Jumping rope is entrenched in Muay Thai fight preparation. It's a great exercise, has stood the test of time, and is used extensively by professional Muay Thai fighters. But why is it used so often?
Jumping rope is an effective training method for Muay Thai. It develops explosiveness of the feet and ankles, the robustness of the ankle, and cardio all within one exercise.
The benefits extend further than these, and I consider jumping rope an excellent way to prepare the lower body for more intense exercise.
Muay Thai Jump Rope Benefits
There’s a reason jumping rope has stood the test of time. It’s an effective training tool that derives multiple benefits specifically for MMA. Here’s a list!
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.
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 .
We all know the importance of footwork to Muay Thai. From staying light on the feet to evading punches and kicks to delivering your own punches, counter punches, and kicks through various angles.
Depending on the session’s goal, Muay Thai fighters will vary how they skip to increase or decrease the intensity.
Become More Explosive
Improving your ability to use the stretch-shortening cycle directly translates to being a more explosive Muay Thai fighter. 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.
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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 Muay Thai strength to another level.
Rhythm Between Hands And Feet
Rhythm is the basis of every sport. Rhythm in Muay Thai is often seen as the one that seamlessly evades punches and kicks and can land their own in an almost God mode type state. It seems like they can see everything in slow motion. Watch any Saenchai highlight reel!
This is a product of great agility, footwork, and technique. Jumping rope is one tool to help develop rhythm between the hands and the feet outside of technical Muay Thai training.
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.
Hard punches come from significant contributions from the legs. That means strong and stiff legs can transfer more force from the ground to the hands more efficiently.
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 Muay Thai. 5 – 10-minute intervals are an effective period to jump rope.
Should You Jump Rope For Muay Thai?
Jumping rope is not a training prerequisite for Muay Thai. 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.
How To Jump Rope For Muay Thai
This video above will give you some ideas on jumping rope for Muay Thai.
Best Jump Rope For Muay Thai
Many Muay Thai fighters prefer a weighted jump rope. While weighted, they can often be easier to use as it stops the rope from becoming tangled while skipping. It can be a little tougher on the feet and legs when you miss compared to an unweighted jump rope, so be aware!
Jumping rope is an effective tool for Muay Thai. You can develop lower leg explosiveness, robustness, and cardio all within the same activity. It is an excellent option to use in your Muay Thai preparation if you're short on time.
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 Performance, 1(aop), 1-7.