If you’re a ninja like I am, you know just how effective a jump rope can be.
It’s simple. It’s cheap. It’s portable.
But as simple as the design of the rope is, there are people out there who are constantly pushing the envelope. People who are constantly integrating new technology with old, classic design.
(PS – I love these people)
So it’s not very often I find a fitness tool that I’m super excited about. Last time it happened was with the kettlebell and that was years ago.
But over the past few months, I’ve had an opportunity to test a brand new fitness tool – a revolution in jump rope training.
Her name is the CrossRope.
And I must be honest – I’ve fallen in love with her.
Here’s the story…
A brainchild of my now good friend Dave Hunt, the CrossRope is a unique and extremely versatile jump rope training system.
The company originated in Florida in 2011 and has successfully launched in 2012 making a huge splash in the fitness industry. It has been featured in Men’s Fitness, the ESPN magazine, Muscle Mag, and other top-tier publications.
But it’s all well-deserved.
Anyway, I’m the kind of guy who loves technology and loves testing out new fitness tools and gadgets, so I was extremely fortunate to get in contact with Dave and get myself a complete CrossRope training set.
And from the moment I started working with the ropes, I knew that I had something powerful in my hands.
I knew this thing would take my jump rope training to a level I never thought possible.
What is the CrossRope
The CrossRope is an interchangeable weighted cable jump rope system.
With it’s patent-pending clip-in design, this system allows you to switch between different handles and ropes of varying lengths and weights.
It is the versatility of this system that makes the CrossRope so powerful.
You can constantly switch between lighter and heavier ropes to constantly challenge your body in unique ways.
The picture above shows the complete CrossRope system consisting of two types of handles and seven different jump ropes.
The handles are made of PVC tubing that are wrapped up with grip tape, making for a comfortable hold. The thinner handles are 7 ounces in weight and are designed to be used with the lighter ropes while the thicker handles are 11 ounces in weight and are designed to be used with the heavier ropes.
Both handles are about 8 inches in length, allowing you to vary between your grip position. Holding the rope near the end of the handle allows you to pick up more speed while holding it closer to the rope allows for more control.
There are seven different ropes, all color-coded to identify the weight of the rope. The lightest rope is the sprint (green) rope (1.9 ounces) and the heaviest rope is the appropriately titled Titan (silver) rope that weighs in at 3lbs. All ropes have a galvanized steel core and a vinyl coating, making them extremely durable and highly unlikely that they’ll break. You can check out all the ropes available here.
Three pounds may not seem like a lot, but in the art of jumping rope the centrifugal force that is generated as the rope rotates around the body creates an insane pull on the arms that requires solid upper body strength and control. It’s something you need to try for yourself to understand fully.
As I’ve had some time to play around with these beauties, I created a little video that showcases each rope and handle. Check it out:
(If the video doesn’t show, just refresh the page and it should work!)
The Beauty of the CrossRope
So the real question is what makes the CrossRope better than a standard rope.
Although the answer to that question is somewhat obvious, let me give you some insight into the original intent of this system:
“My original intent was actually just to make myself a jump rope that met my own workout needs. This came out of my frustration with traditionally boring, poor performing and poor quality ropes. But then I came up with an idea: A jump rope that will change the way people think about jump ropes, while fulfilling expectations for high-performance, high quality and innovative exercise equipment. I believe educated consumers these days recognize just how invaluable versatile, top-quality exercise gear is. That is why a brand new concept in functional jump rope training makes sense – an interchangeable weighted cable jump rope system.” – Dave Hunt, CrossRope
So what makes the CrossRope better?
Challenge and Adaptability
A standard rope is primarily a cardiovascular tool.
Once you master the rhythm, timing, and fundamental variations, you have one killer tool (and skill) for challenging your cardiovascular system.
But, after some time, your body does adapt to the stimulus. Just like with any other form of training, there comes a point when your body isn’t being stimulated enough to garner the same growth and development. Plateaus happen all the time.
The versatile nature of the CrossRope allows you to challenge yourself progressively. When you get used to one rope, you move to a heavier one. You aim to master all variations with the heaviest of ropes. Once you do that, you can truly call yourself a ninja.
“With a series of ropes, your body has constant challenges. Your muscles, your coordination and your timing are constantly put to the test. Once you get quick with speed, you challenge yourself to get quick with a heavy rope. Now, you are stronger, more powerful, more versatile.” – Dave Hunt, CrossRope
Imagine doing double unders with a 3lb jump rope…
Yea, I’m scared too.
Power Development and Heavy Rope Work
Power is simply the rate at which work is performed.
And work is simply the multiplication of force and distance (Work = Force X Distance), where force equals mass times acceleration (Force = Mass X Acceleration).
Thus, we get:
Power = (Mass * Acceleration * Distance)/Time
So, to increase our power, we have a few variables we can work with, depending on the tool we’re using.
