does here, smooth and suave. Needless to say, I'm not but you have to reach for the stars in endeavors you are passionate about.

I have been tempted to record myself skipping and putting it up on YouTube but decided against it for a couple of reasons. One, I am too self conscious about appearing on video. And although compared to most recreational jump ropers, I am pretty damn good, I pale compared to most of these jumpers. And who really wants to see a second (or third) rate jumper?

Friday, September 2, 2011

My Favorite Jump Ropes

Boy, I have let this thing slide. A lot had changed in a few months, I am now an Assistant Professor of Biology. Okay, it's really "Adjunct Assistant Professor", just sounded cooler without the adjunct...

One thing that hasn't changed is my love of jumping rope. In fact, I've probably picked up a few more tricks since the last time I updated my blog. Thought I'd write about some of my favorite jump ropes that I've used in my 2+ years of jumping rope. There are also a few that I wasn't too crazy about that I won't mention. But remember, you should be able to at least do most of the basic jumps with any rope. Ultimately, it's not the rope, it's the jumper. If you can't skip rope with a cheapo brand that you bought at Walmart, buying a $40 Buddy Lee jump rope won't magically transform you into an elite jumper (for the record, I have never tried a Buddy Lee jump rope). Like anything in life, there are some brands that you will inexplicably gravitate toward. I probably can't even explain why I prefer some ropes over another but I'll try.

One thing I really want to stress is that for the most part, a plastic (PVC or "licorice") speed rope that costs around $5-$7 are the best ones to buy. Don't get caught up in getting some special "ball bearing handles" and most sales person at sporting good store don't know anything about jump ropes so don't listen to them if they try to push a more expensive rope with ball bearing. One guy tried to steer me toward a ball bearing rope and told me that it's faster. This guy didn't look like he's jumped a day in his life and his ignorance showed. Now on to some of my favorite ropes...

Lifeline Speed Rope. My all time favorite and I am sad that they discontinued this model (they just sell their beaded and heavy ropes). Very simple rope that they sold for around $6. One thing I realized with this rope is that further up the point where the rope meets the handle is, the faster you spin and the lighter is feels. I'll try to explain this point better. A lot of rope, especially the ones sold in sporting good store, the ropes "stopper" (which prevents the rope from going through the handle) is at the end of the handle. But in the Lifeline speed rope, the rope meets the handle somewhere in the middle. I think this is similar to "choking up" on a baseball bat. Also, in physics term, the point of axis of rotation is closer to you so you can exert more force and the rope spins faster. Another thing I love about this rope is the plastic cord. It's not super pliable, some might find it a little bit on the stiff side but I can still do all the crosses and wraps (I've had some real stiff rope that you couldn't do wraparounds with). I also feel as though the cord is like a hybrid PVC and cable which also contributes to the fast spinning nature. Because the material isn't super pliable, it gives the cord a nice density which facilitates faster spinning. I wish Lifeline would bring this back...I did buy up a lot from a distributor so I have some stocked up plus another thing I like about this rope is that it lasts a bit longer than other PVC ropes. I'm sure if others tried this rope, they won't like it as much as I do. But it's like finding the perfect dance partner, it just seems like this rope was made for me.

Ex-U-Rope licorice speed rope. This is a recent buy, brought on by trying to find a replacement for the sad day that my supply of Lifeline rope runs out. Like the Lifeline rope, the point where the rope meets the handle is higher up so it feels lighter than if the rope met the handle at the end. The handle is also well made, actually a bit better than the Lifeline. It's molded to fit your hand better. I haven't had this long enough to see how durable it is. However, and this is something which I didn't mention with the Lifeline but it's also applicable to the Lifeline rope, the handle seems to be coated with rubber. Therefore, the friction between the rope and handle (which is what causes the rope to snap) is not as harsh than if the handle was pure plastic. The cord is more pliable and slightly lighter than the Lifeline but doesn't spin as smoothly. It doesn't whip through the air like the Lifeline. Still, this is a nice rope, pretty inexpensive (I've seen it as low as $3) and probably my replacement for the Lifeline at some point.

Championship Freestyle from (PVC version, not the cable one). I think your best bet is to buy jump ropes from a company that doesn't manufacture a million different products (e.g. Altus). This company is awesome, great service and products. This rope is specially made for jumpers that like to do a lot of tricks. The handles are extra long which makes some tricks easier to perform. Due to my relatively broad back from lifting weights and shoulder inflexibility, I'm a bit hit or miss with a trick like the front/back cross (AKA the EB) using ropes with a "regular" handle. The longer handle gives some solid length which makes it easier to do the front/back cross. So this rope has that going for it. Until I found Lifeline speed rope, this was my #1 rope. I'm not super crazy about the cord, it's a bit too light and thin for me. This is just a preference, some people might like it lighter. I can't spin this rope as fast as the Lifeline and Ex-U-Rope. Might be due to the longer handle and also the rope meeting the handle and the end of the handle (I know this is a very esoteric point). Mostly, I like this rope because it makes executing tricks easier.

Beaded rope with regular handle from I started off with a beaded rope. I rarely use beaded ropes now, every once in a while when I skip outdoors, I like to whip out the beaded. I don't use plastic ropes on concrete because the concrete can wear out the PVC but the beads, if they are well made, is durable enough to withstand this contact. I also think it is the best rope for beginners. It's slower than a plastic speed rope and since it's a bit heavy, if your feet hit it, there is enough weight to keep it going. It's also the best rope to learn tricks with. The bead helps the rope keep a nice arc and makes crosses easier to do. The first rope I ever jumped with was the Lifeline beaded rope that was in my gym but these days, that rope is a bit too heavy. Plus I have relatively small hands and the handles are a bit too bulky. But the beaded rope from is a lot lighter. Plus they have a lot of different color beads so you can make some cool looking ropes. A nice change of pace from the speed rope.

Bodyfit Professional Speed Rope from Sports Authority. Even though I pretty much offered you money to avoid speed ropes with ball bearing, the first rope that I truly loved was this rope which have ball bearings. I've had a few of these types of ropes, most notably from Altus and Harbinger, but this one was far superior. It turned a lot smoother and the cord was very pliable. I never use this rope anymore because after I tried the Championship Freestyle and the Lifeline Speed rope, it is just too heavy. It is also a bit more expensive than the others I mentioned (around $12) but since I can just go to the store as opposed to ordering from the internet, I save on shipping.

This isn't an exhaustive list of ropes I've used in my brief time skipping rope and I'm sure I'll experiment with others in the future. Anyway, the picture on this blog is of me with my Lifeline speed rope (I call it the Fanta Orange rope because a bottle of Fanta Orange soda has a green cap like the handles. Most will probably think it's a Carrot Rope...)