Jump Rope for Boxing and Skipping Routines for Boxers

Want to "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee" like Muhammad Ali? If so, one of the first things you must do is learn how to skip rope. Next to boxing gloves, a jump rope is a must-have for anyone interested in boxing.

The jump rope has been used by fighters for decades: Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, Sugar Ray Robinson Roberto Duran, Rocky Marciano and Gene Tunney all mastered the art of jumping to help improve their boxing skills. Ali was known as the best jumper of all big men when he was in his prime. Modern fighters have continued to master the art of skipping rope, with boxers like Floyd Mayweather and Mike Tyson leading the way.

Boxers like, Mayweather prefer a PVC cable as opposed to a wire cable for the weight, speed, and control benefits.

The Importance of Skipping Rope for Boxers

Boxing requires many skills that skipping rope can provide. Here are some of key benefits of skipping rope for boxers:

Improved footwork. Having good footwork is mandatory for boxers. As the opponent throws jabs, combinations and uppercuts, good footwork will help a person avoid these punches without losing their balance. Good footwork will also help a boxer maintain their center of gravity, which enables them to throw effective counter punches.

Endurance. Skipping rope is a high intensity exercise that requires a person to move quickly throughout the exercise. The same philosophy applies to boxing. Moving quickly is important, especially in the later rounds when fatigue sets in.

Increased speed. The faster a person can skip rope, the faster they may be able to move in the ring. This is critical when trying to land (or avoid punches.)

Improved timing and coordination. Skipping rope activates many fast-twitch muscles that are important for boxers. For example, the wrists are used to turn the rope quickly, which can translate into throwing quick jabs, combinations, and uppercuts. Skipping rope can also help a person move from one foot to another to dodge punches without losing their balance.

Increased punching power. Boxers who are off balance tend to throw ineffective punches that lack power. Jumping helps boxers remain balanced when throwing punches, thus making them more potent.

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The Speed Rope

In order to jump like a boxer, the first step is finding the appropriate rope. There are many types of ropes available, but the speed rope is the preferred rope for fighters. Speed ropes are lightweight, thin and spin easily, matching a boxer’s rhythm and their movements in the ring.

The length of the rope is also important and can vary depending on a person’s height:

Length of RopeHeight of Jumper
7 feet4'8" and under
8 feet4'9" to 5'0"
9 feet5'1" to 5'8"
10 feet5'9" to 6'2"

 

One way to determine the correct rope size is by placing one foot on the center of the rope. If the handles reach up to armpit length, it is a good fit.

Once the appropriate rope has been obtained, a person can learn to skip like a boxer.

Skip Like a Boxer

In order to skip rope like a boxer, it’s important a person master the basics first.

Beginner basics. Patience is key when learning to skip rope. Mastering the fundamentals and increasing stamina is key before attempting jumps that are more complex.

Initially, aim for jumps of 20 second intervals. As you become more proficient, jump for one minute intervals, then two, and finally three minute intervals. Resting for 30-60 seconds between each set will simulate rounds.

Resist the urge to swing your arms.Keep your arms close to your sides and use your wrists instead.

Stand up straight and look forward. Some beginners hunch over because they feel the rope will hit them in the head. A proper sized rope will go over a person’s head easily.

Jumping a few inches off the ground is ideal. Jumping too high may put unnecessary stress on the knees and other joints of the lower extremities such as the ankles, hips, and feet.

Avoid the double bounce. The double bounce occurs when the rope skipping is too slow. Eliminate this bad habit by speeding up the rotation of the rope.

Land on the balls of your feet. Do not let your heels touch the ground while skipping. The phrase "keep you on your toes" means to stay alert and able to think and move quickly. The same applies to skipping rope: Staying on the balls of your feet allows you to jump quickly and effortlessly.

Relax your upper body. Keeping the upper body relaxed will minimize any undue stress on the back and shoulders.

Once a person has mastered basic skipping and has improved their conditioning, they can begin to learn advanced jumping skills that boxers frequently use.

Advanced Skipping

The following variations are extremely popular among boxers and are staples in their training regimen:

Running in place

Boxing jump rope to improve your running technique
Skipping rope in this manner looks like a person is literally running in place:

  • Start with basic jump
  • Increase the speed
  • Raise right leg high as if running, with left leg low
  • Raise left leg high with right leg low

Note: Raise knees higher for a more intense jump.

Side Swing

  • Start with basic jump
  • Put hands together and swing arms down the left side of the body
  • Swing rope down the right side
  • Spread arms to jump again
  • Repeat for desired reps

Side to Side

Jumping rope technique for boxers - Side to Side

  • Start with basic jump
  • Jump from side to side

Note: Increase the distance of the side jump to increase the intensity.

One legged hops

  • Start with basic jump
  • Jump twice left leg, keeping right leg in the air
  • Jump twice on right leg, keeping left leg in air
  • Repeat

Criss-cross feet jumps

  • Start with basic jump
  • Cross feet right foot in front of left
  • Return to normal position
  • Cross left foot in front of right

Criss-Cross with hands

  • Start with basic jump
  • Cross arms at elbows while rope is on downward swing
  • Jump through loop
  • Uncross arms on next downward swing
  • Repeat

Double-unders

  • Start with basic jump
  • Increase speed of swings
  • Jump and swing rope faster to ensure rope goes under feet twice

Note: Beginners may have to jump higher to ensure the rope goes around twice, but as they become more proficient, that will not be necessary.

Scissors

  • Start with basic jump
  • Jump and land with right foot in front of you, left foot behind you
  • Repeat with left foot landing in front, right foot landing behind you
  • Repeat

As a person becomes proficient in these various moves, they can create several routines that will help them improve their boxing skills.

Top Rope Skipping Routines for Boxers

While many boxers use skipping rope as a warmup for their workout, skipping rope can be combined with other exercises to create an effective, high intensity workout.

Workout #1: Rounds

Skip rope for same length of time as a boxing match:

  • Jump rope 3 minutes
  • Rest for 60 seconds
  • Jump rope 3 minutes
  • Repeat for 6-8 rounds

Note: Incorporate a variety of skipping styles to simulate the varying intensity that would be felt in the ring (double-unders, one leg hop, scissors, etc.)

Workout #2: One Minute Punching intervals

  • Jump for one minute
  • Immediately put on gloves and punch heavy bag for one minute
  • Rest for one minute
  • Jump for one minute
  • Punch heavy bag for one minute
  • Repeat
  • Perform 5-8 sets

Workout #3: Strength Training

  • Perform normal strength training routine
  • Jump rope at easy pace for 60 seconds between sets

Workout #4: Jogging/Roadwork

Boxers do a lot of running, but may be unable to get outside due to bad weather.

Perform 20-30 minutes of high intensity jumping to simulate running outside. Incorporate a variety of skipping styles (double-unders, one leg hops, scissors, criss-cross, etc.)

Workout #5: Conditioning

Perform the following exercises in order.

  • Jump rope for one minute
  • Pushups for one minute
  • Jump rope for one minute
  • Sit-ups for one minute
  • Jump rope for one minute
  • Squats for one minute (bodyweight)
  • Jump rope for one minute
  • Back extensions for one minute
  • Rest for 2 minutes and repeat
  • Perform 2-4 sets

Note: keep rest to a minimum to simulate the rigors of an actual boxing match.

Minute for minute, skipping rope is a high intensity exercise that burns more calories than practically every other exercise. It is excellent for conditioning and is a must for boxers of all levels if they want to achieve any type of success in the ring.

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