With a standard jump rope, we only have the option of increasing our acceleration in terms of how quickly we rotate the rope around our body. The faster we rotate the rope, the more power we generate.
The CrossRope gives you the ability to control another variable: mass.
Increasing the weight of the rope (and then increasing the speed at which you rotate that rope) can drastically improve power generation.
“So, basically, to become as powerful as possible, we want to more quickly accelerate an increasingly larger mass over an increased distance in a lesser amount of time. When it comes to using CrossRope, you have the heavy jump rope options available to train to be able to move larger and larger cables at faster and faster rates.” - Dave Hunt, CrossRope
A standard jump rope can help you improve your cardiovascular fitness, agility, quickness, and overall balance and coordination. But, as Dave says, it cannot provide sufficient centrifugal resistance for maximum jump rope power development like the CrossRope can.
Oh man. I can only imagine how many jump ropes I’ve gone through over the years.
Standard jump ropes are awesome. They really are. They’re easy to use and incredibly cheap. But with the low cost comes, as expected, lower quality. And with lower quality we get poor durability.
Standard ropes simply don’t last very long. Fortunately, they’re easy to replace.
The CrossRope is a high quality rope.
The cables are made of galvanized steel and wrapped in coloured vinyl.
Not only do they look cool, but they’re going to last you a lifetime.
Note: obviously, the surface you choose to skip on will play a factor in the lifespan of any rope. Rough surfaces like concrete should be avoided at all costs. They rip up your rope and destroy your joints!
If you’ve seen any of my simple skipping workouts, then you’ve probably realized that I love to use simple speed ropes.
There’s good and bad to this.
The fact that you can do so many different workouts with one simple and cheap tool is incredible. At the same time, however, you’re limited with the stimulus you can integrate into your workouts.
With the addition of the heavy ropes and the ease with which you can interchange from one rope to another, the CrossRope adds a lot of versatility to your training. This has given me a whole new dimension through which to explore and develop new workouts.
For example, the first thing that came to my mind when I got my hands on this rope was to do a simple tabata interval workout where I alternated between a heavy rope and a light rope (it helps to have two sets of handles here).
Here’s what it looks like:
(If the video doesn’t show, just refresh the page and it should work!)
I can’t describe the effect heavy ropes add to a workout. My heart wanted to jump through my chest and my upper body felt engaged on a much greater level.
I’m looking forward to coming up with more unique workouts for you guys to try.
The Dark Side of the CrossRope
Now here are a few drawbacks of the CrossRope training system.
The first is the adaptation phase.
If you’ve ever worked with a standard, plastic speed rope – presumably what we all start with – you’re probably used to a very light handle. With a light handle, there is very little centrifugal force – or pull – generated during skipping.
With the CrossRope, however, even with the lightest of ropes you’ll immediately notice a strong pull the handles create as you skip. This is due to the weight the heavy-duty ball bearings and clips add to the end of the handle. While they add smooth rotation and durability, the extra weight creates a lot of torque that can initially throw people off.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as heavier handles require more control and thus more strength, but I just wanted to point out that it does take some time to get comfortable with these. The good thing is that now whenever I go back to my regular, cheap plastic rope I feel like I can manoeuvre the little handles with more ease.
The second thing you’ll notice about the CrossRope is, inevitably, the price.
The thing I love about training with jump ropes is that they’re cheap and portable. I carry a number of plastic speed ropes in my bag and they’re so light that I sometimes forget they’re even there. And if they break or I lose them it’s no big deal to replace them.
The CrossRope is a premium rope. It’s of the highest quality I’ve seen (especially when it comes to the heavy ropes).
And that comes with a price.
The complete set of ropes and handles cost $140, quite an unusual sum to pay for a set of jump ropes at first glance.
If you break it down, however, you find that it comes out to about $20 per rope – not too much more than your cheap plastic $7-10 dollar rope you’d get at the general sports store. Plus you get two quality handles.
Either way, not everyone would be interested in getting the complete set. There are other options available, with the beginner (Swift Set) coming out to $50 and individual ropes priced anywhere from $10 to $25 (depending on the weight).
When it comes to cost, you always get what you pay for. The CrossRope reminds me of the kettlebell because its durability allows you to buy it once and have it forever.
You can find more about the combos and ropes provided at the CrossRope site.
I hope you enjoyed this quick little overview of the new jump rope training system I’ve had the privelage of testing.
With the way the world of technology is evolving, it seems like even age-old fitness tools like the jump rope are getting makeovers. And I think that as long as the evolution doesn’t take away from the core functionality of the tool, it’s all good.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the CrossRope, check out the CrossRope site or get in touch with Dave. He’s an awesome guy and one of the few who is willing to talk about his product and listen to what you have to say.
I definitely foresee this system hitting the mainstream within the next year.
In the meantime, I got some more workouts to put together.