Jump rope

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Games

An 1800 depiction of jumping rope
An 1800 depiction of jumping rope

A jump rope, rope skipping, skipping rope or skip rope is the primary tool used in the game of skipping played by children and many young adults, where one or more participants jump over a spinning rope so that it passes under their feet and over their heads. This may consist of one participant twirling and jumping the rope, or a minimum of three participants taking turns, two of which twirl the rope while one or more jumps. Sometimes the latter is played with two twirling ropes; this form of the activity is called Double Dutch and is significantly more difficult.

Children often chant jump-rope rhymes while jumping rope. These can range from pure nonsense to comments on current events. Participants may simply jump until they tire or make a mistake, they may improvise tricks, or they may have to carry out a predetermined set of tricks. People also practice solo jump-roping for exercise. There are hundreds of different tricks/techniques of skipping rope.


English folklore suggests that skipping had it's origins in the rope with which Judas Iscariot hanged himself after his betrayal of Christ. Skipping was popular in Spring and particularly at Easter time. Skipping took place in Cambridge and in several Sussex villages and indeed still takes place every Good Friday in the East Sussex village of Alciston.


Jump rope is practiced on a competitive level world-wide. Athletes compete in individual and team events. In freestyle routines, jumpers have a set time limit to demonstrate a combination of skills; in many competitions these are choreographed to music. During the speed events, athletes must complete a determined amount of successful jumps within a particular amount of time. For example, the world record for 30 second speed is 188 jumps. In July 2004, Brisbane, Australia hosted the World Jump Rope Championships. Belgium, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Japan, and the United States of America each medalled. The 2006 World Jump Rope Championships was held in Toronto, Canada in mid-July. The 4th Asian Rope Skipping Championship is to be held on 9 February 2007 at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium, New Delhi, India. Jump rope exhibitions are also frequently staged at events such as festivals, charity functions, and sporting half-time shows.

Though many believe jump rope is a simple, fun activity, others consider it a sport. Serious jump rope athletes train rigorously year-round. Jumping rope takes immense strength, endurance, focus, and patience, and can be much more than a simple game of chanting rhymes.

In the United States, the main organized jump rope organization is USA Jump Rope. USAJR is composed of hundreds of jump roping teams throughout the country. These teams perform at high school and sporting events, take part in competitions, and attend workshop training camps throughout the year. USA Jump Rope has a national all-star team which travels across the country and the world sharing information and promoting the sport.

Two competing jump rope organizations once functioned in the US: the Internation Rope Skipping Organization, and the World Rope Skipping Federation. IRSO focused more on stunt-oriented and gymnastic/athletic type jump rope moves, while the WRSF focused more on the aesthetics and form of jump roping. These two organizations have now merged into the USAJRF, which was recently renamed USA Jump Rope to fit the trend of other Olympic and Olympic-hopeful sports. USA Jump Rope holds various regional competitions and a national competition at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Competing teams consist of children aged five to seventeen and older.

World records

  • On October 12 2006 50,000 skippers (most of them children and teachers in primary schools) skipped for 30 seconds in 335 schools in The Netherlands. Videos, pictures and on-line-articles can be found here.
  • On March 24 2006 a mass participation record was set in the United Kingdom and Ireland. 7,632 children skipped continuously for three minutes in 85 different locations across the country. This was part of a joint effort to re-introduce skipping into schools by the The British Rope Skipping Association and Skipping Workshops. This record has been accepted by Guinness World Records.

Jumping rope as exercise

Jumping rope is an activity not only suited for competition or recreation, but also for a cardiovascular workout, similar to jogging or bicycle riding. This aerobic exercise can achieve a "burn rate" of up to 1300 calories per hour of vigorous activity, with about 0.1 calories consumed per jump. Ten minutes of jumping rope is roughly the equivalent of running an eight-minute mile. Jumping rope can avoid the knee damage which may occur during running, since the impact of each jump or step is absorbed by both legs. Jumping rope also helps strengthen the arms and shoulders. This combination of an aerobic workout and coordination-building footwork have made jumping rope a popular form of exercise for athletes, especially boxers and wrestlers. Individuals or groups can participate in the exercise, and learning proper jump rope technique is relatively simple compared to many other athletic activities. The exercise is also appropriate for a wide range of ages and fitness levels.

Jumping rope techniques

Some of the techniques that can be used when jumping rope are:

Basic jump
This is where both feet are slightly apart and jump at the same time over the rope. Beginners should master this technique first before moving onto more advanced techniques.
Alternate foot jump
This style consists of using alternate feet to jump off the ground. This technique can be used to effectively double the number of skips per minute as compared to the above technique.
This method is similar to the basic jump with the only difference being that while jumping, the left hand goes to the right part of the body and vice versa for the right hand.
Double under
To perform a double under, the participant needs to jump up a bit higher than usual while swinging the rope twice under his feet. It is possible to have the rope swing three times under the feet (triple under). In fact, in competitive jump rope, triples, quadruples ("quads"), and quintuples ("quins") are not uncommon. To be competitive in the United States, a male above the age of 15 would need to be able to do more than 200 triples in a row.
Combination jumps
There are many more difficult jump roping tricks that combine two or more of these techniques to make a single trick. These combinations can also be used in Chinese Wheel, Double Dutch, and Long Rope.
Leg under x
The leg under x is a complicated trick where the jumper puts the left hand under the right leg and the right hand over the left leg.
Many other variations are possible, including: "skier", a side-to-side jump keeping the feet together; "bell", a front-and-back jump keeping the feet together; "scissors", a jump putting one foot forward and the other back, then switching back-and-forth; "jumping jack", a jump putting the feet apart and then together; and "can-can" a jump with one leg up and bent, followed by a jump with both feet on ground, followed by a jump kicking the foot out.
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