The best boxers in the world all jump rope. Not all training traditions remain because of merit. However, jumping rope seems to be a boxing training tradition that has stood the test of time for a good reason.
Boxer’s jump rope to not only improve their footwork around the ring, but to develop aerobic endurance along with reactive strength ability. Jumping rope is a low level, plyometric activity that can be performed for long durations and high frequencies.
Boxers have been jumping rope for decades. But do you really need to jump rope to be a great boxer?
Do Boxers Need To Jump Rope?
Need is a strong word to use. To be a good boxer, do you need to hit the heavy bag? Or speedball? Probably not, but they are great tools to develop particular areas of your boxing.
The same goes with jumping rope. Could you become a great boxer without skipping? Sure. But jumping rope is a great tool for boxers which has been around for decades as a way to prepare boxers for fights.
Just check out some of the old footage of boxers jumping rope.
What Are The Benefits Of Jumping Rope?
There’s a reason jumping rope has stood the test of time. It’s an effective training tool that derives multiple benefits specifically for boxing. Here’s a list!
We all know the importance of footwork to boxing. From staying light on the feet to evade punches, to deliver your own punches and counter punches through various angles.
Boxers will vary the way they skip to mimic various footwork patterns they’d perform when boxing. For example, the boxers skip which you’ll see further down this article.
Rhythm Between Hands And Feet
Rhythm is the basis of every sport. Rhythm in boxing is often seen as the one who seamlessly evades punches and is able to land their own in an almost God mode type state. It seems like they can see everything in slow motion.
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Hard punches come from great contributions from the legs. That means strong and stiff legs are able to transfer more force, more efficiently from the ground through to the hands.
Bounce And Quickness
Reactive strength is probably the most obvious benefit of jumping rope to the naked eye. Jumping rope is a plyometric action meaning a rapid eccentric then concentric occurs with every bounce of the foot.
This improves the elastic ability of the spring-like tendon and the ability of the legs to use this elastic energy which translates into faster movements around the ring when bouncing.
Jumping rope is a very low intensity plyometric so it can be performed frequently with little to no fatigue making it a perfect supplemental exercise for boxing.
While not specifically in boxers, a 2020 study investigated jump rope training in endurance runners . They found after 10 weeks of jumping rope as a 5-minute warm-up 2-4x a week, runners increased arch stiffness by 8%, drop jump height by 6%, and reactive strength by 13%.
If you don’t perform other reactive strength training outside of boxing, then you can likely derive similar benefits from jumping rope.
The same study also looked at explosiveness through jumping. These runners improved their vertical jump by 10.5% and their jump from a static position by 6%. Improvements in lower body power are likely to transfer to punching power.
Endurance (Aerobic Conditioning)
These improvements in reactive strength also led to a 3% improvement in 3 km run time. Which meant the improvements in “bounciness” made the runners more efficient when running, known as running economy.
Running economy is affected by many variables, but improvements in reactive strength can reduce the necessary contributions from the muscle when performing cyclical, plyometric tasks like running or bouncing around the ring.
Further, performing skipping within a technical boxing circuit or on its own for long durations with heart rates between 130-150 BPM develop your aerobic base that underpins your boxing performance.
Is Jumping Rope Better Than Running?
In my opinion, jumping rope is a better option than running as a conditioning tool for boxing. While both running and jumping rope are forms of exercise somewhat far removed from boxing movements, the adaptations from skipping are more beneficial to boxing than those seen from running.
As we know, roadwork doesn’t match the biodynamic structure of boxing meaning boxing and running are two distinctly different activities. On the other hand, skipping can be performed to match the footwork used while boxing.
Further, it develops the reactive and explosive qualities needed to be a successful boxer.
How Long Do Boxers Jump Rope?
If boxers are jumping rope as part of their warm-up, they may skip for 10-15 minutes. If jumping rope is being used to develop aerobic conditioning after a boxing session or as a standalone session, a boxer may jump rope for 30+ minutes interspersed with various boxing drills such as shadowboxing.
Boxing Skipping For Beginners
If you are brand new to jumping rope, simply learning the rhythm and technique with double legged jumps is where you can start. Once you start feeling comfortable, you can add some more advanced jump rope techniques.
This video gives a very good rundown of the boxer’s skip. It will replicate the footwork when boxing which will help you develop the rhythm.
Due to the low amplitude of the jumps or skips, the impact is low and the mechanical load on the body is minimal. This means you can perform long durations at high frequencies of this style of jumping rope.
Boxer’s Heel Toe Step
Here is another boxing jump rope variation. It is used to develop footwork and coordination. Can’t go wrong with subtle variations in your jump rope training to keep you focused.
Same as the boxer’s skip, it is low impact so it can be performed in conjunction with the boxer’s skip within a jump rope routine.
Outside of these, you have all sorts of variations such as high knees, double unders, and crisscrosses. You don’t need to go down the road of these variations unless you really enjoy doing so.
What Is The Best Jump Rope For Boxers?
It’s always good to invest in decent pieces of equipment that will last you a long time and provide the best experience when training with it. I have bought crappy plastic jump ropes from the department store that would get tangled while skipping. It was a pain and I would not recommend going down that route.
Rather, your best option for a jump rope is a speed rope. They work smoothly because the handles rotate as you circle your wrists when jumping rope. It’s a game-changer. This is the model I have which you can find on Rogue Fitness here.
Jump ropes are cheap pieces of equipment so it is worth buying something good that will last and not cause you problems during training. If a jump rope causes you issues, you may end up not using it as often as you’d like.
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.