Jumping Rope For BJJ: Should You?

March 22, 2022

Jumping rope, aka skipping, has been around for decades as a tool for developing fighters. While it is mainly used within the striking arts, grapplers, including BJJ practitioners, can significantly benefit from this tool.

Jumping rope is an effective training method for BJJ as it develops explosiveness of the feet and ankles, the robustness of the ankle, and cardio all within one exercise.

If jumping rope does all of this, shouldn’t we do it frequently? The benefits are great, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other alternatives or that jumping rope is essential.

Benefits Of Jumping Rope For BJJ

While boxers are well-known for jumping rope, BJJ practitioners rarely use the jump rope for their BJJ preparation. You’re missing out on some epic benefits by not jumping rope.

Improve Reactive Strength

Jumping rope is a low-level plyometric activity for the foot and ankle. Plyometric means a rapid change between eccentric and concentric muscle action. So, when the feet hit the ground, there is an eccentric action through the calf and Achilles’ tendon, which is rapidly reversed into a muscle shortening concentric action on the way up.

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This develops the elastic ability of the ankle, where you’re able to enhance the stretch-shortening cycle to take advantage of elastic energy. Essentially, the rapid eccentric contraction stores loads of elastic energy to enhance force production during the concentric phase.

Ever wondered why you can jump higher from a standing vs. seated position? This is why. The effectiveness of jumping rope can be seen in endurance runners where 10 weeks of jumping rope for 10-20 minutes per week led to an 8% increase in arch stiffness, 6% increase in drop jump height, and 13% increase in reactive strength [1].

Become More Explosive

Improving your ability to use the stretch-shortening cycle directly translates to being a more explosive BJJ player. That means your stand-up game will be at another level. More explosive double legs and faster sprawls are two areas you can expect to see improvements.

The same study referenced above saw a 10% improvement in vertical jump height and a 6% improvement in jump height from a static position. Safe to say, a little bit of jumping rope each week can take your explosive BJJ strength to another level.

Bulletproof Your Ankles

Compliant “loose” ankles are at a higher risk of injury. That is where you see people who can’t put the brakes on fast enough before rolling their ankles. Jumping rope enhances active stiffness of the ankle. Not to be confused with tightness or lack of mobility.

Active stiffness is the ability to redirect force rapidly. For example, when jumping rope. The ankle has to quickly hit the ground and return to the air as fast as possible. This stiffness can reduce the risk of rolling your ankle.

Improve Your Cardio

The most well-known benefit of jumping rope is cardio. Skipping can be a simple, non-specific modality to develop aerobic conditioning for BJJ. 5 – 10-minute intervals are an effective period to jump rope.

Should You Jump Rope For BJJ?

Jumping rope is not a training prerequisite for BJJ. However, it is an excellent tool for developing explosiveness through the ankle. Whether you jump rope is down to personal preference. If you enjoy the activity, use it. If you don’t like jumping rope, there are many alternatives, such as extensive plyometric circuits, which you can see in my video below.

Best Jump Rope For BJJ

Most plastic jump ropes from your local store will do the trick. They can, however, get knotted and tangled easily. If you want to level up your skipping game, opt for a speed jump rope. The Elite Surge 3.0 Speed Rope is one of my favorites and has served me well.

Should You Jump Rope For BJJ

It can be a little tougher on the feet and legs when you miss compared to a plastic jump rope, so be aware!

Summary

Jumping rope is an effective tool for BJJ. You can develop lower leg explosiveness, robustness, and cardio all within the same activity. If you’re short on time, it is an excellent option to use in your BJJ preparation.

References

1. García-Pinillos, F., Lago-Fuentes, C., Latorre-Román, P. A., Pantoja-Vallejo, A., & Ramirez-Campillo, R. (2020). Jump-Rope Training: Improved 3-km Time-Trial Performance in Endurance Runners via Enhanced Lower-Limb Reactivity and Foot-Arch Stiffness. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance1(aop), 1-7.

About the author 

James de Lacey

I am a professional strength & conditioning coach that works with professional and international level teams and athletes. I am a published scientific researcher and have completed my Masters in Sport & Exercise Science. I've combined my knowledge of research and experience to bring you the most practical bites to be applied to your combat training.


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