The Dangers of Jumping With a Heavy Rope
Jumping rope is an effective exercise because it provides a comprehensive workout for your entire body. If you want to increase the workout, consider switching to a heavy rope, often called a "weighted rope." Using a weighted rope makes jumping rope more challenging, but it can also lead to unexpected problems unless you take the necessary safety precautions.
Weighted ropes are different from standard, lightweight skipping ropes because they contain weights to provide more resistance as you skip. Weighted ropes have heavy, weighted handles and many have thick, heavy cord made of leather or plastic to increase the weight of the rope. Although you can skip normally with a weighted rope, it's difficult to skip as quickly as you would with a standard skipping rope.
Anyone who's skipped for an extended period of time knows the pain that the rope can cause when it whips your ankles or legs when you don't jump high enough. Although the whip from a standard rope can sting, the pain can be slightly amplified when you use a weighted rope. One whip probably won't bother you excessively, but if you whip yourself several times in one skipping session, you might have some painful welts.
When skipping quickly with a standard rope, it's easiest to lift your feet no more than an inch off the ground, especially if you're skipping quickly. The benefit of this type of skipping is that it minimizes the impact on your ankle and knees joints. If you've been stung in the back of your ankles or legs by a weighted rope, it might make you jump higher. Over time, the higher jumps can cause pain in your leg joints, especially if you already have issues in those areas.
Repetitive Strain Injury
Repetitive strain injuries are caused by making repeated movements, often with the shoulders, arms and wrists. Because using a weighted rope provides more resistance to your arms, shoulders and even your back, it's possible to injure one of these areas if they're not properly warmed up, if you have a pre-existing injury or you exercise too much. Avoid overuse of the weighted rope and if your body is excessively sore, switch to a lighter rope or avoid skipping altogether until the injury clears up.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.